As you will be aware there has been an extended power outage which affected the Mansfield region from Saturday 1 February to Sunday 2 February (22 Hours duration for most areas).
Steps will need to been taken to mitigate any risk to food safety within your operation. The information within this email is provided as guidance for any event-related disruption to premises, equipment, and (and to some premises) to the water supply. See Item 5 below specifically re Foods and Temperature Control
The checklist attached has been sourced from the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries – however, please be aware that the phone numbers and the website links should be replaced with the appropriate agency in Victoria for guidance.
For guidance on power outages see: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/food-safety/food-safety-information-for-consumers/food-safety-during-power-outages.
Reopening a food business after a power cut or civil emergency (e.g. earthquake, flood)
As you get your business up and running again, it’s vital extra steps are taken to ensure food is safe for your customers. What you do next will depend on the amount of damage to your premises and equipment, the availability and amount of drinking water supply you need, condition of food in stock and the type of food you want to sell.
The following points and the Reopening a food business checklist provide a summary of the most important things to consider as a food retailer reopening for business.
1. Are premises structurally sound for preparing or handling food?
Once the building has formally been declared as safe, you will need to make sure any damage to food areas does not stop you from operating hygienically. Is there a chance that food will become contaminated, such as from leaking sewerage or damaged ceiling or wall claddings falling onto food?
Make sure the services you need for power, water supply and drainage haven’t been damaged or weakened in the premises.
2. Are toilets and personnel hygiene facilities working?
Make sure toilets for staff and customers are in working order. If a “boil water” notice is in effect, staff should wash hands using cooled boiled water or water treated with bleach or chlorine (5 drops of bleach to 1 litre of water); then use a hand sanitiser. Have hand wipes and hand sanitisers available for customer hygiene.
3. Can the premises be thoroughly cleaned before use?
Areas used for food preparation and serving will need to be thoroughly cleaned, and food preparation surfaces and utensils sanitised before use, to ensure there is no risk to food safety.
4. Is the water safe to use?
If a “boil water” notice is in effect, it is recommended that you use a supply of bottled drinking water if you need to use water as an ingredient in food while the notice is in place. Turn off ice machines until the “boil water” notice has been lifted.
Turn off post-mix and slushy machines until the “boil water” notice has been lifted.
Most coffee machines only heat water to 80–85°C, so these machines need to be supplied with pre-boiled water. Plumbed in machines should not be used.
Remember to use only cooled boiled water or water treated with bleach or chlorine (5 drops of bleach to 1 litre of water) to wash hands when preparing food. Use a sanitiser after washing hands, especially if water is scarce. Identify the best way to boil or chlorinate the water needed and make someone responsible for maintaining the supply. Using disposable gloves might help, but remember to change them regularly and wash your hands in clean water when you do so. When the “boil water” notice has been lifted, run taps to check the water before you use it. If you notice anything unusual with the colour or cloudiness or smell, contact your water supplier for advice. Don’t use the water until your supplier has confirmed that it is okay. Further information about water in food businesses can be found at: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/water/private-drinking-water
5. Is food still safe to use (temperature control)?
Check how long fridges, chillers and freezers have been without power because food safety may have been affected. As a rule:
6. Is refrigeration working?
Make sure chillers, freezers, display cabinets and other equipment have not been damaged and will work as intended.
7. Food for sale
Particularly when a “boil water” notice is in place, think about providing food that requires minimum handling or is very thoroughly cooked.
8. Sourcing new supplies If you are restocking from local suppliers, ensure perishable or frozen foods were not affected by power outages.
Check that your supplier has taken the steps indicated in 5 above.
9. Do your staff know what to do?
It is important everyone knows what they must do to produce safe food during an emergency, particularly if there is a disrupted clean water supply. It is vital hands and food preparation surfaces are kept clean. Mark different pots and pans being used to boil or cool water so people know which ones to use.
Please feel free to contact the environmental health department at Mansfield Shire Council directly if you have any queries relating to food safety at your premises.
Phone: (03) 5775 8555
TTY users phone 133 677
then ask for (03) 5775 8555
Find out more about National Relay Service
Address: 33 Highett Street
Mansfield, VIC 3722
Postal: Private Bag 1000
Mansfield, VIC 3724