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Defining the Food Safety and Quality Manager Skill Set
29 April 2016
Written by John Chadderton BSc(Hons), MAIFST
The safety of the food supply is important for public health. Food safety skills and knowledge have been identified as being a requirement, not only for regulatory compliance but also for compliance to the highest levels of food safety laid out in the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) recognised standards, and other retailer led standards which represent a significant cost of doing businesses for many Australian food manufacturers. These standards explain what systems need to be in place in order to comply with industry best practice, but not how to develop them, which requires specific skills and knowledge. The identification of technical skill sets has been a key focus of the AgriFood Skills Council for several years but has failed to gain traction in the industry, particularly in the creation of funding models to pay for their development. A number of training organisations are attempting to meet the industry demand for updated technical knowledge by offering short courses for industry, even if there are no relevant competencies in the National Food Processing Training Package FDF10. Skill sets are being effectively created, largely outside of the national training framework, and in an independent and fairly haphazard way. There needs to be greater co-ordination between the industry and the education and training establishment to standardise these skill sets into a national system.
Research is certainly needed to determine the skill sets and competencies required for food safety, based not only on legislative requirements, but also on the higher GFSI related standards that so many businesses in Australia and the world aspire to comply with, and are considered to be the global benchmark for best practice. Such skill sets would also be directly transferable to developing countries in the region, many of whom also aspire to fully comply with GFSI related standards in order to develop their export markets.
This paper is based upon part of a more detailed research project conducted by the author with Deakin University in 2014.
You can download the full paper here.