Food safety standards with obligations for Australian food businesses to produce food that is safe and suitable to eat are undergoing a couple of changes, according to Food Standards for Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ). FSANZ is reviewing the new version of Safe Food Australia because of changes involving shopping trolleys (carts) and companion dogs. The review period extends to Sept. 18, 2015. The changes will involve three standards in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code: Interpretations and Application, Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, and Food Premises and Equipment. “The food safety standards replaced existing state and territory food hygiene regulations in August 2000,” according to FSANZ. “Their adoption in the Food Standards Code represented the first time that Australia agreed to nationally consistent requirements for food safety practices and food premises and equipment.” “During development of the standards, which are described as outcome-based, there was strong support for a guidance document to be written in support of their implementation,” the FSANZ announcement continues. “The food hygiene regulations that these standards replaced were highly prescriptive. There was a concern that the outcomes-based food standards could be interpreted inconsistently across jurisdictions.” Safe Food Australia was to provide explanations in plain language, show how requirements are applied, and help businesses and enforcement agencies understand and comply with the requirements. The changes include shopping trolleys as vehicles used to transport food, and allow companion dogs in the outdoor dining areas of food businesses. Comments are also accepted on other areas and areas requiring stakeholder review. Food businesses in New Zealand are required to comply with New Zealand’s Food Act of 1981 and regulations adopted under that act. FSANZ has developed separate standards for food businesses in both countries involved in preliminary food production and processing. Some charity and community groups, temporary events and home-based businesses are exempt from the food safety standards. Those entities are being told to contact local enforcement authorities for further information.
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