How to Create an Effective Food Safety Plan

Step-by-Step Guidance on Creating a comprehensive Food Safety Plan for Kitchens and Businesses

Food Safety Programs or Plans are written around the principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points ( HACCP) first developed by NASA to keep food safe for astronauts during space exploration.

HACCP is an internationally recognised system used to identify and manage risk.  The principles of HACCP are:

  • hazard analysis
  • identifying critical control points
  • establishing critical limits
  • monitoring
  • taking corrective action
  • keeping records
  • verifying results

How to Develop a Food Safety Program

A food safety program is a documented system that identifies the food safety hazards in the handling of food in a food business and details the way the hazards will be controlled in that business.

A food safety program must:

  • systematically identify the food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur in food handling operations of the food business
  • in a food handling operation of the food business, how each hazard identified can be controlled and the means of control
  • provide for the regular monitoring of the means of control
  • provide for appropriate corrective action to be taken when a hazard identified is not under control
  • provide for the regular review of the program to ensure it is appropriate for the food business
  • provide for the keeping of appropriate records for the food business, including records about actions taken to ensure the business is carried on in compliance with the program
  • contain other information, relating to the control of food safety hazards, prescribed under a regulation.

Can I use a food safety program template?

Food Safety Program Templates are available to assist food businesses develop a food safety program.

The templates are a practical step-by-step guide to help you develop a food safety program that is tailored to your food business. Food safety programs do not need to be developed by food safety auditors or external contractors. The following templates will provide you with information and resources to create your own food safety program.

Choose the template that is relevant to your food business.

Note: You don't have to use these templates to create a food safety program. You can use other templates to help you write a food safety program, provided it meets the criteria outlined above as is specific to your individual business.

How do I get my food safety program accredited?

Once completed, the food safety program will need to be assessed to ensure all risks and hazards associated with the operation of the food business, have been identified and assigned specific monitoring and control measures.

The local council where your business is located is responsible for accrediting your food safety program. Contact your local council health department to arrange accreditation for your food safety program.

Accreditation of a food safety program is a one-off process. Re-accreditation will only be required if the food safety program is amended to include a major process change.

In Victoria, all class 1 and most class 2 food premises need a food safety program.

A food safety program (FSP) is a written plan that shows what a business does to ensure that the food it sells is safe for people to eat. It is an important tool to help businesses safely handle, process, or sell potentially hazardous foods and maintain safe food-handling practices to protect public health.

There are two types of FSP:

  • Non-standard (independent) food safety program: This type of FSP is written by a business to cover all their food processes and its adequacy is determined by a food safety auditor (for more information go to the Food Safety Audits page). A non-standard food safety program is sometimes referred to as an independent FSP.
  • Standard (registered) food safety program: This type of FSP is usually written by a template developer, or a business, and is assessed by a technical review panel for its adequacy. The department can then be asked to register the FSP. The department generally only does this for franchises with more than 20 premises in Victoria. A standard food safety program is sometimes referred to as a registered FSP.

The department has created and registered a standard FSP template for use by food retail and food service businesses. The department’s template covers the most common high-risk and potentially hazardous food processes, and is available, if suitable to the business activities, to use for free. The template is available from FoodSmart

Please note, that the department’s standard FSP template is not suitable for food manufacturers, who must have a non-standard FSP.

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