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Food and safety Essay

The Food Act 1984 requires all food business operators and food handlers to comply with the Food Safety Standards. Standard 3.2.2 Food Safety Practices and General Requirements sets clear requirements for food businesses to make sure that food does not become unsafe or unsuitable. This Standard sets the requirements for all food handling activities within your business such as; the receipt of food, storage, processing, display, packaging, transporting, disposal and recall of food.

The Food Safety Standards are enforceable under the Food Act 1984 and all food premises and food handlers must comply with these Standards. There are other accepted ways of meeting some of these standards, however the business must be able to show that the food will still be safe and suitable. (This may require scientific evidence.) It is important to remember that Standard 3.2.3 Food Premises and Equipment also needs to be complied with. This Standard sets clear requirements for food premises fixtures, fittings and equipment to reduce the risk of food contamination.

This is only a guide to the requirements under the Standard. For full details you must check the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Food Safety Standards – Standard 3.2.2. For information on how to meet with the Standards refer to the FSANZ Safe Food Australia, A Guide to the Food Safety Standards on the FSANZ website www.foodstandards.gov.au

Key requirements for Standard 3.2.2
Food handling skills and knowledge
Notification
Food receipt
Food processing
Food recall
Health and hygiene
Temperature control & thermometers

General requirements
Food Handling Skills and Knowledge
Food businesses must make sure that all food handlers, and people who supervise food handlers, have the right skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene for the work they do. Refer to the ‘Food Handlers Food Safety Training’ fact sheet.

Notification
Requires you to notify Council of details about your business. This is covered by your registration.

Food Handling Controls
Temperature control
Potentially hazardous foods include:
Raw and cooked meat, poultry and meat products;
Dairy products and foods containing dairy products;
Seafood;
Processed fruits and vegetables;
Cooked rice and pasta;
Processed foods containing eggs;
beans, nuts and other protein-rich foods;
foods that contain any of the above foods eg sandwiches and custard and cream filled baked goods.

Generally the Standards require that potentially hazardous food is kept under temperature control which means below 5C and above 60C.

Businesses need to limit the amount of time that potentially hazardous foods are kept in the ‘danger zone’ ‑ temperatures between 5C and 60C.

Food receipt
Food businesses must make sure that all food that they receive is safe and suitable. This means that you must make sure that: food is protected from contamination;
food can be identified traced back to its supplier;
food is at the correct temperature. (below 5C and above 60C or frozen)

You can meet these requirements by completing the records and following the section(s) on Purchasing and Receipt, found in your Food Safety Program.

Food storage
During storage you must make sure that the safety and suitability of the food is kept. This means that: Food must be protected from contamination
Food must be stored under correct environmental conditions eg lighting and humidity Potentially hazardous food must be stored under correct temperature. (below 5C and above 60C or frozen).

You can meet these requirements by completing the records and following the section(s) on Storage, found in your Food Safety Program.

Food processing
Businesses must make sure that when processing food:
Only safe and suitable food is processed
Food must be protected from contamination
There are no organisms present that can cause illness when the food is ready to eat.

That potentially hazardous food is keep out of the ‘danger zone’ ‑ temperatures between 5C and 60C as much as possible. Some processing steps have clear requirements for example:
Cooking
Cooling
Thawing
Reheating

Cooking
Food must be cooked correctly and thoroughly to make sure that the food poisoning bacteria is killed and the food is safe to eat. Food that is cooked must be cooked to a temperature of at least 75C.

Cooling
Any potentially hazardous food that is hot must be cooled to 5C as quickly
as possible to ensure that the food is safe. Cool food within two hours from 60C to 21C and within a further four hours from 21C to 5C.

Thawing
When thawing frozen food make sure that the food does not reach 5C or warmer. The ideal method of thawing food is in the refrigerator.

Reheating
Reheating of potentially hazardous food must be done quickly. Use a method that rapidly heats the food to 60C or above.

You can meet these requirements by completing the records and following the section(s) on Preparation, Cooking, Cooling, Thawing, Heating etc, found in your Food Safety Program.

Food display
Businesses must make sure that when displaying food:
Food must be protected from contamination, for example barriers, covering ready to eat foods such as cakes and muffins that are on counters and supervision. That potentially hazardous food is either kept under temperature control or time is used as the control to keep the food safe.

As a guide, the 2 hour/4 hour rule is summarised below:
If less than 2 hours the food must either be refrigerated or used immediately For longer than 2 hours, but less than 4 hours, must be used immediately For a total of 4 hours or longer, must be thrown out.

If using the 2 hour/4 hour rule the business must be able to provide evidence of the times, eg tags with times marked.

You can meet these requirements by completing the records and following the section(s) on Display, Hot Holding, Cold Holding and Service, found in your Food Safety Program.

Food packaging
Food businesses must make sure that when packaging food:
the packaging material used is safe for food;
the packaging material used is not likely to contaminate the food; the food is not contaminated during the packaging process.

You can met these requirements by following the section on Packaging found in your Food Safety Program.

Food transportation
Businesses must make sure that food being transported is:
protected from contamination; and that
Potentially hazardous food must be transported at the correct temperature. (below 5C and above 60C or frozen)

You can meet these requirements by completing the records and following the section(s) on Transportation, found in your Food Safety Program.

Food disposal/recall
Food that is recalled or that may not be safe or suitable, (refer to ‘Your Legal Requirements’ fact sheet), must be labelled and kept separate from the other food on the premises until such time that it can be dealt with correctly. Wholesale suppliers, manufacturers and importers must have a written recall system for the recall of unsafe food. Further information about recalls of food is available on the FSANZ website www.fsanz.gov.au

You can meet these requirements by completing the records and following the section(s) on Recall, found in your Food Safety Program.

Health and Hygiene requirements
Food businesses must:
inform the food handlers about their health and hygiene responsibilities; make sure that the food handlers do not handle food if they are unwell with an illness such as gastro, or other illnesses that can be passed on through food; provide sufficient handwashing facilities, refer to ‘Food Safety Standards Premises and Equipment’ fact sheet; make sure that food handlers
on the premises do not contaminate food.

Food Handlers Requirements:
Food handlers must do everything they can to make sure that they do not contaminate food. They must wash their hands with soap and running warm water in the hand wash basin provided and then dry them using either a paper towel or air drier. Hand washing before handling food must be done regularly and whenever there might be the risk of contaminating food. They must not behave in any way that could cause contamination of food, for example smoking in food handling areas.

Food handlers must inform their supervisor if they are suffering from; diarrhoea, vomiting, a sore throat with fever, fever or jaundice, any infected skin wound or discharges from their ears, nose, or eyes as these conditions could contaminate food.

You can meet these requirements by completing the records and following the section(s) on Hygiene/Health of Food Handlers, found in your Food Safety Program.

Cleaning, Sanitising and Maintenance
Businesses must make sure that the food premises and vehicles are kept clean. Food contact surfaces, ie- chopping boards and preparation benches, must be cleaned and sanitised regularly or in between tasks to make sure that contamination of food does not occur. This also applies to the eating and drinking utensils. Sanitising can be achieved by; using hot water (77C at least), using a food grade sanitiser or diluted bleach.

The premises, fittings and equipment must be kept clean and in a state of good repair. Chipped, cracked or broken utensils must not be used. Garbage must not be left to build up and must be removed regularly.

Miscellaneous
Temperature measuring devices
Businesses that handle potentially hazardous food must have a probe
thermometer that accurately measures to +/-1C. Some sections of your Food Safety Program will require you to take temperatures and record them.

Single use items
These include items that should be used only once such as; paper cups, straws, disposable gloves, take away containers etc. The Standard requires the business to make sure that single-use items: do not contaminate food;

do not pass on any illness; and
are not reused.
The main ways to make sure that food is kept safe using single-use items includes: protecting the single use item with packaging or a container; using dispensers that will allow only the customer who will use the single use item to touch it; storing the single use item away from chemicals, in food storage areas; throw away the single-use item if it has been used, damaged, touched or in any way contaminated.

Animals and pests
Premises and vehicles must be kept free of animals and pests. No animals are allowed in food handling areas apart from live seafood. Assistance animals, such as guide dogs, are the only animals allowed in dining and drinking areas. For further information on pests, follow the section on Pest Control found in your Food Safety Program

For further information about Food Safety Standard 3.2.2 Food Safety Practices and General Requirements please contact your Environmental Health Officer (EHO) on 9658 8831/8815.


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