Applying good operating practice (GOP) to your business

Find out how to use MPI's guidance to develop an effective GOP system and when you need to document GOP for your business.

GOP is effective if, on its own, or in combination with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), it enables you to:

  • control the factors that are reasonably likely to affect the safety and suitability of the food
  • meet the relevant regulatory requirements.

As a food business operator, you have a primary duty to ensure the food you sell is safe and suitable for its intended purpose. The relevant food legislation sets general requirements for the production, processing and sale of food, and may:

  • set additional standards in relation to a particular food or group of foods
  • set out ways in which specific requirements can be met.

Before you can develop effective GOP, you need to understand the food safety and suitability standards that apply to your business and how your operations affect the safety and suitability of the food.

This means thinking about the:

  • ingredients, other inputs and the food itself
  • processes
  • equipment
  • people
  • premises
  • surrounding environment.

You can find out the regulatory requirements that apply to your business in the section for your food sector.

Steps for applying GOP to your business

  1. Read through the guidance documents to identify which procedures should be included in your GOP. 
  2. Consider the food safety practices you already have in place. Use the guidance to determine if your current practices are sufficient and amend them as necessary.
  3. If there are gaps in your GOP, identify how you can introduce the good practices that you're missing. Use the guidance to develop the procedures that are necessary to completing your GOP.
  4. Let your staff know of any changes and how they need to do things.
  5. Monitor your staff to ensure they are following your GOP procedures. Take appropriate corrective action if necessary.
  6. Check periodically that the practices continue to be effective for your business and change them if necessary.

See the guidance documents for GOP:

Documenting GOP

Not all food businesses need to document their GOP practices. However, if you use GOP to create a Food Control Plan (FCP), Risk Management Programme (RMP) or Wine Standards Management Plan (WSMP), then you need to document your GOP before you can register your plan or programme. Refer to the following to find out more information about this:

Operating under the Food Act

The Food Act 2014 came into force on 1 March 2016. The Act applies to all new food businesses that started from that date.

Existing businesses (registered under the Food Act 1981 or Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 before 29 February 2016) are making the transition between 2016 and 2019. Find out when your type of business has to start operating under the Act.

If guidance is not available

If you find that guidance is not available for an aspect of your GOP, you can use other suitable information to help you develop your practices. Appropriate sources of information might include:

  • international food agency documents
  • industry codes of practice.

Codes of Practice (COPs)

You still need to ensure the procedure is tailored to your business and that you meet the relevant regulatory requirements.

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