About I'M ALERT Food Safety
I'M ALERT Food Safety was developed by a team of food hygiene professionals and was originally released on CD ROM in 2006. Due to high customer demand for on-line training the program was adapted and released on line in November 2007. The program is marketed through Australia’s peak environmental health body – Environmental Health Australia (EHA).
Local Governments (as well as State Governments and training organisations) can subscribe to I'M ALERT Food Safety On-line Training and have the program linked to their website.
As part of the subscription set up, the training pages are co-badged with the EHA and individual Local Government logos. All print outs from within the program (e.g. temperature recording sheets, cleaning schedules, certificate of training etc) are also badged with the EHA and individual Local Government logos.
Upon set up the new subscriber is also provided with a range of co-badged marketing materials including flyers and print media templates to help them market the program to their food businesses.
Once set up food handlers can then visit their Council website and follow the links to conduct the food safety training free of charge, as many times as they like.
Pricing for subscriptions are structured to reflect the size of the Local Government with three categories (small, medium & large) plus a one-off set up fee. This structure of pricing reflects the amount of traffic expected through the site based on the population base of the Local Government area.
The Need for Training
Many cases of food-borne illness occur each year in Australia. Apart from the enormous impact this has on the individual there is an even greater impact on the public health system, the economy and the food industry as a whole.
Regulation of food businesses is therefore often given a high priority by many local governments so as to ensure food produced and sold within their jurisdiction is safe. A key element in regulating such businesses is achieving voluntary compliance among food business operators. So how do local governments go about encouraging voluntary compliance?
Education is essential if food business operators are going to know what is expected of them as far as legislative public health requirements of their business. The Food Safety Standards were developed to provide for nationally uniform food legislation throughout Australia. This allows then for an opportunity to develop a nationally uniform training tool that can be applied to all food businesses and food handlers throughout Australia.
For some time now many local authorities have struggled to deliver adequate food handler training and in most cases training courses only manage to reach a small percentage of food handlers within their local area. Training has been inconsistent between local government areas and costly to both local authorities and food businesses.
I'M ALERT Food Safety allows for consistent training throughout the entire food industry. It enables food handlers to complete training in their own time and at a location of their choosing, thereby reducing costs for the food business and improving productivity.
The program has many features including:
- An interactive and compelling presentation
- Components reflecting the sections within the Food Safety Standards (Eg. Food Receipt, Food Storage, Hygiene of Food Handlers etc)
- The ability to select only the required training sections
- Interactive tasks and quizzes
- Printable templates including: a cleaning schedule, temperature recording sheet and a goods receival checklist.
- Printable acknowledgement form (assists a food business operator and staff to demonstrate skills and knowledge requirements)
- Functional and easily navigated product
The printable acknowledgement form as mentioned above, assists in the determination of the skills and knowledge requirements of the food handlers as prescribed in the Food Safety Standards. Local governments may choose to require that food business operators return these forms to them upon completion of the training program or Environmental Health Officers may simply sight the acknowledgement forms during routine assessments.
This training option assists local governments in achieving voluntary compliance amongst their food businesses and helps raise standard of hygiene thereby reducing the incidence of food-borne illness resulting from poor food handling practices. Raising standards of food businesses also reduces the necessity for enforcement action by potentially reducing the number of non-compliant food business operators.