AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND – Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is set to implement a new food safety management standard, Standard 3.2.2A, in the Safe Food Australia Code on December 8, 2023.

Aimed at foodservice and retail businesses, this standard introduces rigorous requirements for training food handlers and supervisors, emphasizing key actions at critical points to mitigate food safety risks.

Standard 3.2.2A, titled “Food Safety Management Tools,” extends the existing Standard 3.2.2, “Food Safety Requirements.”

It specifically applies to Australian businesses in the foodservice, catering, and retail sectors that handle unpackaged, potentially hazardous food that is ready-to-eat (RTE).

The broad spectrum of businesses covered includes restaurants, cafés, takeaway shops, pubs, supermarkets, food trucks, and other establishments serving food.

Under this standard, businesses must implement two or three food safety management tools, depending on their food handling activities.

The three tools outlined are food safety supervisor, food handler training, and substantiation of critical food safety controls.

The classification of businesses into Category 1 or Category 2, based on specific activities, ensures tailored compliance requirements.

Category 1 Businesses include Caterers or foodservice establishments processing unpackaged potentially hazardous food into food that is both RTE and potentially hazardous. Category 1 businesses are mandated to implement all three management tools.

Meanwhile Category 2 Businesses are establishments conducting retail sale of potentially hazardous, RTE food that was handled unpackaged by the business but not made or processed onsite (excluding activities like slicing and weighing). Category 2 businesses are required to have a food safety supervisor and staff trained in safe food handling.

The implementation of this standard is a collaborative effort, aligning with initiatives developed with states and territories to strengthen food safety management and protect public health.

To ensure compliance, food businesses are encouraged to reach out to their jurisdictional enforcement authority for detailed information.

In February 2023, FSANZ updated Safe Food Australia, a manual on Australian food safety requirements for local government and food enterprises to include the new Standard 3.2.2A food safety management tools.

Safe Food Australia is a guide to the four mandatory food safety standards: Standard 3.1.1 Interpretation and Application, Standard 3.2.2 Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, Standard 3.2.2A Food Safety Management Tools, and Standard 3.2.3 Food Premises and Equipment.

The criteria for training food handlers and supervisors, as well as the need to substantiate critical food safety controls, were significant revisions to the standard.

The new guideline was one of several projects created in collaboration with states and territories to enhance improved food safety in the foodservice and retail industries.

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