Food safety and the importance of training

By Andrew Thompson, Director Think ST Solutions
Tuesday, 21 June, 2022

Food safety and the importance of training

A basic skills training program is critical for the success of any employee to perform their job well. An ongoing training program promotes a greater understanding of all aspects of the food business and sends a strong message to employees and customers about an organisation’s commitment to doing business better.

A well-trained and knowledgeable employee is your best protection for a healthy business and provides employees with information and skills that allow them to play a greater role. This is particularly true when it comes to quality food safety training — it is a good prevention program to reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses. It is also a compelling reason for the national food regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand in P1053 Food Safety Management Tools to propose mandatory food safety training for food handlers working in foodservices and food retail businesses — these operations have been linked to foodborne illness outbreaks. This requirement was one of many issues canvassed in the public consultation phase. Other key requirements include:

  • FSANZ is seeking a positive food safety culture within foodservice and retail food businesses.
  • Creation of Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A Food Safety Management Tools.
  • The introduction of a nationally consistent risk classification system for food businesses across Australia.
  • National requirement for food business to have a food safety supervisor who has completed an accredited training course. Currently, this short course is only applicable in Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria.
  • Records demonstrating that basic food safety controls such as cooking, cold storage and training are in place will have to be kept.

Category 1: Foodservice businesses, such as caterers (onsite and offsite), restaurants, takeaways and retailers who make and serve potentially hazardous foods, also referred to as ‘temperature control for safety (TCS) foods’. These businesses face the highest food safety risks. Three regulatory measures for food safety management (food safety supervision, food handler training and evidence) are applicable for these food businesses.

Category 2: Retailers of unpackaged ready-to-eat potentially hazardous foods. Two new regulatory food safety management tools (food supervision and handler training) are applicable here.

Category 3: Retailers of pre-packaged ready-to-eat potentially hazardous foods that remains packaged during the sale fall into this category. No new regulatory measures would be applied to these food businesses.

There is already a mandatory requirement for aged care providers serving food to vulnerable populations to have a food safety program. This proposal will require any potentially hazardous food served or sold to the public through catered functions, a cafeteria, kiosk and onsite vending machines to incorporate these activities into their existing food safety program.

Food law requirements don’t have to hold you back, they can be a point of difference for your food business. A great training program should be for everyone and it should be ongoing. Not only is it an important motivational tool that will reward them with greater employability because of the additional knowledge and skills, but will also create relationships based on respect.

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