New safety rules on way for local food businesses

Date published: 9 May 2023

Food businesses in Townsville are getting an early start on new food preparation standards.

The updated requirements from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) coming into force in December 2023 will apply to businesses in the food service, catering and retail sectors that handle unpackaged and potentially hazardous food that is ready-to-eat.

FSANZ has updated the Food Safety Standards to incorporate the new Food Safety Management Tools 3.2.2A standard.

The changes to the standard complement food safety practices already required within food businesses, with the new provisions strengthening food safety practices around staff training and record keeping.

Based on their items for sale, businesses affected by the new standard will implement either two or three food safety management tools, and Council is helping them stay up to date and comply before the new standards are introduced on 8 December 2023.

Community Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability Committee chairperson Maurie Soars said Council was committed to helping local businesses manage these changes.

“There are changes required for food businesses to comply with these updated food standard codes and Council will work with local businesses to help with the transition,” Cr Soars said.

“Council is now sending out an advisory letter to all businesses who will be impacted by these changes.

“We will also include information on these changes in our Food for Thought newsletter which is sent to subscribed business every three months.

“When businesses renew their licence before September, they’ll also be reminded about the new standards coming into effect.”

Council will also hold information sessions with businesses, with dates to be advertised.

“As part of the work Council does with routine and random food safety inspections, our aim is to give food businesses a heads up on the changes so that, come December 8, they are ready to go,” Cr Soars said.

Council has subscribed to an online I'M ALERT Food Safety program that enables food handlers to complete training for free.

By completing this interactive program, food handlers gain improved skills and knowledge that will enhance their business’s food safety practices.

For more information, visit the Food Handler Training page or call 13 48 10.

Food safety fast facts 2022:

  • Number of routine inspections completed – 950
  • Number of re-inspections completed – 162
  • Number of inspections completed for a new licence application – 189