The Food act 1984 requires that all Victorian Councils carry out proactive food safety surveillance through food sampling. Each year the Department of Health and Human Services determine how many samples each Council needs to take based on the number and type of registered premises within each municipality. Moreland is generally required to take around 260 food samples, ~200 from Class 2 businesses and ~60 from Class 1 premises.
We use a risk-based approach when selecting the most appropriate types of food to sample and analyse. For example, in Class 1 premises such as aged care facilities we have a keen interest in vitamised foods due to the risk associated with contamination. In Class 2 businesses we will generally focus on high risk ingredients like raw egg or high-risk processes like sous vide and hot holding.
Every year, our team of Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) visit various types of food premises from restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, convenience stores as well as high risk settings where food is catered to the vulnerable person such as hospitals and aged care facilities.
Foods collected by EHOs are delivered to an approved laboratory that run a variety of tests to identify if the food complies with the Food Safety Standards and is safe, suitable and appropriately labelled. The test results are used to educate and inform food businesses about safe food handling processes.
So far this year our team of EHOs have taken 107 food samples. Only 2 of these samples have failed to meet the requirements of the food safety standards. This translates to a 98% success rate which is a great reflection of the standards maintained by our food businesses. The business responsible for the two failed samples was provided with education and guidance by the area EHO. Follow up sampling at this business has shown that their new process are now producing safe and suitable food.
So, to all of you handling food out there, please give yourself a pat on the shoulder and be proud of this excellent achievement. Well done!