Standard 3.3.1 – Food Safety Programs for Food Service to Vulnerable Persons
What is this standard?
Standard 3.3.1 is one of the national food safety standards in Chapter 3 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) that outline the responsibilities of food businesses to ensure that the food they produce is safe. The standard applies to Australian food businesses that provide meals for vulnerable people in our community who are at greater risk of foodborne illness, such as the very young, the elderly and people who are immunocompromised because of disease or treatment. Standard 3.3.1 requires such businesses to have a documented food safety program.
This standard was developed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), working closely with the Australian, State and Territory governments, the food industry and consumers.
Please note that this standard does not apply to businesses in New Zealand.
Which businesses are required to comply with this standard?
This standard applies to food businesses involved in food processing and service to vulnerable persons. A vulnerable person is defined as a person who receives care from one of the facilities listed in the standard or is a client of a delivered meals organisation. The facilities listed in the standard include:
- hospital facilities including acute care, psychiatric, hospice, chemotherapy and renal dialysis facilities;
- aged care facilities including nursing homes, respite care, same day aged care and low care aged care facilities;
- child care facilities, including long day care, occasional day care and employer sponsored child care (does not include family day care).
The application of the standard to food businesses, however, depends on a number of criteria, including the number of people to be served (six or more), the principal activity of the business and whether the food is potentially hazardous and ready-to-eat.
Are all businesses that process and serve food for vulnerable people required to comply with the standard?
No. The following businesses are not required to have a food safety program under this standard:
- Businesses which process or serve food for five or less clients/patients at any given time;
- Businesses which only process or serve non-potentially hazardous foods – for example they only serve tea or coffee with biscuits;
- Businesses that prepare food that is not ready-to eat – for example they only provide ingredients or foods that are to undergo further processing, such as cooking;
- Businesses that principally prepare food for the general community but which may also prepare food for vulnerable people;
- Delivered meals organisations that only deliver food.
If you are not sure whether your business will need a food safety program contact your State or Territory government office.