An abundance of wholesome, safe, food is part of our lifestyle in Queensland. Safe Food's job is to protect and promote confidence in the safety and standard applied by over 8,000 business that supply this food every day across the Sunshine State.
Although Safe Food has a regulatory role in checking standards along the food supply chain, the focus for Safe Food is to optimise the benefit of the investment in food safety and quality systems from paddock to plate. This means benefits to each business, each industry sector and to the consumer. The importance of food standards as a platform for differentiating products in both the domestic and export markets is growing. Safe Food has responded to this fact by developing innovative, responsive and more cost effective ways of getting the results needed to keep confidence in our food supply at a high level.
After more than ten years involvement with the meat, seafood, egg, poultry meat and dairy sectors, Safe Food has a wealth of experience and knowledge about what works in terms of effective food safety controls.
Safe Food has used this experience to change the whole approach to regulating compliance with food safety regulation to recognise the individual capability of businesses to meet and, in most cases, exceed the minimum standards that are required to protect the public from food borne illness events.
The 2014 approach to regulation adopted by Safe Food assumes that, based on past record and surveillance information already available to Safe Food, a business holding an accreditation will be able to readily demonstrate compliance without the need for repeat visits by a regulator.
Audits of food business have been reduced in favour of proactive exchange of information with each business about trends in food safety (good and bad) and discussions about notifications that may indicate a potential food safety issue.
An assessment of the awareness of, provision for and commitment to food safety by each business is then made using simple criteria starting with the practices in the business that support food safety. This approach can save the business resources (e.g. financial, human and time), but is dependent upon how the business responds to this interaction. Online access will be provided to businesses which will outline their responses and assessment results and Safe Food would encourage those businesses to take advantage of this information by showing it to their customers.
If there are issues, Safe Food has the capability to deal with any threat to food safety in a way that is proportionate to the risk involved and achieves an immediate level of protection for the consumer. For this reason Safe Food maintains a range of tools that support our ability to quickly and decisively respond to the rare food related events that may pose a threat to public health or safety.
Prior warning systems are also in place that enable Safe Food and the food industry to detect emerging issues and take decisive steps to prevent an adverse impact in the market place.
This collaborative approach replaces, as of now, the 'one size fits all' approach that required each business to be audited at least once a year by Safe Food or another food safety regulator.
More details about this important change in approach can be found in our Strategic Plan 2014-2018.
Please read the Plan and give us your feedback.
Results of this approach will also be available on our website, so watch this space as we move further from the paper based 'tick and flick' approach to the people based approach to food safety compliance.