Frequently Asked Questions

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

General Food Safety


A Food Safety Plan is a set of documents based on HACCP principles that identify potential food safety hazards in a food business. A Food Safety Plan is an important part of a Food Safety Program and is unique to each food business. Even the same type of food businesses will have different Food Safety Plans.


Most food businesses are legally required to have a Food Safety Plan as part of their Food Safety Program in Australia. A Food Safety Plan is essential for protecting the food business and customers from food safety incidents.

Having a Food Safety Program in place, including a Food Safety Plan, ensures that you are operating a safe food establishment.
 


The Australian Institute of Food Safety provides essential solutions for food business such as information and resources about Food Safety Programs and developing Food Safety Plans.

AIFS has created the HACCP Food Safety Plan Kit as a key program for food businesses that need help creating a Food Safety Program based on the 7 principles of HACCP. The kit breaks down complicated information into simple steps. All you have to do is follow along with the instructional videos and complete the provided templates and you'll have a compliant Food Safety Plan in no time. 

You can contact us directly for more information about Food Safety Plans, how to build a Food Safety Program and the HACCP Food Safety Plan Kit.


While the two terms may appear to be used interchangeably, they do not actually mean the same thing. A Food Safety Program is a set of procedures that a food business has in place in order to prevent food hazards and risks in the business. A Food Safety Plan is a key part of a Food Safety Program and includes written documents detailing potential hazards and risks, as well as corrective actions to take should those occur.


Yes. Having a Food Safety Plan is a legal requirement for most food businesses in Australia and is an essential part of your Food Safety Program.


The HACCP Food Safety Plan Kit is a one-stop shop for food businesses who need help creating a compliant Food Safety Plan based on the principles of HACCP. The kit comes with three HACCP training instructional videos and four Food Safety Plan templates that food businesses can use to create their own. There are also HACCP Plan examples to give food businesses an idea of how to fill out the templates and create their own Food Safety Plan. Food businesses can follow along with the videos and templates to create a tailored Food Safety Plan for their business.

There are additional resources provided such as an informative guide called the Complete Guide to HACCP as well as posters and other signage for your business.
 


Food Safety Plans need HACCP because the principles of HACCP are applied to all processes throughout the food supply chain and are key to managing food safety.

HACCP stands for ‘Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points’ and is a food safety and risk assessment plan that involves 12 steps and 7 principles. These HACCP steps and principles form the basis of Food Safety Programs.


Currently there are no regulatory bodies that govern or certify HACCP compliant Food Safety Programs. Food businesses are simply required to follow and implement HACCP principles in the business through a Food Safety Plan as part of their Food Safety Program.


For most food businesses in Australia, having a Food Safety Program based on the principles of HACCP is a legal requirement. Standard 3.2.1 of the Food Standards Code outlines this requirement.

Please consult your local authorities to find out the exact details of what your business requires. If you have any questions or need assistance building a Food Safety Program, please contact the AIFS support team.


Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) will check a food business’ Food Safety Plan when performing an audit. EHOs will review the Food Safety Program and the records you keep as part of your program. If you are found to not be compliant with the legal requirements for a Food Safety Program and Food Safety Plan, you can face fines or punishment.


Yes, we certainly can. An essential part of a Food Safety Program is a Food Safety Plan. The Australian Institute of Food Safety has developed the AIFS HACCP Food Safety Plan Kit specifically for food business that comes with everything you need to create a Food Safety Plan that is compliant and tailored to your business.

When building a Food Safety Program, you need to learn and understand the 7 principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP). The HACCP Food Safety Plan Kit covers everything you need to know about HACCP and then provides step-by-step instructions (with examples) of how to apply those principles to build a Food Safety Program for your business.

Creating a HACCP Food Safety Program and a Food Safety Plan can seem like a daunting task but the kit breaks down complicated information into simple steps. All you have to do is follow along with the instructional videos and complete the provided templates and you'll have a compliant Food Safety Plan in no time. Once your Food Safety Plan is created, all you have to do is implement it to have a Food Safety Program in your business.


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

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 & FBPFSY2001 Implement 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 & FBPFSY2001 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.


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: FBPFSY1001 Follow work procedures to maintain food safety & FBPFSY2001 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.


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.


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.

You will need to choose your food sector when you enrol in a Food Safety Supervisor course. The industries 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.


In Australia, there are two types of legislation: federal and state.

At the federal level, legislation is governed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

At the state level, each state has its own Food Safety Act that needs to be adhered to.

Food businesses must understand the food safety laws that apply to them in their specific state or territory.

Click here to find out more about the food safety laws by state and territory.


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.


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