New food safety laws to protect vulnerable people

Posted by Editorial on 21st August 2008

New food safety standards that will give added protection to people in hospitals and aged care facilities came into effect on 18 August, 2008.The Vulnerable Persons Food Safety Scheme will mean NSW’s 1,300 public and private hospitals and aged care facilities will be required to have mandatory food safety programs.

The new laws, which will protect vulnerable people in the community including seniors and those that are unwell, mean that hospitals and aged-care facilities will be subject to regular food safety audits.

The scheme impacts on businesses such as hospitals, aged care facilities, respite services, same-day aged care services and certain delivered meal organisations such as Meals on Wheels. For example, there will be strict requirements about how different types of food can be handled, prepared, transported and stored to minimise the risk of food poisoning.

All affected vulnerable populations food businesses will need to apply for a NSW Food Authority licence by 18 October 2008.

The Scheme also requires audited food safety programs to be in place.

Audits of impacted businesses will commence from 1 March 2009. Same-day aged care services have extra time to implement their food safety programs and be ready for audit – audits for those services will commence from 1 September 2009.

New resources to help facilities implement the new requirements include:

* Vulnerable Persons Food Safety Scheme Manual explaining the requirements in detail, and;
* licence application and guide to applying for a licence
Details of the scheme and the new resources are available on the NSW Food Authority website.