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Frequently Asked Questions

What must a food safety program contain?

A food safety program must:

  • Systematically identify the food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur in food handling operations of the food business, and
  • Identify where, in a food handling operation of the food business, each hazard identified can be controlled and the means of control, and
  • Provide for the systematic monitoring of the means of control, and
  • Provide for appropriate corrective action to be taken when a hazard identified is not under control, and
  • Provide for the regular review of the program to ensure it is appropriate for the food business, and
  • Provide for the keeping of appropriate records for the food business, including records about action taken to ensure the business is carried on in compliance with the program, and
  • Contain other information, relating to the control of food safety hazards, prescribed under a regulation.

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.

How do I develop a 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.

How do I get my food safety program accredited in QLD?

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.

What happens after my food safety program is accredited (QLD)?

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.

How do I find an approved auditor?

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.

Who is required to have a Food Safety Program?

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.

What is a Food Safety Program?

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.*

Are there any benefits to me for having a Food Safety Program in place?

Yes, there are real benefits. For many businesses, a Food Safety Program is a legislative requirement. However, if you do not require a Food Safety Program by law in your State or Territory, you still need to comply with the Food Safety Standards. Under the Food Safety Standards, to show compliance you would still require evidence of Approved Suppliers, Staff Training, checking goods on delivery and Storage Unit Temperature Logs as a minimum. A complete Food Safety Program assists in not only meeting the minimum legislative requirements, but can give a business owner peace of mind that food safety risks for your business have been assessed, procedures to keep the risk under control are in place, and records or logs are being kept to prove the actions your business is taking to protect the consumer. Food Safety Programs often assist in reducing waste and improving productivity. The safety of your food will be constant, and customers will know that you are taking action to protect them from food poisoning. Regulators such as the local Council will also be able to see the actions you are taking to reduce the risk of food poisoning in the community. If your food business is taken to court over a food poisoning incident, your Food Safety Program and completed documentation (such as temperature logs or training records) can be used as evidence of your committment to providing safe food.

When can I edit my food safety program?

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.

What is included in a Food Safety Program?

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.

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