Food Laws Can Be Daunting For Food Business Managers

by Andrew Thomson on September 19, 2017

Food safety is just as relevant topic today as it was twenty years ago when Australia’s new food policy framework was first unveiled in 1997. So why is it common place for many managers not to proactively engage in food safety and meet food law requirements?

As a consultant and former food regulator I have had many reasons put to me over the years why having knowledge and understanding of food law is not a priority. These include.

  • “Mr Health Inspector you tell me what I need to do”
  • “I am a clinician and when I came into this role, overseeing catering operations was not included in my original position description”
  • “My QA Manager should have reminded me”
  • “I’ve just been promoted into this role”
  • “We have budget issues at the moment”
  • “I rely on my employees to do the right thing. Some will and others don’t listen to me and they do their own thing”
  • “I am too busy”

In adopting this approach, it may lead to the continuation of a lack of food law knowledge and of the risks associated with non-compliance – and the knowledge required to remedy food safety issues.

The role of a manager in encouraging and motivating employees to follow proper practices is critical. This means you need to have a knowledge of food law and a high degree of understanding of food hygiene and food safety to ensure effective control.

One of the tougher challenges facing food operations is the fact that food law can differ between geographical boundaries. Any business operating in more than one state or country needs to address these reporting differences through policy that is developed internally.

Small or medium sized businesses, may find that keeping up to date with new and existing food law requirements is simply unsustainable because of the time, effort and the financial resources that are required.

So what does a company do to keep it all straight and stay abreast of all of the different nuances in legislation? Hire a knowledgeable food consultant as part of your team…

Your food operation should reflect a culture of risk management. Your employees should be actively involved and educating them regularly in addition to keeping them motivated through the implementation of incentives, meeting regulatory compliance will never be a concern.

Visibility into risk is difficult to achieve and unfortunately most food businesses don’t do it well. It’s important to work with knowledgeable food experts who will look at all available risks and provide you with the information you need to make intelligent, informed, risk-based decisions on where and when to commit resources. This will allow you to put appropriate controls in place that assess risk and to identify and classify systems.

One thing is for sure…integration and collaboration is vital.

Developing a plan will help you implement and manage any new laws or changes in existing ones.

Think ST Solutions offers you practical solutions at a management level and to your staff whether you operate in hospitals, aged care facilities, restaurants, hotels or the food industry generally. We specialise in developing useful tools to assist you in the areas of food safety, strategic planning, business management, risk and compliance training and easy to implement business consultancy solutions.

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