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Food Safety Information

Everyone who works in your food business is responsible for ensuring that the food they sell or prepare for sale is safe for human consumption.

This requirement means anyone within the business or community group involved in any activity that involves food, or surfaces likely to come into contact with food, must know how to keep the food safe from contamination.


Food Safety Training

Dofoodsafely is a free online learning program developed by the Department of Health and Human Services which all food handlers are encouraged to complete.

Kingston's Top 10 Tips info sheet provides tips on how to operate a safe food business.

The following Department of Health Publications also provide basic food safety information in an easy to read format:

Further food safety information can be found at health.vic.gov.au or by contacting Environmental Health Services on 9581 4573. 



Food Allergies

Food allergies affect every 2 in 100 adults. There are at least 170 foods which trigger an allergic reaction, the most common are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, crustaceans, soybeans, cereals (containing gluten) and sesame seeds. Some uncommon allergens include kiwi fruit, banana, chicken, mustard and celery.

Food allergies cause mild and severe life threatening reactions. Mild symptoms include mouth tingling, body redness, face swelling and vomiting. Symptoms of a severe reaction include difficulty breathing, throat swelling, wheezing, loss of consciousness and in extreme cases, even death. It is important to remember that even a very small amount of food can cause a severe reaction and it can be fatal.

Although a consumer is responsible for their own health, a food business is legally required to comply with the Food Standards Code, which specifies food allergy requirements. Everyone, from the manager through to the food preparation and food service staff, needs to be aware of the risks food allergies pose, and be clear on how to identify and manage them. It is important to:

  • develop a process for preparing foods for customers with allergies and ensure it is followed,
  • train your staff so they understand their obligation to declare certain allergens and other substances in food if the customer asks,
  • only use ingredients that are clearly and correctly labelled,
  • ask your suppliers about their allergen management policy and for a Product Information Form (PIF), and
  • consider providing allergen information on your menu to help customers easily determine what foods they should avoid.

For further information visit Food Standards Australia New Zealand Food Allergen Portal and Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia.



Food Business Classifications

There are four Classifications for fixed and temporary food businesses, which are defined below with some examples.

This is not an exclusive list therefore the Department of Health's Food Business Predetermined Classifications should be reviewed.

Class 1  High risk foods served to a vulnerable population
  • Hospitals, childcare centres and aged care services.
Class 2  High risk foods served to general public
  • Restaurants, bars, canteens, bed and breakfasts, bakeries, cafes, mobile food vehicles or food carts preparing and serving high risk foods.
Class 3 Pre-packaged high risk foods or low risk foods prepared and handled
  • Bars, bed and breakfasts, milk bars, service stations, bakeries, cafes, mobile food vehicles or food carts preparing and serving low risk food or high risk foods pre-packaged.
  • Breweries, wineries and other alcoholic drink makers.
  • Grocers cutting whole fruit or vegetables.
Class 4

Pre-packaged low risk foods or unpackaged low risk foods not prepared or handled.

  • Community groups and fundraising activities selling low risk foods or holding a sausage sizzle.
  • Milk bars, pharmacies, retailers, mobile food vehicles or food cards selling pre-packaged low risk foods.
  • Grocers selling whole fruit or vegetables.


Food Safety Programs

Most Victorian food businesses are required to nominated a Food Safety Program before registration can be granted. If your business is required to have a Food Safety Program it must be submitted to Environmental Health either with your initial application, or on the day of the final inspection.

Class 1: A Food Safety Program must be nominated.  An independent non-standard program developed specifically for the premises. This must be approved by the Department of Health and Human Services or Audited by a Department of Health and Human Services Approved Safety Auditor.

Class 2: A Food Safety Program must be nominated and may be a:

A list of approved auditors can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Class 3 and 4: A Food Safety Program is not required for these businesses however minimum record keeping is recommended, and can be obtained from the Department of Health & Human Services template.



Food Safety Supervisors

A food safety supervisor is someone who:

  • knows how to recognise, prevent and alleviate food handling hazards at your premises;
  • has a Statement of Attainment that shows the required food safety competencies from a Registered Training Organisation (RTO);
  • has the ability and authority to supervise other people handling food at the premises and ensure that food handling is done safely.

The Department of Health and Human Services Food Safety Supervisor Fact Sheet outlines the minimum competency standards for a food safety supervisor.

Class 1 and 2 food premises require a food safety supervisor.

Class 3 and 4 food premises do not need a food safety supervisor, however staff members are still required to have the skills and knowledge to safely handle food.



Food Recalls

A food recall removes food that may pose a health or safety risk from distribution, sale and consumption.

A food recall may occur because of a report or complaint from manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, government and consumers. It may also occur as a result of a food business conducting internal testing and auditing.

Food recalls are alerted to the public in many ways including via the media, a phone call or letter from your supplier, a Council officer, word of mouth or when visiting your local supermarket.

Manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and importers must be able to produce a written recall plan at the request of an Environmental Health Officer. For help writing a recall plan for your business, contact the Food Standards Advice Line on 1300 652 166 or visit foodstandards.gov.au.

If food is recalled, retailers and other registered food businesses MUST remove it from sale and follow the recall procedures in their Food Safety Program, and any directions on the product recall notice.

Details on current food recalls can be found at Product Recalls Australia.



Questions

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Environmental Health Services on 9581 4573 or info@kingston.vic.gov.au