Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A explained further for Childcare centres
Well hasn’t this topic got us all talking about Food Safety and how these changes will effect our centres. Since we released our article about the upcoming compliance requirements with the introduction of Food Standard Code 3.2.2A, we have been inundated with questions from our Childcare clients. Even though, this new code was announced in 2022, it still isn’t widely known throughout the industry. With only a few months until Food Standard Code 3.2.2A comes into effect our food safety experts are here to answer your questions.
Let’s dive in…
What is food standard code 3.2.2A all about?
In December 2022, Food Standards Australia/New Zealand (FZANZ), announced that Food Standard Code 3.2.2A would come into effect on 8th December 2023. The new Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A – Food Safety Management tools now categorises businesses depending on their food service processes. There are also now additional Food Safety training and record-keeping requirements to remain compliant.
Food Safety Standards 3.2.2A is now a national standard. All states and territories must now comply with the requirements outlined in Standards 3.2.2A. For South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory, this means for the first time they will need to be compliant under a Food Safety Standard. For New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, these are only additional requirements.
The new standard does not replace the current Standard 3.2.2 – Food Safety Practices & General Requirements, these are new regulations. These additional regulations are putting business owners under greater regulatory control with a bigger role played by food handlers in maintaining food safety. Afterall, everyone who handles food has the responsibility to do so in a safe manner.
Why has this new food standard been introduced?
Simply, there were too many cases of food poisoning.
The statistics around Food Safety in Australia shows that we continue to record over 4 million cases of food poisoning ever year. Around 20,000 people are hospitalized, an average of 86 people die with more than 1,000,000 appointments to GP’s. FSANZ was forced to act with Standard 3.2.2A to improve knowledge and practices of all businesses and food handlers.
We need to keep food safe!
What does this mean for Food Safety Supervisors?
From 8th December 2023, it will be best practice for a business to have a Primary and a Secondary Food Safety Supervisor who has completed an accredited Food Safety Supervisor training course within the past 5 years. This helps to ensure supervision requirements are met across shifts, during holidays and when sick days are taken.
The Food Safety Supervisor course is a National accredited course that teaches how to recognize, prevent and deal with food safety problems. The Food Safety Supervisor has appropriate skills, knowledge and authority to supervise the food handlers and ensure food is kept safe, particularly high-risk potentially hazardous food that is ready to eat.
For a business to appoint someone to the role of Food Safety Supervisor they must oversee the day-to-day food safety requirements of the business and they must have the authority to supervise and give directions about food safety and be reasonably available to staff and regulatory authorities if required.
Standard 3.2.2A states that the Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) has to be “reasonably available”. What does this mean?
This has created the most confusion. Let us explain further. The Standard states – “reasonably available” generally means the FSS) physically works onsite and overseas food handling of high-risk unpackaged foods or can be easily contacted if established food handling procedures are in place at the business.
For example, Breakfast is prepared and served from 6:30am and your FSS starts at 9am. All the morning staff are well trained in food safety and your written procedures. If your FSS is contactable via phone between 6:30am and 9am, then you will be complaint. If your FSS is not ‘reasonably available’ or willing to be contacted, you will need to have another FSS that is onsite or available.
Each centre will need to decide about their staffing requirements when it comes to their food handling processes and how best they meet this component.
Some publications and information we have received has detailed that it should be necessary for a Food Safety Supervisor to be available at all times and onsite. Each business will need to make a decision for themselves based on staffing in their business.
Overview of Food Safety Supervisor changes:
Best practice is for a Primary and Secondary Food Safety Supervisor to be designated for each centre
Food Safety Supervisors must be trained with the last 5 years
Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) physically works onsite and overseas food handling of high-risk unpackaged foods
Food Safety Supervisor must be contactable at all times during the preparation of food
You must have written procedures when handling food
Other staff must be well trained in food safety and in your written procedures when handling food in the absence of the Food Safety Supervisor
Who needs Food Safety Level 1 Training?
The definition of a Food Handler is anyone that performs any task that involves making, cooking, preparing, serving, packing, displaying, storing, or the delivery of food as well as anyone who cleans equipment, utensils, surfaces, or cutlery.
To meet the requirements under Standard 3.2.2A – all staff who perform these tasks are required to complete Food Safety level 1 training and be able to demonstrate and understand 4 areas of knowledge:
safe food handling
cleaning & sanitising and
Training records are required to be kept for 3 years.
Does the food Safety Level 1 training need to be accredited?
This training DOES NOT need to be an accredited training course and can be done by an external training provider or internally developed training to suit the business.
The good news is that there is a FREE option for you. DoFoodSafely is a free, very basic, non-accredited, online learning program provided by the Department of Health Victoria and proudly supported by Queensland Health, South Australia Health and Tasmania Health.
For the business owners who want a simple, cost efficient but more in-depth training option, we have a solution for you. Our non-accredited Food Safety Level 1 training package, will not only keep you compliant for Food Standards Code 3.2.2A but will provide more peace of mind that your staff understand how to keep food safe.
Your local council
Your local council is responsible to provide the license to operate within your local area and to hold your business accountable to the food standard codes. We are getting feedback that some councils are not up to date with the new Standard 3.2.2A.
If your council is unaware or has questions, feel free to forward this link listing full details of the Food Standard Code 3.2.2A.
Keep sending through your questions!
We are happy to see and hear so many people talking about Food Safety and how these changes will impact your business. If your staff require further food safety training or you are not happy with the level of food safety knowledge in your business, we are happy to assist.
Any questions along the way as we approach December 8th, please do not hesitate to ask.
We too, are finding that everyone is interpreting the standards differently. Our team is regularly talking to National food safety experts within the industry to find out more information that we can pass onto you. We will be releasing another article shortly to further clarify more questions we’re receiving. So keep the questions coming, we want to make this as easy as possible to keep you compliant and our little ones safe.
More information can be found at www.foodstandards.gov.au or talk to one of our Food Safety specialists on (03) 9560 1844.