When you consider the sheer number of food handling processes involved in keeping a sector of this size operating from one day to the next, the importance of appropriate food safety procedures becomes even more apparent.
With millions of consumers served daily, retail managers in Australia shoulder a significant responsibility to integrate robust food safety procedures into their daily operations. Beyond the moral obligation to protect consumers, strict adherence to laws and regulations is also imperative.
Mandatory training such as the Food Safety Supervisor course plays a key role in implementing these food safety measures within a retail environment. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the critical aspects of this course, explaining its significance in the context of legislative requirements.
Before we discuss the Food Safety Supervisor course in more detail, let’s explore the food safety legislation that necessitates its existence.
FSANZ Standard 3.2.2A
These requirements are split into three main categories:
- Food Handler Training
- Food Safety Supervision
- Record Management
One of the most significant elements of Standard 3.2.2A is the mandatory appointment of a qualified Food Safety Supervisor for all businesses engaged in food preparation, service or distribution.
What does Standard 3.2.2A Mean for Retail Managers?
Standard 3.2.2A applies to all retail settings where food is prepared, handled and served to consumers. This includes businesses that sell ready-to-eat food directly to consumers:
- Convenience stores
- Grocers, butchers, bakers, and delis
- Market stalls
- Service stations
- Food takeaways
If you’re a manager at one of these establishments, you may be nominated as a designated Food Safety Supervisor and therefore participate in a government-approved training program.
What Are a Retail Manager’s Responsibilities Regarding Food Safety?
If a retail manager is nominated as the Food Safety Supervisor for their business they will be tasked with implementing and overseeing food safety procedures within the workplace.
- Implementing food safety strategies based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system.
- Establishing safe methods for food storage, preparation, and display.
- Managing cleaning and sanitising procedures.
- Supervising the personal hygiene practices of food handling staff.
Retail Food Safety Supervisors are the key point of contact in the event of a food safety incident. They must be able to collaborate effectively with both employees and local authorities when required.
Who Can Be a Retail Food Safety Supervisor?
The best candidates for the role of Food Safety Supervisor in Retail will typically possess the following:
- Practical application
- Leadership skills
- Commitment to continuous learning
- Existing food safety knowledge
- Commitment to compliance
- Communication skills
What Is the Difference Between a Food Safety Supervisor and a Food Handler?
Food Safety Supervisors and Food Handlers play distinct yet complementary roles in a retail environment.
A Food Safety Supervisor is responsible for managing the entire Food Safety Program, whereas a Food Handler is generally more involved in routine tasks concerning food preparation and service.
Food Handlers should follow the guidance of the Food Safety Supervisor in relation to food safety practices such as cleaning and sanitising, personal hygiene and food preparation. To comply with Standard 3.2.2A, food handling staff must complete a government-approved Food Handler course.
What Will I Learn From the Food Safety Supervisor Course?
Food Safety First has devised a comprehensive training program that includes the mandatory unit of competency for Retail – SIRRFSA001 (Handle food safely in a retail environment).
What Topics Does the Food Safety Supervisor Course Cover?
There a 19 lessons included in the course, ranging from hand washing to safe food storage techniques:
- Biological Contamination
- Food Contamination & High-Risk Groups
- Illness & Onsite Injuries
- Reporting, Investigating & Recording Food Safety Breaches
- Cleaning & Sanitising
- Other Types of Contamination
- Personal Hygiene & Workplace Behaviour
- Time & Temperature Control
- Serving Food Safely
- Monitoring, Controlling & Correcting Food Safety Hazards
- Working with Food Safely
- Food Safety Programs
- Hand Washing
- Identifying Food Safety Hazards
- Maintaining Food Premises
- Allergen Management
- Food Safety Management
- Food Safety Laws & Responsibilities
- Receiving & Storing Food
Does the Food Safety Supervisor Course Include a Written Test?
There is no written test element to the course, instead, while completing the course online, participants are required to answer a series of multiple choice questions after each lesson and case study.
There is also a practical assessment to be completed. This is called the Observer Report and it requires you to conduct hands-on tasks such as cleaning and sanitising while under the observation of a food industry colleague.
Do I Get a Certificate for Passing the Food Safety Supervisor Course?
After successfully completing their assessment, students are awarded a Statement of Attainment listing all the units of competency passed.
A Statement of Attainment remains valid for five years. To retain your certification beyond this you must complete the Food Safety Supervisor course again. If you fail to do so, your organisation may be penalised for non-compliance with Standard 3.2.2A.
How Does Safety Supervisor Training Apply to the Retail Sector?
The knowledge that retail managers acquire from the Food Safety Supervisor course can be utilised across countless real-life scenarios. Below are three examples of how course content can be applied to the food retail sector.
Cleaning and Sanitising
Cleaning and sanitising techniques, the proper use and storage of cleaning products, and reporting cleaning and maintenance requirements should all be part of a Food Safety Supervisor’s knowledge and expertise.
Cleanliness is a legal requirement for areas where food is handled, stored, displayed, or sold. Retail businesses must ensure that food storage and preparation areas, equipment and surfaces are cleaned and sanitised on a regular basis. The Food Safety Supervisor course emphasises that visual cleanliness doesn't always guarantee safety, reiterating the importance of following correct cleaning and sanitising procedures.
The primary purpose of cleaning and sanitising is to minimise harmful pathogens, thereby reducing the risk of contamination and food-borne illnesses that can result in hospitalisation or death. As well as protecting public health, a methodical approach to cleaning and sanitising presents a positive image of your business among customers.
It is the responsibility of the Food Safety Supervisor to ensure that Food Handlers follow the fundamental principles of safe food storage. The following techniques are required in order to preserve food and protect consumers from food-borne illnesses:
- Segregation of raw and cooked foods
- Accurate labelling
- Temperature control
- First In, First Out (FIFO) storage policy
A failure to adhere to these protocols could result in contamination, food-borne illnesses and infringement of food safety legislation.
Food Handler Hygiene
If a retail business fails to embed high personal hygiene standards among its food handling staff, there will be an increased risk of contamination and food-borne illnesses. A meticulous hand washing regime should be in place and appropriate clothing should be worn at all times. In addition to this, employees must refrain from handling food when sick as this can cause illnesses to spread among consumers too.
Not only do these personal hygiene practices create a safer food handling environment, but they also convey food safety excellence to existing and potential customers.
How Do I Get Trained as a Retail Food Safety Supervisor?
There are just six steps to complete in order to become a certified Food Safety Supervisor:
- Visit the Food Safety First website
- Select the Food Safety Supervisor course
- Complete the training activities
- Submit your Observer Report/Declaration
- Receive your Statement of Attainment
To get started, you will need a PC, laptop or tablet device connected to the internet
The Food Safety First learning platform also requires the following:
- Modern web browser – to ensure optimum performance and usability
- Email address – to access Food Safety First training systems
- Adobe PDF Reader or Adobe Acrobat – to download and complete the reading activity and Observer Report sections