Outback Stores employs a Nutritionist who is responsible for overseeing the nutritional, environmental health and food safety requirements of community stores managed by the company. The role of the Nutritionist is to make sure Outback Stores meets the parts of its mission relating to the health and nutrition of Indigenous people and drives policies aimed at ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health.
One of the most important roles of the Nutritionist is to develop the capacity of store managers and staff to focus on the health needs of the communities as part of their day-to-day work by spending time with the managers in the store and providing training.
Some important aspects of the Nutritionist’s position are making sure the range of food sold in the stores meets the nutritional standards set by Outback Stores, checking to see that the food is displayed in ways that encourage people to try healthier choices and helping to create programs to encourage community interaction with the store.
Examples of how this translates at store level:
- The range of foods stocked meets the needs of the whole community including children, people with diabetes and heart disease and old people;
- Healthier food choices promoted through shelf placement for example, tinned meat and vegetable meals in a more prominent position than fatty, salty tinned meat;
- There will be a fruit bowl where most supermarkets would have chocolate at the register; and,
- Where possible, and requested by the community, healthy school lunches or meals for the elderly prepared in the store’s takeaway.
They Nutritionist also provides feedback on what food people are buying so the community can make choices about what they think should or shouldn’t be sold in the store.
The food safety and environmental health aspect of the Nutritionist’s responsibilities includes making sure the stores provide quality, safe food for customers in a clean and healthy environment.
The health and nutrition team ensures that:
- Stores and takeaways implement food safety practices in line with the Australian and New Zealand Food Standards Code;
- Food handlers and their supervisors are trained in food safety procedures;
- Store premises and equipment are clean and well maintained;
- Store environments are clean and well maintained;
- Dogs, dust, waste and water in the store environment are well managed