Follow hygiene procedures and identify food hazards
Report any personal health issues
Prevent food contamination
Prevent cross contamination by washing hands
Hygiene applies to all workplaces, practices and habits that have to do with food production and service. It relates to the procedures and processes put in place to ensure the personal health of the staff handling food based products and the cleanliness of the environment in which they work. Because of the potentially serious consequences of bad food practices it is vital that hygiene standards in the hospitality industry are high.
Any business involved in providing food products is bound, by law, to comply with food safety regulations and standards. Breaches of these regulations and standards can lead to severe consequences for both patrons of the establishment and the establishment itself. As an employee in this industry you have a legal obligation to ensure you follow organisational procedures at all times. You also have an obligation to point out any areas where food hygiene is not being properly observed so that risk of contamination is minimised, and improvements can be made.
Most organisations will also have internally driven procedures and processes designed for their specific environment that not only ensure that safety regulations are met, but also provide staff with guidelines on standards the organisation has set to ensure the quality of product and services it offers. These standards should be high and should be consistently met; an organisation’s reputation can suffer if service is excellent one day and not very good the next, so consistency is important.
Reasons for food safety programs and what they must contain
Hygiene actions that must be adhered to in order to avoid food borne illnesses
The ramifications of failure to observe food safety laws and organisational policies and procedures.
The role of local government regulators
Food standards in Australia are governed by the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) agency who have developed a set of regulations to ensure correct handling of food products.
Many of these regulations are mandatory; this means that some sectors of the food industry must comply with these standards. Where standards are not mandatory they are recommended as best practice and should be met wherever practical.
Food safety standards
Any business, in Australia, that prepares and serves food is subject to regulations set out under the Food Safety Standards. These standards are put in place to ensure that food prepared by a food business is handled in a hygienic manner and is safe and suitable to eat. The definition of a food business is any business or activity that involves “the handling of any type of food for sale in Australia”. The standards also impose health and hygiene obligations for those staff members who actually handle and prepare food.
So, in essence, the FSANZ standards were developed to lower the incidence of food-borne illness. As an employee of the hospitality industry, dealing with food, it is essential that you are aware of them. The standards are broken down into four different categories each addressing different aspects of food production and distribution. They are;
General food standards
Food product standards
Food safety standards
Primary production standards
In your roles you will, primarily, be concerned with the standards outlined in section 3. In Australia there are five food safety standards in this category. They are:
Standard 3.1.1 – Interpretation and Application
Standard 3.2.1 – Food Safety Programs
Standard 3.2.2 – Food Safety Practices and General Requirements
Standard 3.2.3 – Food Premises and Equipment
Standard 3.3.1 – Food Safety Programs for Food Service to Vulnerable Persons
(Standards 3.2.2 and 3.2.3 are mandatory for all food businesses.)
A very brief overview of some of these standards is given below. It is advised that you download a copy of all standards and familiarise yourselves with the content.
This standard was developed to provide food businesses with guidance on identifying and controlling hazards in working with food. From manufacturing and production through to the final handling of food products; there are many points at which food can be spoiled or contaminated (figure 9 shows a brief example of the pathway a product may take from supplier to end phase). To combat this, standard 3.2.1 offers guidance on how risks can be managed effectively. More in the learner guide …