Are You Responsible for Food Safety
In Australia, 10 people every month die due to food poisoning. This alarming statistic has squarely put the focus on everyone involved in the food chain and has many seeking answers to the question –
Who holds ultimate responsibility for the food served in any food service establishment?
Under the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code, the answer is very clear.
Food Safety Supervisors
Under the law, food businesses are required to have a certified Food Safety Supervisor to call upon for advice and guidance. This person may be a member of staff, licensee or contractor. Regardless of the private arrangement behind the position, this person is required to –
· Hold a current relevant certificate from a Registered Training Organisation,
· Create and administer the business’s Food Safety Program,
· Enact the business’s Food Safety Plan,
· Ensure staff and suppliers are aware of and follow applicable regulations,
· Become a contact point for local government representatives,
· Develop and emergency plan.
However, do Food Safety Supervisors hold final responsibility under the law? No.
All staff members handling food have a role to play in ensuring public health is never compromised. Food handlers include kitchen staff preparing food for consumption and any additional staff required to unload deliveries or store food. All are expected to understand their role and how undertaking their duties in accordance with the Code protects public health by upholding food safety tenets.
Do they hold ultimate responsibility? No.
Business owners have many balls to juggle in running any enterprise. Restaurants and commercial kitchens are no different. In addition to those mentioned above, they are responsible for –
· Training all staff members,
· Having access to a Food Safety Supervisor,
· Ensuring their Food Safety Supervisor has adequate time to carry out their duties,
· Ensuring all equipment is functioning as required,
· Keeping local government up to speed with relevant business details,
· Ensuring the kitchen is compliant with the Food Standards Code.
It is this final point which indicates the answer to the question at the beginning of this article. Make no mistake –
Business owners are legally responsible for guarding their customers’ safety.
Working in the food service industry is challenging, rewarding, can take you all over the world and commands great respect and admiration from those outside. Of course, all this comes with a high level of responsibility, commitment to excellence, training and a willingness to be innovative and take the occasional risk. When operating in this environment, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and swept away by your passion for creating wonderful culinary delights. However, please ensure your passion, creativity and risk taking are always tempered by the most important aspect of all.