“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” —Warren Buffett

It seems that people are now more informed about the food they eat, the way it is grown, proper food processing and what it does once it enters our digestive system.

This increase of knowledge also relates to food safety and cleanliness as the general public and various levels of governments are keeping a close eye on restaurants and how they do business.

Good news travels slower than bad and anyone owning or operating a business knows that bad word of mouth is guaranteed to affect the profitability and sustainability of your business.

So Why Bother With Food Safety Training?

Aside from adhering to the Work Health and Safety Compliance, businesses should also focus on Food Safety Training.

Food Safety Training saves time, money and lives and these are just a few of the reasons why Food Safety training is so important to Australian businesses

Running a food business can be a rewarding and fun way to and of course financially successful.

It can also be stressful, exhausting, time consuming and it can sometimes seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.

This is one of the reasons that so many people are utilising online Food Safety training.

Does Food Safety Training Have a Real Impact on the Levels of Food Poisoning in Australia?

In the decade to 2011, the number of Australians affected by food-borne gastroenteritis increased 79 per cent, according to figures from the national food-borne disease monitoring network. In 2011, 150 outbreaks affected 2241 people compared with 86 affecting 1768 people in 2001.

The rate of hospitalisation had trebled since 2001 but the Australian Government Enhanced foodborne disease surveillance website OzFoodNet claims that from 2011 to 2013 the estimated number of food poisoning cases has actually dropped to around 4 million per year from the previous figure of 5.4 million.

So it would seem that attitudes and actions of Australians are changing when it comes to Food Safety and this is being reflected in the decreasing number of food poisoning cases being reported.

I sometimes get told by food operators who undergo one of our Food Safety Training courses that ‘I have been doing this for years so why should I get certification?’ and this got me thinking – is it Food Safety Training that is responsible for the decrease in food poisoning cases or is it a heightened focus on the quality of our food and the way it is cooked?

Is It Stricter Guidelines on Food Preparation in Australia?…

…Or have standards improved across the board due to greater competition for the average persons dining dollar?

Professor Doug Powell from the Kansas State University Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology department recently concluded after some decades of research on food safety  that anyone who prepares and serves the food requires some basic food safety training whether you’re in day care centres, supermarkets, restaurants or local markets.

Powell also went on to argue the case for the results of the inspections be made public and mandatory.

So called ‘name and shame‘ registers are made available by various State governments in Australia, but Powell argues that these need to be made obvious to perspective customers via a ‘Star System’ that is displayed at the entrance of restaurants.

The Brisbane Star System is currently voluntary and Powell points out that this ‘means an owner can choose to not display results if they suck.’

A public display of a restaurants food safety system rating would certainly communicate in a very clear and concise fashion their history with health regulators but would it have a lasting affect on their standards?

I believe that the answer (like most things) is a combination of many different factors. Government needs to be involved in the regulation of food operators and training is a very important part factor in reducing food poisoning in our carafes, restaurants and elsewhere.

To engender real change with regards to improving food safety standards (and creating an increase in awareness about the consequences of what we do with food) the impetus needs to come from within organisations, not from outside.

There is an old saying which I believe encapsulates the essence of what I am trying to say- ‘The fish rots from the head.’

No amount of regulations, fines, public naming and shaming or training will make real and long lasting change UNLESS people in the organisation come along for the ride as willing participants, not just passengers.

To use the parlance of boardroom/self help speak (I apologise in advance!) people need to ‘buy into’ the whole education and awareness ‘journey’ or it will only be a band aid solution.

The quote at the beginning of this blog from Warren Buffett (who knows a thing or two about running a successful business) really hits the nail on the head. Bad news travels much quicker than good news and once it is ‘out there’ it can spread like wild fire.

Don’t Believe Me?

The cast your mind to any conversation you overhear when people are discussing where to dine….. more often than not someone will eventually say ‘I can tell you where NOT to go!’

That particular sentence can be a death sentence for any food business if it is whispered or uttered loud and often.

Make sure people only say good things about your business, undergo Food Safety Training training today.



I am delighted that ALSCO have given me the opportunity to discuss this important subject, it’s something I feel passionately about.” Article written by Brendan Bolton, directory of Train to Gain. Train to Gain is a Nationally Accredited Registered Training Organisation and have serviced the Hospitality and retail industries for 20 years. Start your Food Safety Training now, enquire at www.foodsafetyeducation.com.au.

Alsco makes sure you’re OH&S compliant. Let Alsco help you create a safe environment in your workplace, check out Alsco’s fully-managed first-aid services and enquire now.

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