Regulatory Food Safety Audits

The Food Act requires child care and aged centres which prepare and serve food to develop and implement a food safety plan. Your first thought might be that developing a plan may be time consuming, difficult or even just too hard. However there are many free and simple to use guides available on the internet.

As the purpose of a food safety plan is to safeguard health and to protect your business, utilising a simple plan is well worth the effort. In most instances, a documented food safety plan comprises three parts and will likely formalise your existing good practices. The first part includes a description of your business and names of the staff that are responsible for food safety.

The second part describes:

  • your food handling activities such as food receipt and refrigerator storage,
  • what can go wrong and cause injury (biological, chemical and foreign object food safety hazards)
  • how you will prevent or manage the hazards
  • what checks and balances you will undertake
  • what records you will keep

The third part describes good hygiene practices. These include staff hygiene, training, maintenance and thermometer calibration, cleaning and sanitising programs, pest control procedures, etc.

In other words, your food safety program should document clearly the procedures and practices within your business (i.e. what you do). Your business will be audited against these procedures and practices.

What to expect from a regulatory food safety auditor

When auditors visit, they must follow a Code of Conduct. You can expect the auditor to be polite and give you feedback about any problems they have identified. If your auditor advises you to do something, they must tell you whether you need to do it to comply with the law, or whether it is good practice. Your auditor should be friendly, approachable, and respectful. The auditor should dress appropriately, listen to you and offer value for money.

Audit Process

Being well prepared will assist both you and the auditor. Before the audit, take the time to read over your food safety plan and ensure that it is up to date. Gather your past 6 to 12 months of records including:

  • council inspection reports,
  • food receival and temperature checks,
  • staff training, cleaning and sanitation, thermometer calibration,pest control,
  • annual review or internal audit.

An audit commences with an ‘entry interview’ and concludes with an ‘exit interview’. During the audit, the auditor will review:

  • the facilities, resources and equipment where you prepare food,
  • your food safety plan and records,
  • how you manage allergens.

Within 5 days of the audit, you will receive a formal audit report including the evidence supporting the auditors’ viewpoint. If any non-conformances are identified you will have 14 days from the audit date to remedy those. You will need to provide the auditor with examples of the corrective actions taken. After 14 days the audit report is sent to your local council.

Food Safety Plus has qualified regulatory food safety auditors that are approved by the health department under the Food Act. We are friendly, approachable and listen to you. We work to develop an ongoing relationship with our clients, with services provided on an agreed schedule that best meets your needs. Contact us for an obligation free quotation.