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Food Business Safety and Approvals

Overview of requirements

All food businesses in Australia must comply with national regulations and standards. The Food Act 2008Food Regulations 2009, and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code set the requirements for food businesses in Australia.

 All food businesses must be registered and must comply with these codes and regulations. The Shire's Health Services undertake regular monitoring of businesses and groups who sell food to the public to make sure they comply with legislation. It is an offence to operate a food business without a valid registration.

The type of approval(s) required depend on whether you want to:

  • Set up a new food business or alter an existing food business
  • Take over an existing food business
  • Prepare and/or sell food from home (i.e. a home-based business).

The following sections provide advice on the steps required to obtain the necessary approvals and register your food business.

Food Business Registration

Step 1. Determine if you require Planning or Building approval

Refer to the Planning Application page for more information.
 
Refer to the Building Permit Application page for more information.

Step 2. Complete the Application

Complete and submit the 'Application to Construct or Alter a Food Business' form and include:

  • ​Proposed floor plan and use of each room
  • Structural finishes of every wall, floor and ceiling
  • Position and type of every fitting and fixture
  • Number of chairs for patrons
  • Details of proposed sinks for hand washing, food preparation and dish washing or dishwasher specifications
  • All sanitary conveniences provided for staff and patrons, change rooms, storerooms, ventilating systems, drains, grease traps and provision for waste disposal 
  • Details of the mechanical exhaust system, if cooking is to take place in the food premises.

Complete and submit the 'Notification Registration Food Act' form 

  • Registration applications must be accompanied by plans and specifications of the food premises.

The applications can be found in the Related Documents section at the end of this page.  

A one off Notification and Registration fee applies.

Step 3. Arrange a final assessment

It is your responsibility to inform the Shire of any changes to your food business details, including change of ownership, change of premises, change of the original proposal and closing of the business.

 An annual risk assessment fee contingent upon the risk classification of the food business applies.

Home-based food business

There are restrictions on the types of food that can be prepared in your home kitchen. All home-based food preparation will require approval from the Shire.

Types of food that may be approved

The following foods are generally approved:

  • Cakes and cake decorating (excluding cream), biscuits and flour products
  • Jams, chutneys, relishes, pickled onions and sauces
  • Food for sale for charitable events (we recommend excluding meat, cream and eggs)
  • Food for home stay and farm stay accommodation
  • Repackaging of bulk, low-risk confectionary.

To find out about requirements refer to the information sheet in the Related Documents section at the end of this page.  

Temporary food stalls

Food stalls wishing to operate within the Shire, separate to an approved event or market, must apply for approval. Complete and submit the "Temporary Food Stall Application" form that can be found in the Related Documents section at the end of this page. 

Temporary food stall holders wishing to trade at approved events or markets within the Shire must:

  • Contact the event organiser to confirm that they will permit you to trade at their event/market.
  • Whether your food business is registered with the Shire or another local government, you must hold a current Food Act 2008 Certificate of Registration issued by that municipality.
  • Contact the event organiser to ensure you provide them with the required documentation, usually Certificate of Registration, public liability insurance certificate and in some cases a floor plan of your stall.

Important note: Markets and events are regularly inspected by Environmental Health Officers who will check for compliance.

Food Labelling

All food businesses should be familiar with labelling requirements. All food sold in Australia must comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code for labelling. Refer to the Food Standards Food Labelling Guidance for information on the requirements for compliant labels.

Everything said about a food on the label is also subject to Australian Consumer Law, which prohibits false, misleading or deceptive representations.

Food Allergen Rules

All food businesses are responsible for managing the presence of allergens in food and must follow rules set out in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

The rules are strict because allergic consumers:

  • Can suffer a severe allergic reaction which may cause death, and  
  • Rely on food labels and information provided by retailers and suppliers to check whether a food is safe for them to eat

Food businesses must:

  • Declare allergens on the label, or
  • Display allergen information next to food that does not require a label, or
  • Provide allergen information if requested by a customer

It is a serious offence if:

  • Allergen information is not on a label
  • A consumer is not given allergen information when they ask for it
  • An allergen is found in a food that was specifically requested not to contain that allergen
  • Incorrect allergen information is provide
Free food safety training

It is a legal responsibility that all food business operators ensure that staff working within their business have adequate skills and knowledge in relation to the tasks they are undertaking. This is an important tool in ensuring safe food and the Shire’s Environmental Health Officers actively enforce this requirement.

I’M ALERT – a free online food safety course, has been developed by qualified and experienced environmental health professionals.

The program is easy to follow, includes an entertaining presentation as well as interactive quizzes.

A training acknowledgement form can be printed upon completion and be kept as a part of your records.

Food Safety for Community Groups

Sausage sizzle and barbecues are a popular way to raise money for charities and community organisations.

All food handlers are encouraged to complete the I’M Alert Free online safety course (see above). 

Below are some recommendations to try to ensure food for sale at sausage sizzles is safe.

Food preparation and storage

  • Prepare food before leaving for the event eg. cutting and separating sausages, chopping onions
  • Ensure the esky or portable fridge has enough space for all of the meat and that the meat is surrounded by ice bricks during transport and the event.
  • Store sausages at 5 degrees or below
  • Store drinks for sale in separate eskies to avoid cross contamination and they are open frequently
  • Use separate tongs and gloves when handling raw and cooked sausages
  • Never place cooked sausages back on the trays that held the raw ones
  • Cover all food to protect it from contamination and store food in clean food storage containers or plastic bags.

Handwashing

  • Hands must be washed regularly. If water cannot be provided, alternatives such as hand cleaning creams or gels, sanitizing wipes can be used.
  • Hands must be washed or gloves changed after handling raw meat, money, drinks, cleaning equipment, rubbish and before handling the ready to eat sausages and buns.
  • It is suggested that one person does the cooking, one person handles the drinks and money and one person assembles the food for customers.
Food Safety for Egg Producers

The information on this page is for egg producers (chickens, ducks and quail) who sell eggs for human consumption. It will help you understand how to produce safe eggs and meet your legal obligations.

While eggs are a nutritious food, they have the potential to be contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella or chemicals that can cause food poisoning and illness. It is important that egg producers have effective hygiene measures in place including:

  • managing the hazards associated with egg production
  • making sure that staff understand the importance of managing these hazards
  • making sure that staff have the skills and knowledge that they need for their work.

Complying with the egg production standard

If you produce eggs for sale or supply you must comply with the Food Act 2008 and the national Primary Production and Processing Standard for Eggs and Egg Product (the Standard).

All egg producers in Australia are required by law to:

  • comply with the national egg and egg product processing standards
  • make sure that the eggs and egg products they produce, or sell, are safe for human consumption.
  • if you have 50 or more birds producing eggs, you should apply for a property identification code (PIC) with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
  • notify the Shire of your business details by submitting a completed Food Business Registration form to an Environmental Health Officer
  • ensure Individual eggs and egg products* are marked with a unique identifier.
  • have and follow an approved food safety management statement
  • keep records of sales and supplies

*Egg products include pulp, dried egg, liquid egg white and liquid egg yolk.

Meat and Poultry Processing

Meat and poultry processing plants are premises where meat (including game meat) for human consumption is processed, treated, boned, cut up, packed, packaged or stored.

This includes raw meat, the production of ready-to-eat (RTE) meat such as ham, beef jerky and biltong, and uncooked comminuted fermented meat (UCFM) products such as salami, chorizo, and pepperoni.

Meat includes:

  • bovine (cow, ox, buffalo); bubaline (antelope); camel; caprine (goat); cervidae (deer); ovine (sheep); porcine (pig); soliped (horse) species
  • any bird including ratite (emu)
  • rabbit
  • crocodile

Meat processing plants do not include:

  • abattoirs for red meat nor non-red meat 
  • game meat field depots
  • game meat processors
  • retail meat premises (butcheries).

Food Safety Controls

Food safety controls include the requirements for food handling from receipt to disposal. They also include food recall requirements.

Food Safety Program

Meat processing businesses need to develop and implement a documented food safety program.

This shows the business has examined its food production activities and identified all potential food safety hazards. It outlines how the hazards are controlled, corrective action if they are not controlled, a schedule for regular reviews of the program, and appropriate records to keep.

Product recalls

Any product recall needs to comply with the Code.

In addition, a food safety program needs to document procedures for product recall.

Product testing must be conducted in a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory.

Inspections and Audits

On a scheduled basis, meat and poultry processing plants will be audited by the Shire for compliance with requirements.

Compliance or regulatory action will be taken if required.

There are fees for audits and inspections, payable by the licence holder.

 

More information and contacts

For more information on food safety and food business approvals, please contact us.

Related legislation

Related pages