Council supports an active and healthy community. Sport, recreation and community facilities are a vital ingredient of any vibrant community. Recent restrictions on social gatherings have presented challenges for us all but particularly for organisations whose very existence revolves around community members meeting together with a shared purpose and interest.
As a result of the lifting restrictions we are looking forward to your community organisation reopening for business. One aspect of welcoming back the community to your facility, relates to the preparing and serving of safe food.
To help you do that successfully Council has prepared the following information to support your organisation in preparing and serving safe food.
Restarting my kitchen
Checking that stored food and beverages are not contaminated nor past use by dates is an important first step. Check for signs of possible pest infestation and thoroughly clean and sanitise preparation benches and utensils. Also check that any electrical equipment used for food preparation is in a good state of repair and working order.
The state government has prepared a lot of good information to support the food industry in opening up after COVID-19 – and even though your organisation may not legally be required to develop plans or complete documentation the COVID-19 Safe checklist for restaurants and cafes could be used by your team for guidance on getting things restarted. Additionally a generic voluntary COVID-19 safe checklist is available for assessing the general suitability of a food service related workplace.
While a number of community groups don’t require a food licence to sell food, all food businesses must have management practices in place to ensure they provide safe and suitable food. Community groups that are non-profit organisations only require a food licence when they serve sit down meals more than 12 times a year.
Volunteers who work in the kitchen must know how to handle food safely, because food that is mishandled can cause harm. All volunteers need to know about their roles in transporting, preparing and serving food safely. Make sure all persons working in food service know the food safety essentials. The person in charge of the kitchen will need to have a more detailed knowledge of food safety controls.
While community groups are driven by a volunteering spirit, when it comes to food safety more than just a willing worker is required. Basic skills and knowledge about food safety are essential in a kitchen.
Council has a range of information to support food handlers in developing basic skills. This free information is in the form of facts sheets and videos in a range of languages. A free online food safety training course is available where participants who complete the training achieve a certificate of completion. All food handlers in your organisation are encouraged to complete the course.
Ensure to keep a record of the food safety training completed by your volunteers. Above all, providing training to food handlers is an important part of meeting your responsibilities when serving food.
Where a lessee has a food licence issued under the Food Act they are required to nominate a food safety supervisor. This person has food safety skills and can take responsibility of key decisions about the handling, preparation and serving of food.
Food safety is important regardless of whether it’s at you home, at your local restaurant or at your community club. Food safety training and good management practices, for example keeping records of food deliveries, make everyone involved in preparing and serving food more aware of how their individual actions can contribute to good food safety outcomes.
How do your current practices stack up? If you want assistance in reviewing your current practices Council EHOs (Environmental Health Officers) are available to meet your organisation on site and provide education and advice. Alternatively have a look at the range of checklists and record templates on the web site which have been designed for your immediate use. Good management practices are an important part of meeting your responsibilities when serving food.
In some circumstances a temporary food stall at a community event can be a great opportunity to promote your club or raise funds. A lot of helpful information on setting up and operating a temporary food stall can be found on Council’s website
If you hold a licence to prepare and sell food you will be aware of Council’s Eat Safe Logan food safety rating scheme. Eat Safe Logan means all licenced food outlets are issued with a star rating based on the assessment conducted by Council. Eat Safe Logan is a system to promote food safety. The five-star rating system aims to encourage food businesses to maintain high food safety standards. Food businesses that achieve a three-star rating and above have met the Food Act 2006 and Food Safety Standards.