Food safety is a top priority for food business operators in Australia. To ensure that food is safe for consumption, the Australian Food Standards Code has set out numerous requirements for food safety, and a recently updated requirement is Standard 3.2.2A, which defines a set of Food Safety Management Tools that business operators must follow.
Compliance with FSANZ Standard 3.2.2A is crucial for food businesses, as it helps to prevent foodborne illness and contamination. Failure to comply with the standard can result in legal action, loss of business reputation, and potential harm to customers. Standard 3.2.2A applies at a national level, so all food businesses across Australia have to make sure they comply with these new requirements.
In this article, we will provide you with our top tips for ensuring compliance with Standard 3.2.2A. By following these tips, you can help to protect your customers and your business from the dangers of foodborne illness and contamination.
Let's dive in and explore the key requirements of the standard, as well as the best practices for meeting them.
Understanding the Requirements of Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A
Standard 3.2.2A, also known as “Food Safety Management Tools,” introduces three specific tools that food handling businesses must implement, according to their category. These food safety management tools are:
- Food Handler Training
- Food Safety Supervision
- Record Keeping
Let’s go into them in more detail.
Food Handler Training
All Food Handlers undertaking what is known as “prescribed activities” must have completed a food safety training course or have appropriate skills and knowledge. The approved course should cover the safe handling of food, food contamination, cleaning and sanitising of food premises and equipment, and personal hygiene.
Food Safety Supervisor
The standard says that “the intended outcome is that food handlers in Category 1 and 2 food businesses are adequately supervised by a trained and competent supervisor”, and this must be the case whenever food is being handled.
This means that all businesses included in Standard 3.2.2A must appoint a trained Food Safety Supervisor before handling any high-risk foods.
Food Safety Supervisor training must be provided by a Registered Training Organisation and renewed every 5 years.
According to Standard 3.2.2A, Category 1 businesses “must keep records or other evidence to substantiate that specific activities are being properly managed”.
This requirement means that businesses must keep track of several parameters, such as temperature charts, records of process controls, cleaning and sanitising schedules, and delivery logs.
Tips for complying with Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A
Complying with Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A is essential for all Australian food businesses that handle or process high-risk food. Here are some top tips to ensure compliance:
Tip #1: Determine which category your business belongs to
To ensure compliance with Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A, you must determine which category your business falls into. This aspect of the new standard can be confusing for business owners since many states and territories already have specific categories for food businesses, and those categories may be different from the ones specified by Standard 3.2.2A.
Category 1 businesses handle or process high-risk food that will be served or sold for immediate consumption. This includes restaurants, cafes, and caterers. On the other hand, Category 2 businesses handle or process food that is not high-risk or that will not be served or sold for immediate consumption. This includes supermarkets and convenience stores.
The category determines the changes you must make to stay compliant with the law:
- Category 1 businesses must implement all three food safety management tools
Category 2 businesses only need to implement the first two
Tip #2: Hire or train Food Safety Supervisors
Every food business must have at least one trained Food Safety Supervisor available when operating, as required by Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A. It's recommended that businesses hire or train more than one Food Safety Supervisor to oversee food safety practices, especially if the business works across several shifts or locations, so there is always a Food Safety Supervisor available.
Food Safety Supervisors must also recertify their training every five years to ensure that their knowledge and skills remain up-to-date and relevant.
Tip #3: Train food handling employees in Food Safety Practices
Proper employee training is crucial to maintaining compliance with Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A. All employees who handle or prepare high-risk food should receive Food Handler training or demonstrate they already have the knowledge and skills required. These include safe food handling, food contamination prevention, cleaning and sanitising practices, and personal hygiene, among others.
Since requirements have changed significantly, it’s highly recommended to get training from experts to make sure all requirements are covered. Furthermore, you should look for 3.2.2A Approved Programs to ensure your team receives the appropriate training to be fully compliant.
It's important to ensure that all training is documented and ready for inspection and that employees are regularly reminded of the importance of following proper food safety practices.
Tip #4: Maintain Detailed Records
Record-keeping is a critical component of compliance with Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A. Businesses must keep detailed records to demonstrate that they follow all required food safety practices. These records should include temperature charts, process controls, cleaning and sanitising schedules, and delivery logs.
It's important to maintain accurate and up-to-date records in a reliable format, such as paper or digital documents, photos, or videos. Businesses should also ensure that records are easily accessible and that they are kept for the required period. We have developed a 3.2.2A Record-Keeping Toolkit, a useful tool to simplify record-keeping and stay audit ready.
By following these top tips for ensuring compliance with Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A, businesses can protect the health and safety of their customers and employees, avoid costly fines and legal action, and maintain a positive reputation in the industry.
Ensuring compliance with Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A is crucial for any food business that wants to protect its customers and reputation. In this guide, we have discussed the key requirements of the standard and provided top tips for food businesses to achieve compliance.
First, we reviewed the “Food Safety Management Tools” and the new requirements they include. We also explained the importance of hiring or training enough Food Safety Supervisors to oversee compliance and maintain a safe working environment.
We then discussed the significance of training employees in food safety practices and the topics that should be covered in their training.
Finally, we discussed the importance of record-keeping and guided the types of records that should be maintained and the best practices for keeping them up-to-date.
We encourage all food business owners and managers to take action and ensure compliance with this new standard, as it's essential for the success and longevity of their business.
If you would like more information about the changes in the law and how they may affect you, visit our dedicated 3.2.2A information website.