Employees in the Health & Community sector frequently prepare or serve food to vulnerable persons (also referred to as ‘high-risk groups’).
Vulnerable persons include:
- babies and young children
- pregnant women
- the elderly
- sick people
- immunocompromised people
The consequences of poor food handling skills or poor hygiene in a health and community environment can be dire.
To minimise the risks associated with food-borne illness and other health risks, it’s important that everyone who handles food in the Heath & Community sector receives relevant training to:
- meet food safety training requirements and industry standards; and
- to protect the people who are most at risk of food-borne illness.
What are the risks?
Vulnerable persons are more likely to contract a food-borne illness and to suffer with more serious symptoms or complications.
Vulnerable persons are also far more likely to die from a food-borne infection than the average healthy person.
Some food-borne infections pose a more significant risk to one vulnerable group over another. For example, listeriosis — the food-borne disease caused by an infection with Listeria monocytogenes — is especially dangerous for pregnant women.
Listeriosis in pregnant women can cause:
- premature birth
- fatal infections in newborns
Even if the mother experiences no symptoms of food poisoning, Listeria monocytogenes can be spread from mother to unborn child.
Of course, listeriosis can also prove to be deadly for other vulnerable groups or even in healthy people, and many food-borne infections can be fatal for vulnerable persons.
Types of food safety training for the Health & Community sector
There are two main types of food safety training for the Health & Community sector:
FOOD SAFETY SUPERVISOR TRAINING
Most food businesses and organisations in Australia must have at least one Food Safety Supervisor who has obtained the relevant units of competency for their food sector (also referred to as ‘food industry’) on staff at all times.
The AIFS Food Safety Supervisor course for the Health & Community sector covers fundamental food safety concepts and knowledge, as well as specific requirements related to:
- implementing food safety
- managing Food Safety Programs
- monitoring and controlling food safety
Upon completion of the lessons and activities, a nominated observer completes an industry-specific Observer Report to verify the Food Safety Supervisor has demonstrated the necessary skills required to manage food safety in a health and community environment.
Upon completion of the Food Safety Supervisor course for the Health & Community sector, students are awarded with a Statement of Attainment listing the units of competency they have earned.
The units of competency for the Health & Community Food Safety Supervisor qualification are:
- HLTFSE001 - Follow basic food safety practices
- HLTFSE005 - Apply and monitor food safety requirements
- HLTFSE007 - Oversee the day-to-day implementation of food safety in the workplace
FOOD HANDLER TRAINING
As per Standard 3.2.2 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, all Food Handlers must be adequately trained in food safety appropriate to their role.
The AIFS Food Handler course for the Health & Community sector covers fundamental food safety concepts and knowledge as well as industry-specific requirements related to:
- appropriate workwear and footwear
- laundering and storage requirements
- handling linen and other laundry contaminated with human waste
Food Handlers who complete this course learn effectively through customised lessons, a case study, reading activity and quizzes applicable to their actual work environment.
Upon completion of the Food Handler course for the Health & Community sector, students are awarded with a Statement of Attainment listing the unit of competency they have earned.
The unit of competency that is awarded to Food Handlers who complete the Health & Community course is:
Who should complete food safety training for the Health & Community sector?
Anyone who handles, prepares, serves or transports food or cleans equipment and utensils used in food preparation in a health and community organisation should complete food safety training for the Health & Community sector.
Industry-specific food safety training is particularly important for Food Handlers (or health workers who handle food) working in medical facilities or care settings, such as:
- acute care facilities
- nursing homes / aged care facilities
- child care centres
It is also appropriate and recommended for workers in community organisations, such as:
- school canteens and tuckshops
- recreation facilities
- youth and community groups
- food charities and other food-related non-profit organisations
To learn more about food safety training for the Health & Community industry, contact the Australian Institute of Food Safety.
If you’re looking to enrol multiple employees in a food safety course, ask our support team about starting an AIFS Business Account.