Standard 3.2.3 Food Premises and Equipment (Australia only)
Standard 3.2.3 sets out requirements for food premises, fixtures, equipment, and food transport vehicles. If the food business complies with these requirements, they will find it easier to meet the food safety requirements of Standard 3.2.2. Food Safety Practices and General Requirements.
There are greater opportunities to design, construct and fit out food premises to facilitate food safety practices if the requirements of this standard can be incorporated at the design stage. Business should be encouraged or may be required under enforcement agency registration systems, to comply with design and fitout requirements before opening the premises. It may not be easy to be specific on the fit out of new buildings when the exact nature of the food business that will operate in the premises is not to know. However, the fitout should include as many features as possible that will enable premises, vehicles, and equipment to be easily and effectively cleaned and meet other food safety objectives.
All food businesses must be designed and constructed to satisfy the requirements of Food Standards Code 3.2.3 – Food Premises and Equipment.
The Australian Standard AS 4674: 2004 – Design, construction and fit out of food premises is a method of compliance with the Food Standards Code and is usually a requirement as a condition of local council Development Consent.
If a food business is being developed under the provisions of State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 the premises must satisfy the requirements of AS4674:2004.
Some factors to consider when complying with the Australian Standard:
- providing adequate space for food storage and food preparation
- hand washing facilities must be hands-free (ie not capable of being used by hand operation)
- hand washing facilities must be located within five meters of where food is handled
- walls must be of solid construction (ie stud walls are not permitted)
- service pipes and conduits must be concealed within floors, plinths, walls or ceilings or 25 mm from walls and 100 mm from floors and ceilings.
Contact the local council to confirm requirements and local planning regulations.
The owner of a building proposes to open a basement as a restaurant. Refrigerators, washing facilities, and toilets are two storeys above the basement. There is no plumbing or drainage to the basement.
The enforcement officer advises the owner that the premises would be inappropriate for this use unless a water supply and connections to the sewer, washing facilities including a hand basin and refrigeration, are provided in the basement.
A refrigerator that is used by a business to cool potentially hazardous food to 5ºC within the time prescribed in Standard 3.2.2 must maintain airflow and temperature that enables that to be achieved.
A glass washer that is used by a business to sanitize glasses by means of temperature must operate on wash, rinse and dry cycles that leave the glasses clean and sanitary. The same applies to glass washers that use sanitizing chemicals.
The requirement does not prevent equipment designed for one purpose from being used for another. For example, a chilled display cabinet with the chilling unit disconnected may be used to display dry goods. Also, a business may designate a sink for hand washing provided it does not use the sink for other purposes.
A small coffee shop business expands to operate an outside catering service. Sandwiches and salads are made for delivery later in the day, to local businesses. There is insufficient space in the cool room to store potentially hazardous sandwich fillings, and ready to eat salads.
If the business does not have sufficient space to install another refrigerator, it will have to limit or cease the catering service.
A café serves hot drinks, sandwiches, and cakes using reusable cups, saucers, plates, and cutlery. The enforcement officer visits the café and finds that the utensils and cutlery are not being sanitized.
The premises currently has a hot water system capable of delivering water at a maximum of 60C.
The proprietor has the option of:
- sanitizing by submerging the utensils in hot water (77⁰C for at least 30 seconds or equivalent time and temperature). A hot water system that will deliver water at a minimum of 77⁰C at the sink, a water heater in the sink if this is necessary to maintain the temperate to at least 77⁰C and a rinsing basket to submerge the utensils in the water will be needed.
- Installing a dishwasher capable of sanitizing;
- Using disposable cups, plates and other utensils; and/or
- Using a chemical sanitizer for eating and drinking utensils and for other utensils that require sanitizing such as large mixing bowls, chopping boards, etc. that will not fit in the dishwasher.
A continuous dishwasher used by a large catering company is used to sanitize eating and drinking utensils. The manufacturer of the machine specifies that the machine is designed to sanitize when the temperature indicator reads 80⁰C. Although the staff is aware that the dishwasher must not be used until a temperature-indicator light turns on, the machine can be operated when the light is off.
The proprietor of the business is in breach of the requirements and must rewire the machine so that the temperature indicator light and the operating switch of the machine are linked to preventing use when the light is off.
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