Unit of competency details

HLTFS312C - Conduct food safety audits (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to HLTFS12A - Conduct food safety auditsUnit updated in V4 - equivalent competency outcome 24/Mar/2011
Is superseded by HLTFSE008 - Conduct internal food safety auditsThis version was released in HLT Health Training Package release 3.0 and meets the requirements of the 2012 Standards for Training Packages. Significant changes to the elements and performance criteria. New evidence requirements for assessment, including volume and frequency requirements. Significant change to knowledge evidence. Removed prerequisite. 07/Dec/2015

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 25/Mar/2011


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110111 Food Hygiene 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110111 Food Hygiene 04/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor


This unit is a minimum competency standard for any person involved in auditing against the Food Safety Standards. At this level, an auditor would typically work under supervision

Application of the Unit


This unit of competency supports the implementation of national and state food safety legislation regulations and is based on the national Food Safety Guideline Competency Standards 

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Pre-requisite unit 

This unit must be assessed after successful achievement of pre-requisite:

  • HLTFS311C Develop food safety programs

Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

This unit contains Employability Skills

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements define the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

The Performance Criteria specify the level of performance required to demonstrate achievement of the Element. Terms in italics are elaborated in the Range Statement.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Plan a food safety audit 

1.1 Identify and locate information and resources required to conduct the audit

1.2 Develop and negotiate an audit plan with the food business to meet audit scope

2. Conduct a food safety audit

2.1 Collect information that is adequate, representative and meets audit requirements

2.2 Analyse information to assess adequacy of the food safety program

2.3 Review records to assess compliance with the food safety program

2.4 Assess compliance with the food safety program in the food business

2.5 Inspect premises and transport vehicles as required to confirm that they meet the design and construction requirements set out by food safety legislation

2.6 Identify areas requiring corrective action

3. Report and follow up audit outcomes

3.1 Report situations presenting an imminent and serious risk to the safety of food in accordance with legislative requirements

3.2 Prepare audit reports to address audit scope requirements

3.3 Communicate the results of the audit to the food business and to enforcement agencies as required by legislation

3.4 Ensure areas requiring corrective action are acknowledged by the food business

3.5 Develop a corrective action plan

3.6 Confirm implementation of corrective action as set out in the corrective action plan

Required Skills and Knowledge


This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge :

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes knowledge of:

  • Audit roles and responsibilities:
  • any requirements for prescribed fees and charges that may be levied on a food business and the process by which this occurs
  • appropriate ethical conduct of auditors as set out in codes of ethics of auditors and additional requirements as determined by employment arrangements
  • requirements and procedures for certification/registration of auditors and authorized officers
  • Audit procedures and techniques:
  • appropriate recording and reporting formats
  • business systems and related reference documents and appropriate application of these in an audit
  • communication skills and techniques appropriate to the food business
  • data analysis methods relevant to the audit process
  • techniques for collecting information, including choice of appropriate methods to ensure data is adequate and representative
  • the purpose and stages involved in a food safety audit
  • Food business classification systems and the implications of these for determining the frequency and scope of audit
  • Legal requirements and responsibilities:
  • legal requirements of food businesses relating to food safety
  • legal responsibilities for reporting findings of the audit, conflict of interest, confidentiality, rights of appeal and giving evidence in court
  • legal responsibilities for reporting to enforcement agencies any non-conformities that present an imminent and serious risk to the safety of food
  • other relevant legislation that could impact on the application of food safety legislation in the business and/or industry
  • relevant legislation determining scope of audit where relevant for the industry sector
  • the purpose and intent of food safety legislation
  • understanding of food safety auditor roles, responsibilities and legal liability as established by relevant legislation. this includes an understanding of the responsibilities of different types of auditors and of authorized officers

continued  ...

Essential knowledge  (contd ):

  • Specialist food safety and industry knowledge:
  • competency standards and related assessment and training options for people working with food to develop relevant food safety skills and knowledge
  • industry terminology, food characteristics and food handling practices and processing techniques relevant to the industry sector, as they affect food safety
  • minimum standards of design and construction required of food premises, fixtures, fittings, equipment, and transport vehicles as required by food safety legislation. this includes relevant australian standards.
  • relevant technical and industry knowledge required to verify compliance; and to assess compliance with food safety legislation/regulations. this requires current knowledge of relevant sections of the food standards code, relevant food acts, industry guidelines, codes of practice, templates, protocols and other sources of current technical advice relevant to industry sector and food business processes
  • situations which could present a serious risk to food safety and related reporting responsibilities under food safety legislation
  • techniques for applying HACCP concepts in a food business. These include techniques for identifying hazards that may be reasonably expected to occur, determining appropriate control method, monitoring and record keeping, validating and corrective action requirements
  • where food business control methods or limits vary from industry standards or where there are no industry standards, technical knowledge required to assess data used by the business to validate acceptable limits

Essential skills :

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes the ability to:

  • Apply appropriate questioning, observation and related communication skills to support information collection, appropriate to the food business
  • Assess the adequacy of the food safety program, which involves verifying information used by the food business to establish methods of controlling food safety hazards
  • Communicate the audit findings including any relevant follow up actions to the food business as required by legislation
  • Communicate the audit plan to the food business and agree on audit timetable
  • Confirm that food premises, fixtures, fittings, equipment and transport vehicles meet the minimum requirements of food safety legislation
  • Confirm that the food business has implemented appropriate corrective action within the timeframe established by the corrective action plan
  • Establish the audit sequence, activities and timelines
  • Form conclusions on audit outcomes which can be duplicated, given evidence collected
  • Identify and locate information required to conduct the audit
  • Identify any changes that have occurred in the food business since the commencement of the food safety program or since the last audit that could affect food safety
  • Identify, investigate and record evidence of non-conformance and judge significance
  • Prepare tools to collect information, typically including checklists and interview schedules
  • Refer to the contract with the food business and legislative requirements to identify the scope of the audit
  • Report the findings of the audit in appropriate format to meet legal and food business requirements
  • Report imminent and serious risks as required by legislation/regulations
  • Review food business documentation to confirm that required information is available
  • Review records, conduct interviews, observe workplace practice and collect other relevant information as required to assess compliance with the food safety legislation
  • Take immediate action to report non-conformities that present an imminent and serious risk to the safety of food
  • Verify that the food business is implementing the food safety program, which includes:
  • identification of all food safety hazards that may be reasonably expected to occur
  • determining adequate methods to control hazards
  • monitoring and record keeping procedures
  • validating and addressing corrective action requirements
  • Where findings indicate either a failure to comply with the food safety program or inadequacy of the food safety program, document areas of non-conformance

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this competency unit :

  • The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills
  • Assessment of this unit of competence is to be conducted within the context of one or more nominated industry categories
  • Assessment must occur in the context of real food businesses within the nominated industry sector where food safety hazards are identified and controlled by a food safety program
  • Such an environment must provide opportunities for the individual being assessed to demonstrate their ability to conduct food safety audits to meet the audit scope, legal and food business requirements
  • The person assessing this unit of competency must be a competent and approved food safety auditor, as defined by food safety legislation
  • The use of this competency standard as part of a wider process to approve auditors will be determined by the audit management system in each state and territory

Access and equity considerations :

  • All workers in the health industry should be aware of access and equity issues in relation to their own area of work
  • All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment
  • In recognition of particular health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Range Statement


The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

This range of variables provides further advice to interpret the scope and context of this guideline competency standard . It assumes :

  • A food safety audit is conducted against relevant food safety legislation
  • A food safety program systematically identifies the food safety hazards that may be reasonably expected to occur in all food handling operations of the food business. It identifies where and how each hazard can be controlled, describes how these controls are to be monitored, the corrective action required if control conditions are not met and information to be recorded. The food safety program must comply with relevant national, state and industry legislation/regulations
  • Audit scope is established by the contract between the auditor and the food business and by legislation
  • Audits may be undertaken for advisory or regulatory purposes and may be conducted by internal or external auditors. Internal audits do not meet regulatory requirements
  • Information collection methods include interviews, observance, and review of workplace records and accessing relevant technical information
  • A corrective action plan identifies non-conformance, corrective actions, date by which action must be taken and any other follow up requirements. Depending on the nature and scope of an audit, the business is typically responsible for identifying appropriate corrective action. However the auditor must be able to determine whether an appropriate corrective action plan has been developed and must therefore have the technical knowledge to do so
  • Appropriate communication skills and techniques must take account of English language, literacy and technical skill base of food business personnel
  • Design and construction requirements of food safety premises, fixtures, fittings, equipment and transport vehicles are set out in Food Safety Standard 3.2.3 and or relevant state legislation/regulations
  • The relevant state audit management system may specify additional requirements of auditors such as meeting appropriate ISO standards. This may vary on a state by state basis

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable