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Guide for businesses

The role of a Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) is to minimise the risk of customers becoming ill from food poisoning because of incorrect handling and preparation of food. The FSS provides expertise and guidance to food handlers in the business by identifying and implementing procedures to address food safety risks in their business.

Statistics show that incorrect food handling practices in retail food businesses account for more than 1/3 of foodborne illness outbreaks in NSW, costing the community hundreds of millions of dollars each year in healthcare and lost revenue.

Appointing an FSS gives food businesses a better level of onsite protection for food safety and gives consumers peace-of-mind when dining out or buying food in NSW.

Businesses affected

The FSS requirement applies to retail businesses who process and sell food (prepare and serve) that is:

  • ready-to-eat, i.e. served for immediate consumption without the need for the customer to heat or cool the product
  • potentially hazardous, i.e. must be stored under temperature control to prevent microbiological growth, and
  • unpackaged, i.e. not sold and served in the supplier's original package.

Examples of businesses* include restaurants, cafés, takeaway shops, caterers, bakeries, pubs, clubs, hotels and supermarket hot food sales.

* Note
This is not a comprehensive list. Businesses providing accommodation, entertainment or other services that also serve food captured in the definition above would also fall under the FSS legislation. For example, B & B’s, motels, hotels and entertainment venues.

Exempt businesses

The FSS requirement does not apply to businesses licensed by the NSW Food Authority.

Nor does it apply to:

  • coffee vendors that only heat milk
  • not-for-profit community and charitable causes
  • school canteens (primary or secondary)
  • boarding schools
  • children's service (childcare centres)
  • out of school hours care services
  • correctional centres
  • supermarkets (if heated food is not sold)
  • food business premises that only do one or more of the following activities only:
    • slice fermented meats or smallgoods, or both
    • slice or portion cheese, or both
    • process raw seafood
    • slice or portion fruit or vegetables, or both.

FSS recertification training

FSS certificates expire 5 years from the date of issue.

When an FSS holder’s certification expires, a food business has 30 days to ensure:

  1. Another eligible staff member with a current qualification is appointed as the FSS
  2. The person with the expired FSS completes a recertification course within 30 working days

Some RTOs approved by the Food Authority have developed recertification courses. These are only available to persons who have already been awarded a NSW FSS. The aim of these courses is to provide key updates to certificate holders, while recognising existing skills and knowledge. These courses are time limited and may only be offered up to 90 days after the expiry date for a previous FSS certificate. After this time, the entire course must be re-completed to attain certification.

Guideline document

The Guideline to Food Safety Supervisor Requirements is a simple ‘how to’ guide on complying with FSS legislation.