What is a Food Safety Plan?
A Food Safety Plan (FSP) is a documented program that identifies and controls food safety hazards in the handling of food in a food business. The program includes documents, monitoring records, policies and procedures that assist in managing the food safety risks of your business.
In Australia, Standard 3.3.1 Food Safety Programs for Food Service to Vulnerable Persons of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, requires high risk 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 childcare centres. Developing a comprehensive, effective and practical Food Safety Program can be challenging and time consuming. Many food businesses decide to engage a food safety professional to help develop their food safety program and ensure it reflects the processes and identify the food safety risks relevant to their business.
Food Safety Co can assist Food Businesses develop their food safety program by providing a number of approved template options that can be customised to help meet legislative requirements and help identify and minimise the food safety risks in your business.
Who can verify my Food Safety Plan.
In Western Australia, the verification assessment of a Food Safety Program(FSP) is carried out by the Local Government enforcement agency where the food business is operating within.
Verification approval of the FSP is required prior to being assessed by a Third-Party Food Safety Auditor.
Food Safety Co is here to help improve your verification process by making approval of your FSP easier and smoother, saving you money and time in managing your business and meeting your client needs.
How often should my Food Safety Plan be Audited?
Food Businesses are required to organise their first audit within 3 – 6 months of receiving verification form their Local Government Health Department and then another audit within 6 months of the first.
The outcomes of two audits will be required to establish a compliance history that can allow for the adjustment of the audit frequency. The Auditor may adjust the frequency based on performance after this time in the range of 3 to 12 months.
For example, where a Food Business consistently receives a high-performance audit rating, audits may be reduced to annually. However, if a food business performs poorly on the day of the audit or does not consistently meet the requirements of their food safety program, audits are required to be carried out more frequently.
How often do I need to wash my hands when preparing food?
The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code Standard 3.2.2 requires food handlers to wash their hands using a dedicated hand washing facility whenever hands are likely to be a source of contamination of food.
For example, food handlers are required to wash hands:
- before commencing or re-commencing handling food
- after smoking, coughing, sneezing, using a handkerchief or disposable tissue
- after eating and drinking
- after touching hair, scalp or a body opening
- after handling rubbish and other waste
- after using the toilet
Can I use hand sanitisers instead of washing my hands?
Hand sanitisers are not a replacement for effective hand washing in a commercial kitchen.
Food handlers are to frequency wash their hands using a liquid soap and warm running water. It is also important that washed hands are properly dried using a disposable paper towel (or air dryer).
The application of hand sanitisers after hand washing is optional.
Do I need to wear gloves when handling food?
Use of disposable gloves when preparing ‘ready to eat foods’ is not mandatory in a commercial kitchen, however forms part of good food handling practice of food handlers.
Use of gloves when preparing ready to eat foods such as sandwiches, fresh fruit and raw vegetable will help minimise bare hand contact with food.
Food handlers should also wear disposable gloves to prevent cross contamination of food from open cuts/wounds, bandaids, jewellery (with stones) and fingernails (painted and acrylic).
How often should I change my gloves when preparing food?
Disposable gloves should only be used once and changed as often as you wash your hands.
Gloves should be changed between each food task. For example, cutting raw chicken and cooking chicken.
Do all food premises need a thermometer to check the temperature of food?
Under the Australia New Zealand Food Safety Code, Standard 3.2.2 – Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, food businesses that handle potentially hazardous food (food that requires tempearture control to prevent spoilage) are required to have available a thermometer that is accurate to +/-1oC. Thermometers are used in food business to check the tempearture of food and the efficiency of food storage equipment such as fridges.
How do I check the accuracy of a food thermometer?
Under the Australia New Zealand Food Safety Code, Standard 3.2.2 – Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, thermometers are required to have an accuracy of +/-1oC.
The accuracy of a food thermometer is checked by using the ice point and boiling point calibration methods. Ice point calibration uses an ice slurry. Accurate thermometers should show a calibration temperature of +/-1oC (e.g. a tempearture between -1oC and +1oC).
Boiling Point Calibration uses a pot of boiling water. Accurate thermometers should show a calibration temperature of +/-1oC (e.g. a tempearture between 99oC and 101oC).
How often should I calibrate my food thermometer?
It is recommended that thermometers be calibrated at least monthly.
How do I clean and sanitise the thermometer?
To ensure there is no risk of cross contamination, especially between raw and cooked food or when managing allergen risks, a probe thermometer is required to be cleaned and sanitised before it is used to measure the temperature of different food.
Probe thermometer should be cleaned and sanitised by using the following steps:
wash the probe with warm soapy water before and after using
sanitise the probe by using either alcoholic wipes or the same sanitiser used for food contact equipment (check manufacturer’s instructions to see if rinsing off sanitising is required)
- allow the probe thermometer to air dry (waving in the air) or thoroughly drying it with a disposable paper towel before inserting into food
What is the difference between ‘Use-by’ date and ‘Best Before’ dates
Disposable gloves should only be used once and changed as often as you wash your hands. Gloves should be changed between each food task. For example, cutting raw chicken and cooking chicken.
USED BY DATES
Food that is labelled with a ‘used by’ date must be eaten by the specified date. After this date food may be unsafe to eat.
Food that is pasted a ‘used by’ date food may look and smell fine; food may be come unstable and have the potential to grow harmful bacteria.
Food labelled with a used by date are commonly potentially hazardous foods such as milk, eggs and smallgoods such as sliced ham. It is an offence to sell food after the used by date has expired.
Food labelled with a ‘best before’ date is still safe to eat as long as they are not damaged, deteriorated or perished.
Generally, only quality issues such as taste, colour and texture are affected for food that has pasted its ‘best before’ date.
Low risk foods such as biscuits, sugar and flour are labelled with a ‘best before’ date.
It is not an offence to sell food pasted its ‘best before’ date.