What is a food safety management statement?
A food safety management statement is a document that:
- summarises your business activities, identifies food safety risks and how you manage them
- is approved (or recognised) by your relevant regulatory authority
- is checked and updated by you or your staff
- may be verified by your relevant authority (see below).
What is verification?
‘Verification’ means checking that you do what you say you are doing. It’s a check that the processes in your business to manage food safety are actually done and keep food safe. It may involve, for example, checking your business is using the cleaning and sanitation methods you have documented, taking water samples to test for harmful microorganisms, or checking your cool room temperature records.
Verification can be done by both the business and the relevant authority.
What are the requirements?
Primary producers and primary processors of leafy vegetables and melons must have an approved food safety management statement and follow the processes listed in it, to keep produce safe.
If your business is already on a third party or industry food safety scheme (e.g. a HACCP-based food safety system recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative), you may not need to have a separate food safety management statement, as long as your arrangements are recognised by your regulatory authority.
You should work with your relevant food safety authority to document your food safety risks and what control processes to follow that manage those risks. Once you have an approved statement, it should be followed by your staff to ensure your business keeps its produce safe and meets the legal requirements.
State and territory authorities may have a template for a food safety management statement – check to see what you need and if they can give you one.
Does this apply to me?
In the Standards:
- A primary producer is a business that grows and/or harvests leafy vegetables or melons.
- A primary processor is a business that does any of the following with leafy vegetables or melons: washing, trimming, sorting, sanitising, storing, combining, packing, and transporting between packhouses.
Getting it right
Review and update your document regularly, especially if you make changes to any processes.
Encourage your staff and supervisors to help in the review process so everyone understands how food safety is managed.
What do I need to do?
- Contact your state/territory food regulatory authority for more details on the requirements you must meet under the standard.
- Read more on each of the requirements in the standards and what it means for your business in Chapter 4: Primary production standards (Australia only).
- Read the Fresh Produce Safety Centre – Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety 2022