Regardless of what sector of the food industry you’re in, food safety is imperative. Meeting the standards and producing the highest quality product possible is the priority. This is achieved through strict adherence to the food safety standards using the most accurate and efficient technology available. The consequences of not complying with food safety laws can be dire and should be taken seriously.
Food safety law in Australia
Every country has its own food safety standards, with different testing and training methods to match. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is a government agency that is the authority in the industry and develops the food safety standards used in New Zealand and Australia.
The fundamentals of food safety law are based on science, and the standards are set with specific temperatures and climate controls in mind for every food business. These standards strive to prevent cross contamination, which can be dangerous. According to the Food Safety Information Council, cross contamination can happen “when bacteria and viruses are transferred from a contaminated food or surface such as a chopping board and utensils to other food.”
In order to maintain these strict standards, food hygiene ratings are given to the different businesses in the industry. FSANZ says that a food business is “any business or activity that involves the handling of any type of food for sale, or the sale of food in Australia.” The business gets a rating and therefore a classification. One major component of food safety is maintaining hygiene. Food hygiene is satisfied by controlling potential hazards that could contaminate food or its environment and ensuring that the products are safe for human consumption.
Here are some of the factors listed on foodstandards.gov.au that are looked at when the classification is in the process:
- Food type and intended customer use.
- Activity of the business.
- Method of processing.
- Customer base.
Understanding the ratings and the classification system will aid in meeting the standards and receiving the best score possible.
How to best comply with food safety laws
Along with the food safety standards, there are laws that are in place to encourage high quality and to protect employees as well as consumers. Learn more about food safety by downloading Testo’s pocket guide. There are many different legislations that surround food business and food safety.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act of 1991
This act led to the creation of FSANZ and continues to lay out the agency’s duties. The agreement was designed to develop “food standards to a specialist agency with the effect of ensuring uniformity of implementation of food standards across all states and territories,” according to their website.
The five standards to live by as a food handler and food safety supervisor
The Australian Institute of Food Safety notes that there are five different categories from Chapter 3 of the Food Standard Code that should be considered carefully. They are:
- Standard 3.1.1 Interpretation and Application.
- Standard 3.2.1 Food Safety Programs.
- Standard 3.2.2. Food Safety Practices and general requirements.
- Standard 3.2.3 Food premises and equipment.
- Standard 3.3.1 Food Safety Programs – Service to Vulnerable persons.
Training standards for food safety
Employees who work closely with food are held to a high standard and are required to undergo specific training to keep food safe. Food business operators are required to keep records of who has received what training and when. Training includes taking online courses, following operational procedures, only employing people who have formal training as well as offering training in the necessary languages.
The consequences of non-compliance with food safety law
If a food business takes the standards seriously and works hard to maintain a high rating, the consequences of poor food safety will be avoided. However, it is important to understand what will happen when food law and regulations are not followed. One of the main concerns is the spread of foodborne illnesses and food poisoning, which can be deadly. Listeria, E. coli, Salmonella, Staph Bacteria and Hepatitis A are just a few examples. Non-compliance penalties include:
- Business closure.
- Suspension of license.
- Damaged reputation.
Food Aware Australia lists some of the more intense fines that a real Sydney business had to pay as follows:
- Hand wash basin not accessible and no paper towel – $8,000.
- Breach of cleanliness standards – $10,000.
- No thermometer available onsite – $5,000.
- Fail to eradicate cockroaches – $10,000.
- Fail to provide facilities for personal items storage – $2,000.
The health of the general public and for staff members along the distribution line depend on food businesses to take food safety measures seriously. Testo has a range of instruments that will help you maintain a high level of hygiene in your food business, regardless of the setting.
Reach out to Testo today to get started upgrading your digital food safety systems!