In 2007 the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) endorsed the Risk Profiling Framework (the Framework) as the nationally-agreed tool for risk profiling. The Framework is designed to provide a nationally agreed approach for government to classify business types on the basis of food safety risk. Its use is science-based and transparent, reflecting risks inherent to the product/process, the potential of controlling the risks, as well as a measure of the association of the risk with past food borne illness outbreak information.
In 2009, FRSC commissioned an independent team of food safety experts (led by the Food Safety Centre, University of Tasmania) to use the Framework to classify 32 business types throughout the supply chain.
At its September 2009 meeting FRSC agreed that policy issues about use of the Framework should be considered by the Policy Guideline review and identified four policy and implementation issues about maintenance of the Framework for action following the review, namely:
- maintaining currency;
- addressing technical issues and challenges;
- housing the Framework; and
- industry consultation and public disclosure.
The Food Safety Management Policy Options Consultation Paper (Consultation Paper) explains FRSC’s work to date on risk profiling.
Following the consultation period for the Consultation Paper it was found that stakeholders generally supported use of the classifications to guide and inform risk anagement.
Given this stakeholder support, FRSC has agreed that the Food Safety Management Working Group will now proceed to finalise the classifications of the eight retail/food service business types through consultation with relevant industry sectors focussed on identifying and resolving any technical challenges to the classifications and underpinning reasoning in the report.
In 2009, an independent team of food safety experts led by the University of Tasmania’s Food Safety Centre, was commissioned to classify 32 business types throughout the food supply chain using the science-based national Risk Profiling Framework. Each business type was given a risk classification under the four-tier model between Priority 1 and Priority 4.
In 2011, the Department of Health and Ageing finalised the classification process for eight of the 32 business types. Relevant industry sectors were consulted and stakeholders were asked to identify technical issues (none were identified).
The eight classified business types are:
- Retail: Bakery products, e.g. pastries with potentially hazardous fillings
- Retail: Delicatessen products
- Retail: Perishable, ready-to-eat, packaged food
- Retail: Seafood products
- Food service: On-site catering activity but will not be subject to the proposed Catering Standard due to event size and frequency
- Food service: Off-site catering activity but will not be subject to the proposed Catering Standard due to frequency
- Food service: Food is prepared express order
- Food service: Ready-to-eat food is prepared in advance
These eight business types fall within the scope of the Ministerial Policy Guideline on Food Safety Management for General Food Service and Closely Related Retail Sectors (2012) recently agreed by the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation (now known as the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation). All were assigned classifications in the two highest risk categories (Priority 1 and 2) and their classification outcomes (including the rationale derived from the decision trees) will inform the implementation of the Policy Guideline.
The Risk Profiling Framework (including the classification process) was developed to achieve expert consensus on the food safety risk profile of key food business sectors and to inform risk management options.
However, the Framework is not intended to determine what policy or regulatory initiatives should be implemented. A broader range of factors must be taken into account when determining policy initiatives for the retail/food service sector, as outlined in the Ministerial Policy Guideline.