Laboratory technician Emma McPherson from Lion Dairy and Drinks has been announced as the first recipient of a scholarship for the food safety training program, Advancing Food Safety, run by SAI Global.
SAI Global trainer John Fallon told StartupSmart too many new business owners launch cafes or restaurants underprepared about the health and business risks of poor food safety practices.
“Food safety is a risk that can literally destroy a business overnight, if there is an outbreak and the media hears about it, it’s everywhere and you’re over,” Fallon says. “If you’re starting a new business and coming into the industry in the food space, you need to understand the regulatory authorities and what they expect.”
Fallon says many business owners aren’t aware of their state’s regulatory authority until they’re in trouble and are missing out on the support they can provide.
“Businesses should take steps to feel confident about their management and not reliant on auditors coming in and pointing out their issues, because then you’re in trouble,” he says.
He adds many start-up café and restaurant operators aren’t even sure what auditors focus on when reviewing their premises.
“They’ll be looking at temperature control, pest control, as well as documentation to make sure you’ve got appropriate processes. They’ll also look at the general hygiene,” Fallon says.
McPherson, 21, is based in a small rural community of just 500 people. She will be able to access five courses for free.
“I’ve worked in a lab since I was in grade 9, so I’ve lived with the importance of food safety for ages,” McPherson told StartupSmart. “I applied for it out of a whim and didn’t think I would get it, but it’s really exciting to get to learn more.”