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Enhancing Food Safety Measures: Tools for Category One and Category Two Businesses

September 20, 2023

Food safety is vital in the food service, catering, and retail industries, and failure to keep adequate food safety standards can result in severe consequences for customers and businesses, including illness or injury, legal liability, and lasting damage to a business’s reputation. 

The recently introduced FSANZ Standard 3.2.2A aims to strengthen food safety protocols by introducing three new food safety management tools. These tools ensure that food prepared and served in Australia is safe for consumption, safeguarding consumers' health. The standard is a significant step towards providing a safer and healthier food service experience for all Australians.

The key objectives of this blog are: 

  • Understanding which businesses fall into these categories
  • Exploring food safety management tools for category one and category two businesses

Before going into the topic, let’s remember that many states and territories already have their own categories. Businesses need to know their categories at both a state and federal level since they are very likely different from one another. For example, some states have 4 categories, which work differently from the 3.2.2A categories we’re about to discuss.
Categorising Businesses: Category One and Category Two Defined

Let’s start by clarifying what category one and category two businesses are according to Standard 3.2.2A.

In rough terms, food businesses that engage in high-risk food handling activities belong in category one. In contrast, food businesses that retail unpackaged, potentially hazardous food are category two businesses.

Let’s go into more detail.

Category One Businesses

A category one business is a food establishment, such as a restaurant, caterer, or bakery, that handles unpackaged, potentially hazardous food and serves it to consumers as ready-to-eat meals. These businesses directly process ingredients like raw meats and vegetables into dishes that are both ready-to-eat and potentially hazardous due to their perishable nature. This classification is based on two key criteria: 

  • Unpackaged, potentially hazardous food is manipulated
  • The food is served to consumers as ready-to-eat meals.

For instance, consider a dine-in restaurant that transforms raw vegetables and meats into salads and cooked dishes, which are then served directly to customers. This is a Category one business.

Along the same lines, a mobile food vendor who prepares fried rice in a central kitchen, packages it into individual servings, and reheats it on-site also falls under category one. 

Additional examples include bakeries that produce fresh baked goods for both on-site and off-site consumption, as well as takeaway shops that offer hot meals to be consumed off-site. Institutions like hospitals, child care centres and aged care facilities that prepare and serve meals also fall within this category. 

Category Two Businesses

A category two business is a retail food establishment, such as a delicatessen, supermarket, or convenience store, that offers potentially hazardous ready-to-eat food for sale. The business receives or unpackages this food but it’s not further processed on-site except for activities like slicing, weighing, repacking, reheating, or hot-holding. Category 2 businesses expose food to a lower risk of contamination than category one food businesses.

For instance, consider a supermarket's deli section that receives bulk bags of ready-to-eat salads, portions them into containers, and offers them for purchase. This would be considered a category two business. Similarly, a service station that receives packaged pies from a bakery, reheats them, and places them in a display oven for sale belongs to category two. Notably, businesses that solely sell packaged food without any unpackaging fall outside this category.

While category two businesses involve limited handling, the potential risk remains due to the absence of further processing to eliminate pathogens. This classification aids in directing specific food safety measures. Retailers like delicatessens, market stalls, supermarkets with delis, and convenience stores fall under this category.

Essential Food Safety Tools for Category One Businesses

As we just learned, category one businesses encompass establishments like restaurants, caterers, and bakeries. According to the new FSANZ Standard 3.2.2A, category one businesses must employ three food safety management tools to mitigate risks and prevent foodborne illnesses:

  • Food safety supervision
  • Food handler training
  • Substantiation of food safety controls (record-keeping) 

Food Safety Supervision

Category one businesses require a qualified Food Safety Supervisor to oversee food handling staff, maintain the Food Safety Program, and ensure safe food handling practices. The Food Safety Supervisor must have a certification from a Nationally Recognised, 3.2.2A Approved Food Safety Supervisor training program and renew their credentials every five years.

Here’s a real-world example: consider a bustling downtown restaurant that processes fresh ingredients into dishes for its clientele. The appointed Food Safety Supervisor ensures proper storage, handling, and cooking of ingredients and educates kitchen staff on good hand hygiene, preventing cross-contamination, and monitoring critical control points.

Food Handler Training

Comprehensive training of all Food Handlers within a category one business is another new requisite of Standard 3.2.2A. Food Handlers must undergo specialised training to acquire essential skills and knowledge, equipping them to handle food safely. This training covers aspects such as personal hygiene, safe food handling practices, and preventing contamination.

Consider this real-world example: A renowned bakery prepares a variety of baked goods daily. Each employee has completed Food Handler training, from bakers to counter staff. This training empowers them to handle ingredients carefully, follow standardised cooking processes, and maintain a clean environment to ensure food safety.

Substantiation of Critical Food Safety Controls (Record-Keeping)

Category one businesses are mandated to substantiate their management of food safety controls through diligent record-keeping. These records provide evidence of compliance with critical control measures, including temperature monitoring, storage practices, and cleaning schedules. Proper documentation ensures transparency and accountability in maintaining food safety.

A real-world example could be a catering establishment that serves at various events. This catering business consistently monitors and records food display temperatures, cooking temperatures, and the sanitation of food preparation areas. These records showcase the business's commitment to strict food safety protocols.

Navigating Food Safety Tools for Category Two Businesses

Category two establishments include delis, supermarkets, and market stalls, and Standard 3.2.2A requires them to implement two food safety management tools to remain compliant:

  • Food safety supervision
  • Food handler training

Food Safety Supervision

A cornerstone of category two businesses' food safety initiatives is appointing a qualified Food Safety Supervisor responsible for overseeing adherence to stringent hygiene practices and monitoring compliance with food safety regulations. 

Consider the real-world example of a bustling supermarket with a deli section offering an array of ready-to-eat salads. The Food Safety Supervisor in this establishment orchestrates regular sanitation checks, ensures proper food handling practices, and enforces hygiene protocols among deli staff.

Food Handler Training

Thorough training of all Food Handlers within category two businesses is now mandatory, according to Standard 3.2.2A. Approved training should equip employees with the necessary skills and knowledge regarding:

  • Food contamination
  • Personal hygiene
  • Safe handling of food
  • Cleaning and sanitising of food premises and equipment

A real-world example can be a market stall that sells repackaged nuts and seeds. The Food Handlers at this establishment must undergo rigorous training that educates them about the safe handling of perishable ingredients, hygienic food preparation techniques, and the importance of maintaining a clean and sanitised workspace. This training fortifies the stall's commitment to food safety.


To comply with FSANZ Standard 3.2.2A, it’s crucial to understand the distinction between category one and category two businesses so you know which requirements apply to your establishment. Category one involves converting raw food into meals, while category two sells ready-to-eat food with minimal handling. 

Both categories require proper food safety management tools. Still, there is a significant difference: while category one businesses require a Food Safety Supervisor, trained Food handlers, and rigorous record-keeping, category two businesses need only trained Food Safety Supervisors and properly trained Food Handlers. 

If you need help to become compliant with Standard 3.2.2A, visit our helpful informational site, where you will find a webinar, action plans and more tools to get you up to speed.