A food safety program must:
If you are unsure of how to write a Food Safety Program, it is best to use an industry specific template for assistsance, or you may contact a food safety consultant to develop and write the Food Safety Program on your behalf.
Please contact Infocus Management Group if you would like more information on how we can help you develop and maintain your Food Safety Program.
Food Safety Programs may be developed by the food business, by using a template as a guide, or by paying a consultant to write it for you.
Please contact Infocus Management Group for more information on how our experienced consultants can help you attain peace of mind by developing a Food Safety Program on your behalf.
Contact your local Council for information on accreditation processes for your Food Safety Program, as they do vary between Councils. In some cases, the Council will only accept Food Safety Programs which have had an audit already conducted by an authorised Third-Party Auditor. You will need to pay the Auditor to check your Food Safety Program. In other cases, the Council will check the Food Safety Program themselves, and will charge you again even if you have already paid an Auditor to look at the program. Thus, check the correct procedures with your local Council before assuming you need a Third-Party Audit to achieve accreditation.
Contact details for your Local Government can be found in the White Pages.
After you have achieved accreditation of your Food Safety Program, you will be required to schedule a Third-Party Audit within 6 months of accreditation. This audit will be conducted to ensure your Food Safety Program has been implemented in your business, and that your records and logsheets are being completed as per the Food Safety Program procedures.
After this, a Third-Party Audit will be required once every 12 months, or at the frequency determined by the local government who accredited your Food Safety Program.
Ensure that you keep a copy of the Food Safety Program in the kitchen (or where it can easily be accessed by food handlers). It is recommended that you keep a second copy in the office also, to ensure there is a Food Safety Program availalbe onsite at all times.
To find an authorised Third-Party Auditor, see the Auditor listings on your State or Territory Food Authority website.
Although Infocus Management Group does not provide Third-Party Audits, we may be able to refer you to an auditor working in your State or Territory. Please feel free to contact us if you would like further information.
Food Safety Program requirements are different depending on which State of Territory you are operating in.
In all States and Territories, it is now a requirement for food businesses serving food to vulnerable populations to have a Food Safety Program, as per Standard 3.3.1 in the Food Safety Standards (Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code). This includes aged care, hospitals and childcare centres.
For other industry sector requirements, please contact your local government or State Food Authority.
A Food Safety Program is a documented set of steps that aim to prevent problems with food safety before they occur, rather than relying on a reactive approach once problems have already occurred.
A Food Safety Program covers all aspects of food service in your business, and has procedures for each food process step to keep food safe. It also includes systems that keep food safe across all aspects of food handling, such as pest control, staff health & hygiene, cleaning, waste management, recall procedures or staff training.
Records and logsheets are part of your Food Safety Program. They are an important part of the program, and can be used as evidence that you have taken all reasonable measure to keep food safe.*
If you developed and wrote your own Food Safety Program, you can edit it as changes occur to ensure your Food Safety Program reflects your current practices in your Food Business. If you change your Food Safety Program due to new food process, make sure you re-submit your Food Safety Program to your local Council, so they have a current copy on file.
If you used a Template to create your program, you may be able to edit some sections. If you find that your food processes do not match the content of the Template, and you cannot change that particular section, you need to consider either writing your own Food Safety Program, or obtaining the services of a food safety consultant to write it for you. It is important that the Food Safety Program reflects your exact processes conducted in your Food Business, as required under the legislation.
If your Food Safety Program was written by a consultant, you may not be able to edit the content. However, you must notify your consultant of changes that are required, so that they may update the program on your behalf. Generally, if you are simply updating Food Handler Lists, Cleaning Schedules, or Approved Supplier Lists, you do not need to notify your local Council each time the content changes. However if an entire practice changes, and you need to re-write the description of food services or change procedures, then you need to notify your local Council.
Your Food Safety Program needs to be reviewed on a regular basis, to ensure it is current. Generally, this must be done at least once a year.
A food safety program looks at each food process step in your business (from receipt of goods, to serving the food), and determines what kinds of food safety hazards could go wrong. For each step, procedures are written to control the food safety hazards, monitor food safety, and document your actions. A food safety program also has documented procedures for taking ‘corrective action’, that is, if something goes wrong, what action will your staff take to keep the consumer safe (and protect your business).
Food Safety Programs also include the systems you put in place for the whole business to keep food safe, such as cleaning, pest control, staff training and maintenance.
The benefits of a Food Safety Program include reducing the risk of food poisoning, having documented procedures and records to prove you have done all you reasonably can to keep food safe (a due diligence defence), reducing the attention of regulators, and improving staff and business compliance with food safety laws. A Food Safety Program can assist in giving you peace of mind, and can protect your reputation as a food business.