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Food Laws Can Be Daunting For Aged Care

by Andrew Thomson on August 7, 2018


If you manage the kitchens operations of an aged care facility, then the area of food safety should be of prime concern to you.

One of the tougher challenges facing aged care operations is understanding food law requirements and knowing that food law can differ between state borders (i.e. Food Safety Supervisor, washing and sanitising of vegetables). Any aged care organisation operating in more than one state needs to address these reporting differences through policy that is developed internally.

For a small or medium sized operation, they may find that keeping up to date with new and existing legal requirements is simply unsustainable because of the time, effort and the financial resources that are required.

So what does an aged care operation 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 operation should reflect a culture of risk management. Your employees must form a large part of this equation and by getting them involved and educating them regularly and keeping them motivated through the implementation of incentives for meeting regulatory compliance will give you peace of mind.

When dealing with high risk products, you need to be able to clearly view everything that contributes to the risk equation. Effective risk management depends on real-time, end-to-end knowledge of everything in the risk equation. Only when you have this awareness can your operation begin to effectively understand risk and optimise controls to mitigate it.

A team member who understands your day to day operations and challenges that you experience in your production can help determine a clear path to understanding what you need to be concerned about and why.

Most aged care operations currently deal with so many situations on a day to day basis that involve:

  • Lack of skilled kitchen employees
  • Lack of time
  • Lack of experience
  • Lack of access to information, mostly due to confusion of existing laws and relevance
  • Lack of knowledge and poor awareness of the relevance of legislation to their operations

Having a vision to forecast risk is difficult to achieve and unfortunately many aged care operations 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 controls in place that evaluate threats and assess risk, identify and classify systems, and prevent exploitation of vulnerabilities by health officials.

Integration and collaboration are vital. Small to medium aged care operations who have the potential to grow will do so with the right controls in place that will help them stay ahead of any threats. Developing a plan will help you implement and manage any new laws.

Join Cherie Hugo at an upcoming workshop Food Safety in Aged Care in Sydney.

What is your biggest food safety challenge? Contact Andrew Thomson