Food Safety for Businesses
Food safety is critical for the success of any food business. Poor food handling practices contribute to the estimated 4.1 million cases of foodborne illness in Australia every year.
Council is committed to protecting the health of our community by supporting food businesses in the District Council of Yankalilla area to adopt a strong food safety culture.
What is a Food Business?
A food business as defined in the Food Act 2001 means a business, enterprise or activity (other than a business, enterprise or activity that is primary food production) that involves:
- the handling of food intended for sale; or
- the sale of food,
regardless of whether the business, enterprise or activity concerned is of a commercial, charitable or community nature or whether it involves the handling or sale of food on one occasion only.
Food businesses include:
- cafes, restaurants, takeaways, supermarkets, convenience stores, petrol stations, childcare centres, temporary food stalls, mobile food vans, home activities, fundraising events such as sausage sizzles, and any other activities involving the sale of food regardless of whether it is sold in its original packaging or not.
The sale of food includes where food is offered as part of a service or event, and it also includes food that is given away in the process of advertising a product or service (such as food samples). Food also includes drinks, including alcoholic beverages.
Food Safety Requirements
Food businesses operating in South Australia must comply with the Food Act 2001 and the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code. Standard 3.2.2 Food Safety Practices and General Requirements and Standard 3.2.3 Food Premises and Equipment contain the specific health and hygiene requirements.
Where permitted, businesses preparing food for sale in a domestic premises must also comply with these requirements.
Starting a Food Business
Before commencing a food business, please contact Council's Development team to check if planning approval is also required.
Good food premises design, construction and fit-out will help to ensure ongoing compliance with all requirements and make operating your business easier for you and your staff.
Food businesses (other than a primary food production business) are required under Section 86 of the Food Act 2001, to notify their food business details to Council.
This can be done for free by completing the Food Business Notification (FBN) form and returning it to Council.
Once your form has been processed, you will be issued with a unique FBN number.
The notification must be completed before the business commences and within 14 days of any changes in business details.
New Food Business - Self Assessment Checklist
Food Safety Training
Food businesses have responsibilities to ensure that staff who undertake or supervise food handling activities have the skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene for the work that they do.
Training options available to you and your staff:
- SA Health has developed some training resources. If you would like a copy of these, please contact the Food Safety and Nutrition Branch
- a teaching institution such as TAFE SA
- an industry association
- My Skills - a database of registered training organisations and courses available in Australia
There are also a range of fact sheets and other food safety information available from:
- SA Health Food Standards information
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Food Safety hub
- The food safety agencies of other Australian states and territories such as Victoria , NSW and Queensland
- National Allergy Strategy Training for food service - an initiative of the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) and Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA)
Food Business Inspections
Council's Environmental Health Officer conducts random, unannounced inspections of food premises across the Council area. These inspections assess compliance with the Food Act 2001 and the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code (particularly the National Food Safety Standards) including whether premises are clean, food handlers have appropriate skills and food is safely prepared and stored.
Food businesses will be issued with a copy of the inspection form which summarises the key aspects of the inspection. A follow up letter may be issued confirming the outcome of the inspection and providing additional information to business operators to assist them in complying with the legislation.
Penalties and Enforcement
Council’s aim is to support local businesses to adopt a strong food safety culture and to comply with the above requirements without further intervention. However, when serious breaches are identified or the business fails to improve practices despite warnings, enforcement action may be taken.
Enforcement action may include improvement notices, expiations (fines), prohibition orders or prosecution through the court system. The level of action taken will depend on the area of non-compliance and impact on public health.
Council encourages businesses to implement proactive programs to prevent the need for enforcement action.
A food recall is action taken by a food business to remove unsafe food from distribution, sale and consumption. All food businesses must be able to quickly remove food from sale to protect public health and safety. FSANZ coordinates and monitors food recalls in Australia, with the assistance of SA Health and local councils in South Australia.
You can access information regarding current food recalls via the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) website.
You can also receive alerts about food recalls by signing up to the FSANZ free subscription service.
Temporary Food Stalls and Mobile Food Vendors
Temporary Food Stalls are structures such as marquees that are used to sell food from at occasional events like a fete, market or show. Click Here for Temporary Food Premises Application.
Mobile Food Vendors use food premises designed to be permanent but movable, including food vans, trucks and trailers for on-site food preparation (e.g. hamburgers, hot dogs and kebabs, coffee, juices, popcorn and fairy floss), and the sale of any type of food including pre-packaged food.
Temporary food and mobile food vending businesses must comply with the Food Act 2001 and the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code, like a fixed food premises. Some exemptions may apply, such as the exemption from the food business notification requirement for charities and community groups if only low-risk food is sold.
Event organisers, as well as individual temporary food and mobile food vending business operators are requested to advise Council of their proposed activities by completing and returning the appropriate permits and application forms at least 4 weeks prior to the event or activity. This is to ensure appropriate approvals have been obtained (where required) and that adequate measures are in place to ensure the food safety requirements are complied with, and the health of the community is protected. Click here for permit/application information.
Council’s Environmental Health Officer may inspect the stall or vehicle at any time during the event. If serious breaches are identified, the business may be directed to cease trading until the breaches are rectified.
Food Complaints - Who do I Report them to?
If you have a concern with the food safety practices of a local food business please contact Council’s Environmental Health Officer on (08) 8558 0200 or email your concern to: email@example.com
While most types of complaints are handled by the local Council that the food business is located in, some complaints will be reviewed by SA Health. These include:
- undeclared allergens in food
- food poisoning (for larger outbreaks)
If your food safety concerns relates to one of these issues, contact SA Health on 08 8226 7100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you suspect you have food poisoning please consult a doctor as soon as possible. A stool sample will be required to confirm diagnosis. If food poisoning infection is confirmed, the doctor will report their findings to SA Health.
More information about food complaints is available on the SA Health website.
Food Hygiene at Home
Approximately a third of all food poisoning cases in Australia occur in the home.
Bacteria and viruses can cause food borne disease and you can not necessarily tell by the look, smell or taste of the food if it is unsafe.
Tips for Food Safety at Home
- Store raw meat, fish and poultry at the bottom of the fridge. Ensure that blood and juices do not drip onto other food.
- Cover all foods with plastic film to protect them from contamination or store them in suitable containers with lids.
- Cool hot food quickly. Cool food on the bench only until steam stops rising then place the hot food directly into the fridge or freezer.
- Thaw frozen food in the fridge overnight unless the manufacturer directs otherwise.
- Wash hands in hot soapy water for around 30 seconds before any food handling. Ensure that hands are regularly washed during food preparation, particularly after touching raw foods, the body, garbage and pets. Thoroughly dry hands on a paper towel.
- Use separate chopping boards, utensils and serving platters for ready-to-eat food, such as salad, vegetables, and raw foods such as meat. This prevents cross contamination from raw foods to ready-to-eat foods.
- When cooking processed meats, pork and poultry, ensure they are cooked thoroughly and their juices run clear.
- Always reheat to steaming hot. This will kill any nasties. When reheating in the microwave, make sure that food is steaming throughout and not just on the edges.
- Clean all work surfaces, dirty dishes and utensils well with hot soapy water, rinse with clean hot water and dry them thoroughly with a clean tea towel or preferably let air dry.
Selling Food in SA
In South Australia, under Section 86 of the Food Act all food businesses must notify the appropriate enforcement agency before starting food handling operations.
The District Council of Yankalilla is the appropriate enforcement agency in this area.
Before you notify and start operating your food business, it is recommended that you contact Council’s Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to make sure you know what requirements your business needs to meet. The EHO may also discuss your business’ risk classification, if appropriate and will be able to advise you of any inspections that may be required as well as any fees that might apply.
All food businesses in South Australia are required to comply with food safety legislation including:
- Food Act 2001
- Food Regulations 2017
- Relevant sections of the Food Standards Code; and the
- Public Health (Notifiable Contaminants) Regulations 2020.
What is a Food Business?
Under the Food Act 2001 a food business means a business, enterprise or activity (other than a primary food production business) that involves:
- The handling of food intended for sale; or
- The sale of food
Regardless of whether the business, enterprise or activity concerned is of a commercial, charitable or community nature or whether it involves the handling or sale of food on one occasion only.
Put simply a food business is any business or charity that sells food.
Examples of food businesses include cafés, caterers, food trucks, hotels, manufacturers, restaurants, service stations, supermarkets, catering and bed and breakfast type activities. This also includes “not for profit” community organisations fundraising, market stalls, etc.
All food businesses, from major food manufacturers to a local church group that holds a one-off food fair, have defined responsibilities under the legislation to ensure they make and sell safe food.
How do I Notify?
All food businesses must, before starting food handling operations, notify the Council of their existence by lodging a completed Food Business Notification (FBN) form.
Failure to Notify
If a food business does not notify the appropriate enforcement agency before starting, penalties and/or expiation fees under Section 86 of the Food Act 2001 may be applied.
Additional Notification Information
- If a business has multiple food premises, a separate notification form is required for each site.
- If there are any changes to the ownership, contact details, location or nature of the food business the business must notify the Council of the changes before the changes take place.
- There is no fee for notification.
- Mobile food businesses such as food trucks must notify the Council where the vehicle is normally garaged.
What Training do I Need?
In SA, food handling staff are not required to hold formal qualifications or attend a training course, however it is important (and a legal requirement) that food handlers have appropriate food safety and food hygiene skills and knowledge in line with the work they do. Council’s EHO can provide advice on what suitable training may be available.
What is a Primary Food Production Business?
Under Section 7 of the Food Act 2001, primary food production refers to the growing, raising, cultivation, picking, harvesting, collection or catching of food and associated onsite activities, with the exception of any ‘substantial transformation of food’, direct sale of food to the public or activities is regulated under the Primary Produce (Food Safety Schemes) Act.
If your business activities are deemed primary food production, you are not required to notify Council. However, there may be primary industries legislation that applies to your business where you may require accreditation.
There are also some activities where a business may be captured under primary food production as well as food business activities.
Visit the PIRSA Food Safety website for more information on primary food production.