Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to your questions with the Australian Institute of Food Safety's Frequently Asked Questions section.

General Food Safety


Unfortunately, the Australian Institute of Food Safety doesn’t currently offer any services to help businesses build their food safety program. But we do offer our students a free template to help get them started.

When building your food safety program, you need to learn about and understand the 7 principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP). There are a number of ways you can do this. One is to take a HACCP specific course such as the one offered by HACCPSAFE. Another option is to complete our Food Safety Supervisor course, which covers the HACCP system in detail.

Once you have the knowledge, you’ll be able to start building your food safety program. To give you some idea about how to do this and to explain what the environmental health officers will be looking for when they review your plan, we’ve put together a Food Safety Supervisor Guide to Building a Food Safety Program

If you’re after more information on how to build a food safety program for your business, then it’s a good idea to check out your local food authority’s website. Many of these websites have sample food safety programs and templates for businesses to download. And because they’re involved in regulating food safety in your business, they’re often the best people to talk to!


Food poisoning affects millions of Australians every year and can be hard to diagnose because it has similar symptoms to the flu and stomach viruses. Also because food poisoning can occur hours, days or even weeks later, determining the actual cause of the illness is not always easy. You might have eaten something that looked, smelled and tasted fine but was actually contaminated with harmful bacteria.

If you think you could be suffering from any type of food poisoning, then you’re encouraged to visit a medical professional.

For heaps of useful information on food poisoning, including tips on how to lower the risk of getting it, check out our handy survival guide


Whether you need a Food Safety Supervisor in your home-based food business will depend on where your business is located and what types of food you’re preparing and selling.

If you need to register or licence your home-based food business with your council, then they will be able to tell you if you’re required to nominate a Food Safety Supervisor.

Even if you’re preparing food from home, you’ll still have to show your local food authority that your premises meet all of its regulations for food handling. This could mean holding a certain licence, employing a Food Safety Supervisor and/or building a food safety program. This is the same for sole traders.

Many licensable food businesses in Australia must have a Food Safety Supervisor if they serve:

  • Ready-to-eat food,
  • Potentially hazardous food, or
  • Food not sold and served in its package.

The general rule is that if you are in a state or territory with this legislation, and your food business requires a licence, it requires a Food Safety Supervisor.

Appointing a Food Safety Supervisor is mandatory in:

  • New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • Victoria
  • Australian Capital Territory

If your food business is registered in one of the above states, you will most likely be legally required to notify your local government with the details of your nominated Food Safety Supervisor.

A Food Safety Supervisor is highly recommended, but not mandatory, in:

  • Western Australia
  • Tasmania
  • South Australia
  • Northern Territory

For more information on the food safety requirements for your state or territory, you can visit our dedicated pages.

  • Food Safety Regulations in Queensland
  • Food Safety Regulations in New South Wales
  • Food Safety Regulations in Victoria
  • Food Safety Regulations in the ACT

There are three different types of food contamination - chemical, physical and biological.

All foods are at risk of becoming contaminated, which increases the chance of the food making someone sick. It’s important to know how food can become contaminated so that you can protect against it.

Chemical contamination refers to food that has been contaminated by some type of chemical substance. Because chemicals can be very useful when cleaning in the kitchen, they can easily contaminate food. Chemicals must be properly labelled and stored separately for foodstuff to minimise the risk of contamination.

There are also chemicals that occur naturally in foods, like toxins in some fish, and in some cases, minimal chemical contamination might not actually lead to illness. However, the food handler must always be aware of the presence of chemicals in food and take all reasonable precautions to make sure that chemical contamination doesn’t happen.

Biological contamination refers to food that’s contaminated by substances produced by living creatures – such as humans, rodents, pests or microorganisms. This includes bacterial contamination, viral contamination or parasite contamination that’s transferred through saliva, pest droppings, blood or faecal matter. Bacterial contamination is thought to be the most common cause of food poisoning worldwide, and the best way to protect against it occurring is by maintaining the best food safety practices.

Physical contamination refers to food that has been contaminated by a foreign object at some stage of the production process. These objects have the ability to injure someone and can also potentially carry harmful biological contaminants, which then cause illness. An additional consequence of physical contamination is the upset caused to the person who finds the object. Things like band-aids, fingernails and pieces of cooking equipment are the last thing you would like to find in your meal.


Queensland food businesses fall under one of the five different food industry sectors - retail, hospitality, health and community, food processing or transport and distribution.

Below is a list of the Queensland food sectors, including their units of competency:

Retail: SIRRFSA001 Apply Retail Food Safety Practices

Hospitality: SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety & SITXFSA002 Participate in safe food handling practices

Health and community: HLTFSE001 Follow basic food safety practice & HLTFSE007 Oversee the day-to-day implementation of food safety in the workplace & HLTFSE005 Apply and monitor food safety requirements

Food processing: FBPFSY1001 Follow work procedures to maintain food safety & FDFFS2001AImplement the food safety program and procedures

Transport and distribution: SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety & SITXFSA002 Participate in safe food handling practices

Before beginning any Food Safety Supervisor training, it’s a good idea to contact your local council or state government to find out which units of competency you need to complete, in order to be qualified to work as a Food Safety Supervisor. 


Food businesses in the ACT will fall into one of five food industry sectors – retail, hospitality, health and community services, food processing, or transport and distribution.

The units of competency for each are outlined below, as well as some examples of the types of food businesses which fall into each food sector:

Retail: SIRRFSA001 Apply Retail Food Safety Practices

The retail food sector includes food businesses that prepare and sell food via retail - for example, convenience stores and service stations, supermarkets, delicatessens, retail markets and stalls, greengrocers and take-away stores.

Hospitality: SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety & SITXFSA002 Participate in safe food handling practices

The hospitality food sector includes hospitality businesses that prepare and sell food in the same location - for example, restaurants, cafés, hotels, caterers, bars and pubs.

Health and community services: HLTFSE001 Follow basic food safety practice & HLTFSE007 Oversee the day-to-day implementation of food safety in the workplace & HLTFSE005 Apply and monitor food safety requirements

The health and community services food sector refers to food businesses which handle, prepare or sell food to vulnerable people - for example, food prepared for hospitals, nursing homes, hostels, meals on wheels and childcare centres.

Food processing: FBPFSY1001 Follow work procedures to maintain food safety & FDFFS2001AImplement the food safety program and procedures

The food processing food sector includes food businesses that manufacture food - for example, wholesale bakeries, airline caterers, breweries, flour mills, pre‐prepared meals and wineries.

Transport and distribution: SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety & SITXFSA002 Participate in safe food handling practices

The transport and distribution food sector includes food businesses that do not actually prepare food but instead handle, store or transport food - for example, food distributors, water carriers and warehouses.


Food businesses in Victoria are divided into different food industry sectors - retail, hospitality, health and community, food processing, and transport and distribution. 

The units of competency for each are outlined below, as well as some examples of the types of food businesses which fall into each food sector:

Retail: SIRRFSA001 Apply Retail Food Safety Practices

The retail food sector includes food businesses that prepare and sell food via retail - for example, convenience stores and service stations, supermarkets, delicatessens, retail markets and stalls, greengrocers and take-away stores.

Hospitality: SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety & SITXFSA002 Participate in safe food handling practices

The hospitality food sector includes hospitality businesses that prepare and sell food in the same location - for example, restaurants, cafés, hotels, caterers, bars and pubs.

Health and community services: HLTFSE001 Follow basic food safety practice & HLTFSE007 Oversee the day-to-day implementation of food safety in the workplace & HLTFSE005 Apply and monitor food safety requirements

The health and community services food sector refers to food businesses which handle, prepare or sell food to vulnerable people - for example, food prepared for hospitals, nursing homes, hostels, meals on wheels and childcare centres.

Food processing: FDFFS1001A Follow work procedures to maintain food safety & FDFFS2001A Implement the food safety program and procedures

The food processing food sector includes food businesses that manufacture food - for example, wholesale bakeries, airline caterers, breweries, flour mills, pre‐prepared meals and wineries.

Transport and distribution: SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety & SITXFSA002 Participate in safe food handling practices

The transport and distribution food sector includes food businesses that do not actually prepare food but instead handle, store or transport food - for example, food distributors, water carriers and warehouses.


Knowing which industry your food business falls under, and subsequently which training course you need to complete, can be hard. The reason you have to choose an industry is that the statement of attainment you’re awarded for Food Safety Supervisor training is industry specific.

Food businesses have different training requirements because they’re all so different. Each business is categorised into an industry, also known as a food sector, depending on what type of business it is, what type of food it handles and where it’s located. The different industries have different training requirements, and if you want to work as the Food Safety Supervisor, you have to complete the units of competency suitable for your industry.

Towards the end of your course, you may be asked to select a food industry. The industries that you can choose from are:

  • Hospitality
  • Retail
  • Health & community
  • Food processing
  • Transport & distribution

Please note: If you’re in NSW, only the retail and hospitality industries are recognised by the NSW Food Authority.

If you are participating in the Advanced Food Safety course or the Food Handler course you don’t need to select your industry.

To learn more about each industry, and the associated units of competency, you can visit this article.


There are only two food sectors, also known as food industries, recognised in NSW - hospitality and retail.

The NSW Food Authority generally doesn’t differentiate between the two, which means that you can complete either; the two hospitality units of competency; or the one retail unit of competency, to be considered a Food Safety Supervisor. We have listed the units below:

RETAIL: SIRRFSA001 Apply Retail Food Safety Practices

HOSPITALITY: SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety & SITXFSA002 Participate in safe food handling practices

Also, it’s important to note that the NSW Food Authority will only recognise training if it’s delivered by a registered training organisation (RTO) that has been approved by the Authority - such as the Australian Institute of Food Safety.