Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has proposed changes to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. The changes are meant to strengthen food safety practices and reduce the number of food-borne illnesses caused by food service and closely related retail businesses.
These changes come after an assessment done in 2018 found that a large number of food-borne illnesses reported were linked to food service and retail sectors.
“The majority of businesses do an excellent job in providing Australians with safe food, however our assessment of food safety management practices in the sector has found a need for strengthened standards to ensure greater consistency and reduce rates of foodborne illness,” said interim FSANZ CEO Sandra Cuthbert.
Interested parties are encouraged to provide feedback about the new standards, with the draft open for public comments until April 11, 2022. If approved, businesses and regulators will have 12 months to implement the new measures.
Proposed changes to food safety standards
The proposed changes to the Food Standards Code would introduce new food safety management regulations on a national level, requiring:
- A Food Safety Supervisor on staff
- Food Handler training
- Businesses to provide evidence to substantiate food safety management
Requirements for a specific food business would be determined based on that business’s level of food safety risk. FSANZ has grouped food businesses into three categories:
- Category 1: Businesses who make and serve potentially hazardous food (PHF) and are associated with the highest food safety risks. These businesses would need to implement all three regulatory measures.
- Category 2: Retailers of unpackaged ready-to-eat PHF. These businesses would need to employ a Food Safety Supervisor and require food handler training for employees.
- Category 3: Retailers of pre-packaged ready-to-eat PHF, which remain packaged during sale. These businesses will not face new rule changes.
“Businesses will fall into one of three categories, with those associated with high food safety risks required to apply more food safety measures than those with lower risks,” Cuthbert said.
How to prepare for changes to the Food Standards Code
Various states and territories have already implemented additional safe food handling requirements to help minimise the risk of food-borne illness and have seen improved food safety behaviours. For example, there are already Food Safety Supervisor requirements for food businesses in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory.
Ensuring that everyone who works with food in your business is properly trained in food safety is the best way to be prepared for any changes to the Food Standards Code, and also helps lower the risk of food safety incidents in your organisation!
Get the comprehensive food safety training you and your whole team need, while staying compliant to laws and regulations in your local area, with Food Safety First’s nationally recognised Food Safety Supervisor Course and Food Handling Certificate Course. Have questions about which course is right for your needs? Contact us to learn more and our team here at Food Safety First will be happy to help!