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NSW Early Childhood Services That Provide Food To Children To Meet New Food Safety Requirements From 8th December 2024

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NSW Early Childhood Services That Provide Food To Children To Meet New Food Safety Requirements From 8th December 2024

Beginning on December 8, 2024, NSW early childhood education and care services that feed children must adhere to new food safety regulations.

The Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code), which lays out the legal requirements for food enterprises operating in those countries, was amended to include the new standards.

The updates are meant to enhance food handlers' abilities and expertise. To keep kids safe, all ECEC programmes that serve food must adhere to the Code's standards.

Who The Requirments Apply To

The newly mandated standards apply to ECEC services that provide ready-to-eat, unpackaged, potentially hazardous food—that is, food that requires temperature regulation to stay safe to consume.

Ready-to-eat foods such as dairy, chopped fruit and vegetables, prepared meat, eggs, shellfish, rice, and pasta are examples of potentially dangerous foods. Foods like bread, biscuits, crackers, crispbreads, raw whole fruit and vegetables, and basic cakes are not seen as potentially dangerous.

The requirements do not apply to services handling food:   

  • supplied by parents   
  • served in its original packaging   
  • as part of an educational program, such as an occasional cooking activity   
  • at a fundraising event.  

What Are The Requirements? 

Under the Code, services must implement 2 or 3 of the following mandatory ‘tools’, based on how they handle food. 

  • Appoint a food safety supervisorExternal link who can oversee day-to-day food handling operations for the service and give advice to employees who handle food. An existing staff member can do the food safety supervisor training with an approved registered training organisation. Certification lasts 5 years.
  • Ensure all staff who handle food are trained in food safety. Services can choose how their staff are trained, but the training must cover safe food handling, food contamination, cleaning and sanitising, and personal hygiene. The NSW Food Authority’s free online Food
  • Handler Basics Training is available to help services meet this obligation.  
  • Show food is safe. Establish processes to monitor and manage key food safety risks related to temperature control, processing, and cleaning and sanitising. 

All ECEC services that serve unpackaged, potentially hazardous food that is ready to eat, must implement tools 1 and 2: appoint a food safety supervisor and ensure all food handlers are trained in food safety and hygiene. This includes services that only provide snacks (if they are unpackaged and potentially hazardous), such as sliced cheese, fruit salad or yoghurt.  

Services that also process – that is, cook, chop, heat or thaw – potentially hazardous food into food that is ready-to-eat and potentially hazardous need to implement all 3 tools. Most services that provide meals to children fit into this category.  

Enhancing Children’s Health and Safety  

The requirements are in place because unpackaged, potentially hazardous food that is ready to eat is high risk and needs careful handling to keep it safe.    

While compliance with food safety by ECEC services has generally been good, there have been foodborne illness outbreaks in facilities in the past 10 years.  

In NSW, local councils inspect ECEC services under the Food Regulation Partnership with the Food Authority. Councils are encouraged to take an educative approach while businesses and services adjust to the new requirements.  

Understanding ECEC Food Safety Requirements, NSW Government 

Last modified on Saturday, May 25, 2024
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