Food service, caterer and related retail businesses in Australia need to meet new food safety supervisor requirements from December 2023.
What are the requirements?
Under Standard 3.2.2A - 11, category one and two businesses must:
- appoint a certified food safety supervisor (FSS) before engaging in a 'prescribed activity'
- the certificate must be from either a registered training organisation or an organisation recognised by the relevant food regulator
- the certificate must have been obtained within the past 5 years
- ensure that the FSS is reasonably available to advise and supervise each food handler engaged in that prescribed activity.
Prescribed activities involve handling unpackaged potentially hazardous foods that are ready to eat, which are high risk.
Who should be a FSS?
- The FSS should be in a position to oversee food handling and be involved in the day-to-day food handling operations of the food business.
- They must be 'reasonably available' as a point of contact for food handlers and authorised officers.
- 'Reasonably available' means the FSS works onsite and oversees food handling of high-risk unpackaged foods, or can be easily contacted (e.g. by phone).
- It is not considered reasonable for a business to appoint someone as a FSS who does not regularly handle food as part of their normal duties, or is never onsite at a food business.
Role of the FSS
The FSS makes sure the business is handling food safely, so if something goes wrong, food that could be unsafe to eat is not processed further or served to consumers.
The role of the FSS is to:
- make sure food safety risks are managed and issues are prevented or corrected
- instruct staff, review and update business procedures, and inspect premises and food handling operations
- share their food safety knowledge with other food handlers
- foster a positive food safety culture, so food safety is a top priority in 'the way we do things here'.
The business needs to make sure the FSS is able to fulfil these duties.
- The certificate will show the participant has completed the required units for the FSS course.
- Details of FSS competency units are available on the national register of vocational education and training website at training.gov.au.
- Some training organisations may offer refresher courses for those who have received the qualification previously.
- Alternatively, the complete FSS course will need to be repeated every five years.
- The FSS should be able to provide their certificate to an authorised officer, if requested.