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Faith Based Food Safety Management Systems

by Andrew Thomson on March 24, 2020

Food safety has traditionally been faith-based – especially when it comes to many residential aged care facilities. Now this trend has crept into health care.

When it comes to food and the safety of your customers a more in-depth approach to training and compliance procedures is required and this needs to avoid a ‘tick box’ mentality.

Regulatory expectations are high.

Sadly, there have been several food safety incidents in recent years which have led to tragic consequences.

What are the risks….

Management puts their faith in an ‘inhouse professional’ to get the food safety system right – these individuals are working outside of their professional discipline and area of expertise.

Putting your faith in professionals without any, or minimal food safety training and experience, to develop a food safety management system is a bad idea.

These well-meaning professionals rely on a copy and paste approach from another organisation’s food safety system and other related documents in the hope of getting it right.

The completed documented system is then handed over to operational employees in the kitchen to manage but they too have not received appropriate training.

All too often the documented Food Safety Management System will be stored away until the next regulatory audit – something I have witnessed first-hand.

The way forward….

Australian food law requires aged care and health care operations serving food to vulnerable populations to have a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) Food Safety Management System. This system is a living, breathing, management tool which details food handling practices within your operation – it must be site specific.

There a range of other legislative and food safety policy measures you must be aware of.

Implementation measures (and these are largely overlooked) must be considered to bring about effective change. 

It is essential that there is commitment and an effective monitoring, oversight and a reporting process which is essential for adequately managing operational risk.

Forget faith-based food safety.

Modern business practices requires managers overseeing food services operations to take a fresh perspective to better control food safety risks in a more efficient and effective manner, it then enables more informed business decisions to be made.

Food Safety Management Systems requires the input of many different components. One of the most important of those is the implementation of sound business practices which includes having access to up-to-date information from industry experts.

The safety of your customers must be of paramount importance. So too is brand protection and reputation.


In a HelloCare article Almost half of site audits reveal failure to comply with quality standards (March 17, 2020),it was reported that the most common unmet standards were risk management…. and governance.

Image Amanda Kelly Photography

Have you seen our first Fact Sheet on this topic? Contact Andrew Thomson or mobile 0422285720.

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