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Standard 3.3.1 – Food Safety Programs for Food Service to Vulnerable Persons

(Updated February 2014)

Standard 3.3.1 requires food businesses that prepare food for service to vulnerable persons to implement a food safety program.  This normally includes food businesses providing food to hospital patients, aged care residents and children in child care centres.  

Who must comply with this standard?

The standard applies to Australian food businesses involved in food processing and service to vulnerable people in the community who are at greater risk of foodborne illness. Standard 3.3.1 requires these businesses to have a documented food safety program. 
A vulnerable person is defined as a person who receives care from one of the facilities listed in the standard or is a client of a delivered meals organisation. The facilities listed in the standard include: 
  • hospital facilities including acute care, psychiatric, hospice, chemotherapy and renal dialysis facilities
  • aged care facilities including nursing homes, respite care, same day aged care and low care aged care facilities
  • child care facilities, including long day care, occasional day care and employer sponsored child care (does not include family day care).

The application of the standard to food businesses depends on a number of criteria, including the number of people to be served (six or more), the principal activity of the business and whether the food is potentially hazardous and ready-to-eat.

Are all businesses that process and serve food for vulnerable people required to comply with the standard?

No. The following businesses are not required to have a food safety program under this standard:
  • businesses which process or serve food for five or less clients/patients at any given time
  • businesses which only process or serve non-potentially hazardous foods – for example they only serve tea or coffee with biscuits
  • businesses that prepare food that is not ready-to eat, e.g. they only provide ingredients or foods that are to undergo further processing, such as cooking
  • businesses that principally prepare food for the general community but which may also prepare food for vulnerable people
  • delivered meals organisations that only deliver food.
If you are not sure whether your business will need a food safety program contact your state or territory health department or local council.

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