Food safety supervisor
From December 2023, certain food services, caterers and retail businesses must appoint at least one Food Safety Supervisor (FSS).
The role of the FSS is to minimise the risk of customers becoming ill from food because of incorrect food handling. The FSS provides expertise and guidance to food handlers in the business by identifying and implementing procedures to address food safety risks.
Does my business need a Food Safety Supervisor?
The Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) requirement applies to businesses who handle and sell food that is:
- unpackaged (at some stage while under the business’ control)
- potentially hazardous (must be stored under temperature control for safety)
- ready-to-eat (does not need further processing, such as heating or cooling, before being consumed)
- sold direct to the customer (or another business) for immediate consumption.
Businesses that only handle food for (or at) a fundraising event are not required to have an FSS.
Examples of businesses that generally need an FSS are:
- takeaway shops
- market stalls and food vans
- seafood retailers
This is not a comprehensive list. The food handling activities that a business undertakes determines if an FSS is required, not the business type.
An Environmental Health Officer at your local council will tell you if your business must appoint an FSS.
Appointing a Food Safety Supervisor
From 8 December 2023, a business that is required to appoint a Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) must do so before undertaking high risk food handling.
The FSS must
- be trained to recognise and manage food safety risks,
- have completed Food Safety Supervisor training with a Registered Training Organisation in the last 5 years,
- have the authority and ability to advise and supervise other food handlers, and
- work on the premises and be involved in the day-to-day food handling operations of the business.
The FSS may be the business owner, manager, food handler or another person who meets the above criteria.
Businesses must appoint at least one FSS but can choose to have more than one FSS (for example, to cover shift work and leave). Businesses with several premises are encouraged to have at least one FSS per site. If only one FSS is appointed to multiple sites, they must be ‘reasonably available’ at each site.
If the appointed FSS leaves the business, the business has 30 days to appoint a new eligible staff member as the FSS.
The FSS doesn't always have to be on the premises when high risk food is being handled. The business must always maintain food safety, even when the FSS is off-site (including rostered days off and planned and unplanned leave). Some ways that the business and FSS can plan for this include
- sharing food safety knowledge with other staff to build on their existing skills and knowledge,
- displaying signage and posters with key food safety messages,
- developing work instructions or standard operating procedures that staff can follow, and/or
- being contactable by phone.
The intended outcome is that food handlers are adequately supervised by a trained and competent supervisor, and systems are in place to ensure food safety when the FSS is not onsite.
Food Safety Supervisor training
The Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) must complete training:
- with a Registered Training Organisation
- in nationally recognised units of competency
- every 5 years.
Registered Training Organisation (RTO)
FSS training must be completed with an RTO. An RTO is an organisation accredited through the Australian Skills Quality Authority (such as TAFE colleges, schools and colleges, and private training providers).
A specific FSS certificate is not required. A Statement of Attainment/certificate from an RTO that shows you have completed the required units in the last 5 years is adequate.
Units of competency
The following national units of competency (or their equivalent superseded units) are required for FSS training:
- Two hospitality units, OR
- One retail unit, OR
- Three community services and health industries units
Businesses should choose the unit type that is most relevant to their business type. For example, hospitality would be more relevant for an FSS at a restaurant or café but retail would be more relevant for an FSS at a delicatessen. However, any of the unit types are acceptable.
These units can be delivered as stand-along short courses or within longer courses (for example, Certificate III in Hospitality).
- SITXFSA005 – Use hygienic practices for food safety (previously SITXFSA001) and
- SITXFSA006 – Participate in safe food handling practices (previously SITXFSA002)
Some RTOs offer the two hospitality units together as one unit (Food Safety Supervision Skill Set SITSS00069, previously SITSS00051).
- SIRRFSA001 – Handle food safely in a retail environment
Community Services and Health Industries units
- HLTFSE001 – Follow basic food safety practices AND
- HLTFSE005 – Apply and monitor food safety requirements AND
- HLTFSE007 – Oversee the day-to-day implementation of food safety in the workplace
Some RTOs offer the three community services and health industries units together as one unit (Food Safety Supervision Skill Set – for community services and health industries HLTSS00061).
Choosing a Registered Training Organisation and training courses
Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) training can generally be completed in one to two full days. Contact an RTO directly to learn more about what they offer and find the best training option for you. Useful things to ask about include
- courses offered
- course format (such as face-to-face or online)
- other services (such as support for literacy or languages other than English)
TasTAFE is an RTO offering FSS training in Tasmania in a mixed format (online with face-to-face assessment).
Alternatively, search for training courses or RTOs via the National Training Register.
What if I've already completed training or have done other food safety training?
If you have completed the required units of competency (or their equivalent superseded units) with an RTO in the last 5 years, your training is acceptable. For example, a person who completed SITXFSA001 and SITXFSA002 in November 2019 has a valid Statement of Attainment/certificate up until November 2024.
If you have completed other food safety training, you can contact an RTO to discuss whether your prior learning is fully, or partially, recognised.
- Previous training, knowledge and experience may be recognised.
- Some Tasmanian Year 11 and 12 hospitality courses can be counted towards the required units of competency. You can find out by checking the course codes and checking that your school is an RTO.
An FSS must be able to show their current Statement of Attainment/certificate to a local council Environmental Health Officer when requested so it is best to keep a copy at the premises.
FSS training must occur at least every 5 years. Some RTOs offer refresher courses (recertification) but others only offer full FSS courses.
When a Statement of Attainment/certificate expires, the business has 30 days for the existing FSS to retrain or to appoint another eligible staff member as the FSS.
Food Safety Supervisor requirements for businesses
Steps for business and Food Safety Supervisors (FSS) are:
- The business determines if it needs an FSS
- The business chooses an FSS
- The chosen FSS completes training with an RTO in the required units of competency
- The FSS keeps a copy of their Statement of Attainment/certificate on the premises
- The FSS supervises food handling at the business
- After 5 years, the FSS retrains or the business appoints a new eligible FSS.
How will compliance with the Food Safety Supervisor requirement be monitored?
From December 2023, Environmental Health Officers at your local council will monitor your business’ compliance with the FSS requirements during routine food safety inspections.
The FSS requirement is part of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (Standard 3.2.2A) adopted automatically in Tasmania under the Food Act (2003).
Contact your local council Environmental Health Officer or a food safety officer at the Department of Health.
Phone: 1800 671 738
Email: [email protected]