When running a restaurant, cafe or a bar that serves food, it is important to maintain high food standards by ensuring your staff is following safe food handling procedures.

If you live within NSW, VIC, QLD or the ACT, Food Safety Supervisors (FSS) are a legal requirement for your hospitality business. The purpose of appointing a FSS is to prevent food related risks by ensuring that staff are following proper food handling and preparation guidelines.

To maintain your restaurant’s compliance with the relevant codes and legislation, you should contact a business lawyer. Due to the law differing between state and territories it is important to know what is required of your restaurant.

What is a Food Safety Supervisor?

A qualified Food Safety Supervisor is someone who is employed at your business and:

  • Is trained to recognise and prevent risks that are associated with food handling and preparation;
  • Has completed a FFS training course and holds a current FSS certificate, no older than 5 years;
  • Is not a FSS at any other food premises; and
  • Has the capacity to train and supervise other employees in your business about safe food handling practices.

Having a FSS will ensure that your food stays at a safe quality for your patrons, protecting them from food poisoning and your business from liability and a bad reputation.

Who can be a Food Safety Supervisor?

The FSS of a business is nominated by the business owner and can be any of the following, granted that they have completed the above criteria:

  • The business owner;
  • A manager;
  • An employee, such as the chef; or
  • An external contractor.

For small businesses, it is preferable that the business owner is the appointed FSS, but you can have more than one FSS at a premises.

Does a Food Safety Supervisor have to be present at all times?

While it would be appropriate to have a FSS on site at all times, the business can still practice food safety in their absence. This can be achieved by:

  • Educating staff on safe food handling procedures;
  • Creating signage within the premises to remind and encourage safe food handling; and
  • Creating procedures that are easy to follow and lead to safe food handling by all staff.

It is worth noting, before opening the doors of your restaurant, cafe or bar, you will need an appointed and certified FSS. Additionally, if your only FSS leaves the business, you typically have 30 business days to appoint and train a replacement.

Conclusion

While the FSS is there to ensure that correct food handling procedures are being adhered to, it is the responsibility of all staff to handle food safely. As a business owner, it is important to make sure your restaurant, cafe or bar is complying with the Food Standards Code as well as any other relevant legal requirements as you, and not the FSS, will be liable for any breaches.

If you are unsure that your restaurant is meeting these legal requirements with your FSS or would like legal advice about your business, get in touch with a business lawyer.

Logan Tennyson

Logan is a Paralegal working in our content team, which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. With a passion for commercial and media law, his research explores how the law is adapting to emerging technologies and how this affects consumers and businesses alike.