What is AFSA?

AFSA is an abbreviation for Australian Food Safety Assessment, developed as a tool for the assessment of food safety outcomes and risk management, and determination of assessment frequency in a uniform and consistent manner. It is designed to reduce subjectivity without oversimplifying the assessment process.

Can AFSA be used in any State or Territory?

YES, organizations around Australia are using AFSA. Contact your local EHA branch office for information on local governments or other organizations using AFSA near you.

What is the Standard of Practice?

The Standard of Practice is a guide developed to assist Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) apply their knowledge and skills in a professionally responsible, accountable and consistent manner to enhance environmental health standards and the professional standing of EHA members.

Why does the assessment make no mention of records?

The assessment is to be used by EHOs to assess food safety risk management in food businesses. When conducting an assessment you must:

  • Determine compliance with Food Safety Standards 3.2.2 and 3.2.3;
  • Assess whether the business is operating in accordance with its Food Safety Plan (FSP); and
  • Examine records or documentation kept that demonstrates compliance with the food safety standards and Food Safety Plan (FSP).

e.g. When assessing item 3, temperature control of potentially hazardous food (PHF) it is expected that the stock recival record is checked to ensure potentially hazardous food (PHF) is being received at the correct temperatures.

Do I need training to use AFSA?

The AFSA self-paced training package for EHP’s can be downloaded from this website. The training presentation includes background to the Food Safety Standard of Practice, how to use the AFSA, and some ‘virtual’ examples on conducting an assessment in a real food business. As follow-up to the training you should also thoroughly read the Food Safety Standard of Practice. If after completing the training you have any further queries on AFSA, please contact your local EHA branch.

Why does the assessment not mention the structural standards we have to enforce?

The assessment does cover the structural standards in a number of sections, but it must be remembered that the standards are outcome based meaning that in order to protect food from contamination, clean, sanitize etc. structural standards must be met. More specifically, in Premises & Hygiene number 26 Suitability and maintenance of premises, fittings & equipment, structural standards are referred to.

How does AFSA assess food handlers skills and knowledge?

AFSA records compliance with the requirements of the skills and knowledge requirements of the Food Standards Code, the EHP can seek guidance from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) publications such as ‘Safe Food Australia’ on how the requirements can be satisfied. In many small to medium businesses the EHA FoodSafe® food handler training program provides suitable training for lower level food handler staff. Therefore the assessment of skills and knowledge is much easier for the EHP if the premises is displaying the FoodSafe certificate and window sticker.

We use hand held computers in the field. Can the assessment be used with hand held technologies?

eAFSA has been developed to incorporate your computer system and enable you to use hand held computers / palm pilots. The electronic format can be customized to suit your corporation’s network system for use in conjunction with PDS’s. Each individual user must negotiate with the software provider to customize to their needs. Licensing agreements need to be negotiated with the service provider.

Can I change the form so I can put my Council logo on it?

Yes you can change the form by ordering Designer AFSA. For an additional cost, the form can be customized to your individual needs. Should you not wish to pay the additional cost for the designer AFSA, you can use a stamp in the top right hand corner to add your individual details to the form.

Can I change the form to add some additional things that we look for during an inspection such as tobacco sales?

You can add additional items to the green sheet at the back of the assessment.

Are we supposed to use the frequency of inspection model in the Standard of Practice?

The frequency model is based on the principals of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) priority classification system and the audit frequency model developed by FSANZ. This provides a model or base on which to commence an assessment frequency schedule. It is up to the discretion of the officer, based on previous history and compliance as to the final assessment frequency.

Can we send a copy of the assessment to the proprietors?

Certainly. The assessment is designed in such a way to enable a copy to be left with the proprietor for their records. Upon signing the assessment, the top copy is left with the proprietor, and should they require additional information, the explanation guide is also designed to provide clear and simple details as to the meaning of the assessment sections.

Can we add a scoring system to the assessment?

A type of scoring system based on the number and seriousness of non-compliances is already included for assessment frequencies. There is scope to also link the number of non compliances to a grading system that can be adopted if a user wishes to include a grading system. Further work is being done to develop a grading system.

How does the assessment get used when assessing a FSP in a Primesafe premises?

The assessment is suitable to be used in any premises regardless of whether the premises has a FSP or not (including a Primesafe licensed premises). The assessment focuses on whether the outcome is being achieved and not how it is to be achieved. The Food Safety Standards must be complied with even if a premises has a FSP. In fact the bases of an adequate FSP should be the meeting of the outcomes of the Food Safety Standards. FSPs put in to place steps on how to achieve the outcome, so provided the EHO assesses the compliance with outcome AFSA can still be used.

What about the Food Safety Supervisor requirements Victoria?

In Victoria Food Safety Supervisors (FSS) are required to undergo training with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) in Food Safety and Food Hygiene (more information can be obtained from the Victorian Government Department of Human Services publication ‘Food safety supervisor competencies and training'. Food Safety Supervisors also have a responsibility to train their staff, and for many small and medium food businesses the EHA recommends supervisors implement the FoodSafe® food handler training program to provide suitable training for lower level food handler staff.

FSS should be assessed under Food Handling Skills and Knowledge item. If the nominated FSS cannot demonstrate they have the required competency then there would be a non-compliance with item 23. The explanatory notes will be updated to include reference to this issue.