Food safety laws change, are you up to date?

food safety laws change
Revised regulations come into force on 8 December. (Source: Bigstock)

Friday 8 December brings significant changes in food safety regulations, and it’s important for food franchisors across Australia to be up to date with the additional requirements.

From the end of this week, businesses selling unpackaged, potentially hazardous, ready-to-eat food, must ensure that their food handlers have the appropriate skills and knowledge in food safety and hygiene as outlined under Standard 3.2.2A of the Code. 

All cafés, restaurants, and retail food outlets also need to appoint a ‘Food Safety Supervisor’ (FSS) if the food they prepare and serve is ready-to-eat (needs temperature control), and is not sold and served in the supplier’s original package.

Importantly, the designated FSS must be contactable at all hours the business is open.

Paul Sharpe, general manager ANZ of software and training solution, FranConnect, said “Where many restaurants may get caught out is that the food supervisor must be accredited, and that they must be contactable all through the hours of work.

“For many QSR and franchise businesses, this will be a challenge for late night and early morning opening, and even more difficult for businesses open 24 hours.”

Compliance risk

Another aspect of the changes requiring consideration is the units of competencies that have also been upgraded. “Qualifications of the Food Safety Supervisor must have been completed within the last five years so many FSSs are going to be expiring soon. All businesses should be considering who they are in their business and if their training is in date,” Sharpe said.

Food businesses must also maintain the appropriate records to show they are managing the standards set out in 3.2.2.

“Having all your compliance documents in one place is very important”, adds Sharpe. “Storing your records in a centralised location online is always best. This way a food business can produce the reports when needed and demonstrate the training levels each employee has reached.”

Sharpe emphasised the need for franchisors to lead the way in food safety compliance.

“Previously each state had their own way of doing it but now all states and territories must comply, so it should be the franchisor who takes control of this,” he said.