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Evaluations: VP Food Safety Scheme

Since March 2009, businesses covered by this Scheme (hospitals, aged care facilities and delivered meal organisations) have received mandatory food safety program audits.

During the first mandatory audits (1 May 2009 to 30 November 2009) the NSW Food Authority undertook an onsite benchmark evaluation of businesses licensed under the Scheme.

The evaluation consisted of:

  • observing onsite practices at first audit
  • assessing the hygiene and safety of food served at first audit
  • analysing audit and compliance data
  • assessing foodborne illness outbreak data linked to vulnerable persons businesses since 2008.

Results summary

  • just over one in five vulnerable persons (VP) businesses failed their first mandatory audit, however after failing, 93% of businesses passed their follow-up audit
  • vulnerable persons businesses earned food safety performance scores that compared favourably with scores from well-established Schemes
  • VP businesses achieved higher first audit pass rates compared with other new Food Safety Schemes (Plants and Plant Products) at first audit
  • facility type (hospital, aged care or delivered meal organisation) had no marked influence on performance scores and audit outcomes
  • 99% of food samples tested were rated as microbiologically acceptable1 , with a small number of ready-to-eat (RTE) meats, commercially prepared cooked desserts and pureed vegetables samples classified as unacceptable or potentially hazardous
  • VP businesses demonstrated improved regulatory compliance and food hygiene over the five year implementation period.

1Samples are considered microbiologically acceptable when they are classified either ‘good’ or ‘acceptable’ when assessed against the Food Authority’s Microbiological quality guide for ready-to-eat (RTE) foods.

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