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Food Safety at Cookaborough

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Food Safety Compliance

If you are running a food business of any kind, you will need to adhere to certain food safety regulations. But the rules can be a bit tricky to navigate.

Even though it might be tricky, get around them you must! 

What's applicable to you?

Regardless of where and how you operate, to use the Cookaborough platform we must sight your documents certifying that you:

1. have a valid licence to operate as a food business from your local Authority, and 

2. have completed food safety training up to Supervisor level by an accredited Registered Training Organisation in the last 5 years (renewing every 5 years).

These two levels of Compliance make sure that you are adhering to the applicable National Standards for Food Safety, as well as meeting your local Council requirements for food safety.

Read on to understand what the National Standards are, what role your Council plays, which Category you might be, where the Food Safety Act comes in and what Class versus Category means!

Understanding the rules

National Standards

The National body that makes Food Safety rules is called Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) and is the statutory body that drafted the Food Safety Act 1984. This Act - and its Amendments - defines Categories of businesses and determines food safety rules including the level of food safety training and operations required for each Category of Food Business.

The Standard divides food businesses into two different types – Category 1 and Category 2

Put simply, Category 1 food businesses prepare and serve or sell potentially hazardous foods – which means a.) they have their own premises and turn raw food into something to eat OR b.) they make food for or in vulnerable group settings such as hospitals, aged care homes and child care. In the last year Food Standards has altered the regulations slightly for a Category 1 business. A Category 1 business now needs to:

(1) have an accredited food safety supervisor on site or contactable at all times, and 

(2) have a food safety supervisor on site and conduct handler training for staff and

(3) adopt Record Management Tools such as implementing a Food Safety Program

Every food business using Cookaborough is a Category 1 food business. This 'national' Category is sometimes stated on Council Permits, but typically State based terminology is used such as Class or Risk type, etc.

A Category 2 food business service/sell unpackaged potentially hazardous foods – say like a 7-11 Store. They are not making the food themselves but on-selling it. Category 2 does not need to have a record-keeping Food Safety Program.

 

States and territories

FSANZ does not enforce their Code of Standards. Instead it’s up to States and Territories to interpret it, then for each local Council to enforce it (for the Territories, the Health Department itself enforces compliance).

Victoria was actually the only State to have Food Safety Standards for while. So their legislation preceded the National Food Safety Standards so that’s why Victorian Food Safety standards can sometimes look a little different from other states.

In Victoria, your local Council has an additional 'category' or classification that may appear on your permit. They may classify you as Class 1,2 or 3a depending on the level of risk they determine you are carrying. Typically, unless you are making food for child care centres, for hospitals or for aged care or other vulnerable persons facilities, a food business using Cookaborough will be Class 2 or in some cases Class 3. Class 1 to Class 3A are Category 1 businesses. 

Remaining States and Territories will have their own ways of determining your risk profile but do not typically reference these into separate Classes on your local council Permit. They may reference your Risk Profile, your type of Premises or simply your business type. Regardless of what is on your permit, Council will have taken your business operations into consideration and ask you to complete the relevant food safety checks before issuing your permit.

 

Summary:

State and Territory regulations can differ from the National Standard.

All businesses using Cookaborough are Category 1.

States and Territories will classify your business their way, according to their assessment of your food safety risk profile. These classifications typically appear on your Council permit.

 

GOOD TO KNOW: The national term Category 1 is typically not stated on your Permit / Licence. Authorities issuing your Permit will typically defer to the State and Territory food safety risk profile terminology such as Class 2, Priority 1, etc.

 

Servicing vulnerable groups of people

Sometimes people who are classified as 'vulnerable' require additional levels of compliance.

If your food business operates within a setting such as a hospital, aged care home or a child care centre or simply supplies food to these types of facilities, you will need to adhere to more rigorous Food Safety Plans. For example in Victoria, a local Council will register this kind of businesses as a Class 1 Food Business. This also typically applies to certain meal delivery service providers who are supplying meals to a group of more than six NDIS or HCP customers at one time - so in a group setting.

If you are like most food businesses using Cookaborough, making and selling meals to many different kinds of customers on an individual basis who have the freedom of food choice including older Australians and those on HCP or the NDIS, you do not typically fall under this highest risk category.

 

Servicing HCP and NDIS customers

If you have HCP or NDIS customers, these are typically considered the same as any other customer – people who are free to order meals from their choice of meals provider, whether they are the recipients of a Home Care Package or NDIS participants. This means that you should not require an additional level of compliance such as for the vulnerable groups mentioned above.

Again, it is your local Council who has the final word on your risk profile. If they deem you to be in the highest risk category, it is up to them to let you know what additional compliance steps you may need to take. Often it is not such an onerous task to meet the requirements, but there may be additional permit costs and you may need to follow a special type of Food Safety Program.

 

Where to start

Your most important port of call is your local Council or Food Authority. Their Environmental Health Officer will be able to advise you of what your obligations are for the type of food business you are and for the type of premises you are cooking in. In fact they are the only ones who will be able to clarify exactly what you need to do for your specific business.

The Council permit will mean you have met all sorts of safety standards that your Council requires. This will include an audit of all sorts of things such as the size of your premises depending on the amount of meals you are making, adequate fridge space, a hand washing sink, and those sorts of things. They will also want to know you understand your food safety obligations for example they may ask you to demonstrate how you measure the temperature of your food, whether your employees know about food safety or how to store hazardous foods.

SUMMARY: To use the Cookaborough platform we must sight your documents certifying that you have a valid operating permit from the relevant authority who enforces the Food Act in your State or Territory, and that you have completed food safety training up to Supervisor level by an accredited Registered Training Organisation in the last 5 years. 

 

Helpful Links

Australian Institute of Food Safety: For enquiries relating to food safety training required to meet the National Standards for compliance. Australian Institute of Food Safety also has a range of guides, templates and posters available in their online Resource Libraryto further support food safety compliance.

This article is a useful one on Food Safety Plans and record-keeping. And this is and example of information regarding Food Safety Programs

Find Your Council (for Permit queries) National LGA Association

State Health Departments: Minimum Units of Competencies for Food Safety Supervisors (for getting up to speed with Food Safety): QLD: QLD Health NSW: NSW Food Authority ACT: ACT Health VICTORIA: VIC Health (Step 4) TAS: TAS Health SA: SA Health WA: WA Health NT: NT Health

Food Safety Supervisors Explanation of minimum requirements

Need more help?

Online: Check out the 'Learn' tab on the Cookaborough home page for more tips, tricks and insights.

Email: If you have further questions or need assistance, contact our team.

Cookaborough

Cookaborough

The only platform developed specifically for food businesses to start, run and grow their Ready-made meals business.

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