Food Safety Standard 3.2.2A

Standard 3.2.2A Food Safety Management Tools

Standard 3.2.2A Food Safety Management Tools is a new Standard within the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. It applies to Australian businesses in food service, catering and retail sectors that handle unpackaged, potentially hazardous food that is ready to eat.

Standard 3.2.2A is enforceable from 8 December 2023.

Why was the Standard developed?

Foodborne illness is an ongoing and sometimes serious problem that is largely preventable. Existing requirements are a strong basis for food safety, but more is needed to protect the community from foodborne illness. Standard 3.2.2A aims to strengthen food safety in the food service and retail sectors. The Standard addresses critical food safety risks, strengthens the level of appropriate knowledge, skills, supervision and provides for enhanced food handling practices to safely prepare and serve food.

The three food safety management tools outlined in the Standard aim to help food businesses to deliver safer food for consumers.

Who does it affect?

The Standard introduces new requirements for food businesses that are a category one business or category two business.

What are category one and category two businesses?

Category one

category one business is a food business that:

  1. is a caterer or a food service; and
  2. processes unpackaged potentially hazardous food, into a food that is:
    1. potentially hazardous food; and
    2. ready-to-eat food.

Examples of category one businesses include:

  • restaurants
  • takeaway outlets
  • caterers
  • bakeries.

Category two

category two business is a food business that offers for food for retail sale that is:

  1. potentially hazardous food; and
  2. ready-to-eat food, where that food:
    1. was received unpackaged by the food business or was unpackaged by the food business after receipt; and
    2. was not made or processed (other than slicing, weighing, repacking, reheating or hot-holding the food) by the food business.

Examples of category two businesses may include retail such as:

  • delicatessens
  • market stalls
  • service stations
  • convenience stores.

Source: Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, Food Standards Code, Standard 3.2.2A, Food Safety Management Tools.

The Standard does not apply to:

  • the handling of food for or at a fundraising event
  • businesses that only manufacture or wholesale food
  • other food businesses that are not serving or retailing unpackaged food that is potentially hazardous and ready to eat (e.g. service station selling food that remains in its original packaging, coffee van that only sells food that is not potentially hazardous, business that only makes cakes or confectionary, etc).

What are the new requirements?

Standard 3.2.2A introduces new requirements for specified food businesses which will need to have:

  • a food safety supervisor that has been certified within the past five years
  • training for food handlers
  • evidence tools (record keeping).

Food safety supervisor certification

All licensed food businesses in Queensland already require a food safety supervisor that is reasonably available to all food handlers at the food business and to the licensing local government.

The change means that:

  • A food safety supervisor certificate for category one and category two food businesses must be obtained from a registered training organisation (RTO) for the national competencies appropriate for their food sector.
  • A statement of attainment from an RTO may be issued to a person following successful completion of a training course, or successful demonstration to the RTO that the person has existing skills, experience or training to meet the national competencies (recognition of prior learning).
  • Food safety supervisors for category one and category two food businesses must obtain food safety supervisor certification at least every 5 years.

NOTE: While Standard 3.2.2A does not apply to the handling of food for or at a fundraising event, a non-profit organisation that is a licensed food business must still have a food safety supervisor.

For further information on food safety supervisors, including the training requirements, refer to the Queensland Health guideline Food safety supervisors.

Food handler training

Food handlers for category one and category two food businesses must have appropriate food safety skills and knowledge to handle potentially hazardous foods. Food handlers must have completed a food safety training course or have skills and knowledge of food safety and hygiene matters commensurate with their work activities.

A food handler training course must include information on:

  • safe handling of food; and
  • food contamination; and
  • cleaning and sanitising of food premises and equipment; and
  • personal hygiene.

Businesses may use online food safety training programs, such as I’m Alert. This is free online training recognised by Environmental Health Australia. All food businesses within the Whitsunday Region have free access to this Training which is funded by Whitsunday Regional Council. There are also courses available from RTOs, or training can be developed by the food business. An internal training program may also be tailored to the business’s own activities and procedures, but it must cover the requirements above. Please note that this free training does not meet Food Safety Supervisor requirements outlined above.

Evidence of food safety practices

Category one businesses are required to substantiate food safety management of prescribed activities. This means that records of critical food safety risks must be maintained, or management of food safety activities must be demonstrated through other suitable means to an Environmental Health Officer. The prescribed activities in Standard 3.2.2A relate to:

  • receipt, storage, display and transport (if applicable) of potentially hazardous foods under temperature control
  • adequate processing (e.g. cooking, acidifying, fermenting) of potentially hazardous foods
  • minimisation of the time potentially hazardous foods are out of temperature control during processing
  • cooling of potentially hazardous foods within the specified time and temperature limits
  • reheating of potentially hazardous foods rapidly to the required temperature
  • adequate cleaning and sanitisation of food surfaces and equipment.

What is an evidence tool?

An evidence tool is a record for substantiating food safety management of prescribed activities.

A ‘record’ means a document or object in any form (including electronic) that is kept for information it contains or that can be obtained from it. For example:

  • writing or other entries on paper or electronic templates
  • written instructions that have been verified (e.g., a validated recipe or standard operating procedure)
  • notes on invoices (e.g., temperature of food received)
  • data logger information in a graph
  • photos or video footage.

A record may also be information recorded in another way.

Records should be made each day the business is engaged in prescribed activities and:

  • should include the date (and time, if appropriate) the record was made and which food or activity it relates to
  • must be available to an Environmental Health Officer (or business personnel that need them) on request
  • must be kept for at least 3 months after they are made.

However, a record may not be needed if the business can show an Environmental Health Officer another way that they have adequately managed the food safety risks. Please note that Whitsunday Regional Council will generally only accept written records as evidence tools.

Whitsunday Regional Council has developed record templates that businesses are free to download and complete to meet their evidentiary requirements. The free templates are available for download below.

Free Evidence Tool Template Examples

Free Evidence Tool Template Examples

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