This Proposal is currently on-hold pending the outcome of a review of the Ministerial Policy Guidelines for Food Safety Management in Australia.
In May 2004, in accordance with advice from the Ministerial Council in the Ministerial Policy Guidelines for Food Safety Management in Australia FSANZ prepared Proposal P290 Food Safety Programs for Catering Operations to the General Public. It was proposed that catering businesses in Australia must comply with Standard 3.2.1 Food Safety Programs in Chapter 3 of the Food Standards Code.
FSANZ established an Advisory Group to assist in the standard development process. The group consists of representatives from consumers, the food service industry and Commonwealth and State and Territory governments who provide advice on, and insight into, the operations of the catering industry and its current food safety management.
In May 2004, an Initial Assessment Report was released which provided the first opportunity for stakeholders to comment on and supply information and data to FSANZ regarding the proposed mandatory application of Standard 3.2.1 to catering operations serving food to the general public.
As well as providing background into the regulatory framework for the Proposal, for example, the background to Chapter 3 of the Food Standards Code and the Ministerial Policy Guidelines, the Report provided details on the rationale for mandating Standard 3.2.1, including the scientific assessment and cost/benefit analyses provided by the National Risk Validation Project and the Allen Report. This was also an opportunity for stakeholders to provide additional information relevant to the scientific justification to require food safety programs for the catering sector.
The comments received on this Report identified issues that were difficult to resolve. Examples of these issues were clarification of the specific types of food businesses that the standard would apply to and how restaurant-type businesses would be excluded. FSANZ received advice on these issues from the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) in late 2005.
Subsequently, FSANZ spent considerable time, in consultation with members of the Advisory Group and State and Territory governments, addressing outstanding issues with this Proposal so that a draft standard could be prepared for public consultation. The proposed draft standard and accompanying Draft Assessment Report were available for public comment until March 2008.
In May 2009, the Ministerial Council agreed in-principle to review its policy guideline on food safety management in Australia. Consequently, FSANZ decided to defer finalising the catering standard and to wait for the outcomes of the review. In October 2009, the Ministerial Council agreed that the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) would undertake the review in accordance with an agreed Terms of Reference and the Ministerial Council’s Principles and Protocols for the Development of Food Regulation Policy Guidelines. This document and information on consultation of proposed policy guidance will be available on the Food Regulation Secretariat website www.foodsecretariat.health.gov.au .
Updated February 2010