Serving food is risky business, so making sure you know your supply chain inside out will help to manage your risk. Keeping your customer safe needs to be a top priority as the success of your restaurant depends on it. If a customer falls ill, or even worse, from dining at your restaurant, the financial, legal and reputational impact could be devastating for your business.

Consumers of today are more concerned about the quality and integrity of the food they eat, not to mention increasing food allergies and diversifying food preferences, e.g. veganism.

The bottom line is that you need to know where your ingredients come from to ensure that you have some measure of control over the safety of the food you buy, prepare and serve. Ask yourself: Do you know who supplies your suppliers?

“The ever-increasing complexity of the food supply chain translates to ever increasing levels of risk, challenging an organisation’s ability to satisfy its customers in terms of quality, safety, integrity and continuity. As an industry, we are particularly vulnerable when it comes to risks that can occur deep within those chains – like intentional and inadvertent adulteration, substitution, product mislabelling and cross contamination with both naturally occurring and foreign materials”, explains Kimberly Carey Coffin, global head of food, retail and hospitality at SAI Global, specialists in risk management.

According to an article by PwC Australia, there is a high level of food trust and assumed food security in Australia. This is driven by our abundance of produce and a level of ignorance with regards to our food supply chains. In 2010, Bonsoy soy milk was found to contain dangerous levels of iodine, resulting in the largest ever food safety settlement in Australia of $25 million. In 2015, 26 people allegedly contracted hepatitis A from frozen berries imported from China. It has become clear that assuming food is safe is no longer a luxury that we can afford.

Examples of food safety issues:

  • Contaminated foods
  • Adulterated ingredients
  • Unlabelled allergens in food

Factors that could lead to food safety issues:

With increasing competition comes the pressure to keeps costs down. As food businesses look further afield for suppliers, there is increased risk in the supply chain.

SAI Global found that food businesses typically only knew their first and second tier suppliers.

Many food businesses rely on contracts with suppliers to manage their relationships, however a closer eye needs to be kept on suppliers and their supply chains.

When food is sourced via brokers and agents, there is no direct relationship with the actual suppliers.

Consumers follow food trends or could have special dietary requirements. This means food service businesses are required to provide information about provenance, nutrition, allergens and other attributes in the food they serve.

Source: Food & Beverage Industry News

Risk management strategies:

  1. Source responsibly which encompasses authentic food products, environmental impact and compliance.
  2. Build strong relationships with your suppliers so you know where your ingredients come from.
  3. Buy straight from the source where possible and ensure your suppliers have the required certifications and adhere to food safety regulations.
  4. Ensure your staff are expertly trained in the storage, handling and preparation of food. Creating a risk-aware culture will count in your favour.
  5. Maintain equipment such as fridges and freezers to ensure food does not spoil.
  6. Monitor and test food quality at random times on an ongoing basis.

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre Ltd (FPSC) is an industry-led, not-for-profit company established to enhance fresh produce safety across Australia and New Zealand through research, outreach and education. They have published “Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety”, which includes input from a range of industry members with experience and expertise in food safety issues.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is an independent statutory agency established by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 (FSANZ Act). FSANZ is part of the Australian Government’s Health portfolio. They provide an outline of the regulatory requirements related to food safety and links to a series of useful guides and fact sheets on food safety topics on their website.

Should a customer be affected by a food safety issue in your restaurant, Public & Product Liability Insurance protects your business in the event that you become legally liable for personal injury or property damage to a third party, as a result of an insured occurrence within your business operations.

You invest so much time, money and effort in your business and we want to make sure your restaurant is protected. Ryno Insurance will work with you to customise insurance cover for your one-of-a-kind restaurant.

P: 1300 650 670
E: hello@rynoinsurance.com.au
W: www.rynoinsurance.com.au/hospitality

Important Note: All insurance policies have exclusions. Please refer to the Product Disclosure Statement or Policy Wording to decide whether an insurance policy meets your needs.

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