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Food Service – Best Practice In Food Safety

by Andrew Thomson on September 3, 2021

As published in Australian Hospital & Healthcare Bulletin.


Is your food safe by good luck or good management?

Across food service there is a reliance on government food regulatory authorities for advice and information to help manage food safety within their food business. These operations take advantage of a government template to develop a food safety program but fail to customise it to reflect food handling activities within their business. This puts a foodservice operation at risk.

Fresh thinking and approaches will deliver best practice results and better management of risk.

Leadership

The best food service operations will have Chief Executive commitment. This commitment is visible and active with a high standard food safety management policy. Chief Executives are familiar with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety management systems and have a solid understanding of food law requirements as they are ultimately responsible for food safety management.

The operating system is supported with the appropriate policies and procedures as part of a risk-based approach to food safety management.

Senior leaders are inspirational and adopt inclusive approaches; they are a reliable source of food safety information for the Chief Executive and customers; keep the trust of food regulators and accreditation assessors; earn the confidence of clients; and are  a catalyst to improve food safety across the organisation.

A food service business is accountable for fully implementing the food safety management system and continuously seeks ways to improve. Food handling employees (and leaders) are responsible for implementing the food safety policies, procedures, and continuous improvement in these areas.

Employee learning

The best foodservice operations demonstrate they have well developed strategies for employee learning that are aligned to organisational objectives, including a learning management framework to achieve a skilled and capable workforce (read my previous article Achieving a skilled foodservice workforce).

Best practice food operations have started with:

  • ensuring management and employee commitment and accountability
  • considering organisation priorities, policies and methods for allocating resources for delivering performance and learning and incorporating these into training programs
  • ensuring training is aimed at the employees’ level of understanding and education
  • incorporating hands-on training, so the individual can see what needs to be done and then do it themselves
  • incorporating informal learning strategies to build employee skills
  • providing ongoing support for all employees   

Learning is viewed positively when it translates into practical skills on the job. When people develop confidence, they automatically become proactive and solutions-focused and this has a positive flow-on effect on all employees across the team.

Risk monitoring and reporting

The best foodservice operations have an effective monitoring and reporting process for managing operational risk. There is judicious reporting of key information on all aspects of food safety management to senior leaders and the board of directors to support proactive management of risks.

Customer satisfaction

The best foodservice operations know the importance of obtaining information on customer satisfaction: measurement, analysis and improvement. Leaders study the results on all feedback and evaluations as they understand this is vital information on business performance.

The way forward

The best food operations will far exceed minimal government standards, will proactively test to verify their food safety systems are working, will transparently publicise those results and will brag about their excellence in food safety by marketing so consumers can choose safe food (Dr Doug Powell).

What’s in it for you?

  • Confidence in knowing your food is safe
  • Control over food safety
  • Growing customer confidence
  • Marketing edge over competitors
  • Save time, money and worry by detecting problems early
  • There will be no ‘surprises’

Want further advice? Contact Andrew Thomson on 0422285720 or email info@thinkstsolutions.com.au