NSW food safety legislation
As a food business owner or manager, you need to be sure you comply with:
- Federal government food safety laws
- NSW government food safety laws
- Local council legislation
If you don't comply, you risk being fined, prosecuted, or even having your business closed down.
Below, you'll find information on:
- all government requirements
- how to comply
- what happens if you don't comply
- who needs to do a Food Safety Supervisor Course
- other compliance information
New South Wales state laws and requirements
In NSW, food safety requirements are set by the Food Act 2003 (NSW) and the Food Regulation 2015 (NSW).
These Acts require that food sold in NSW is safe and suitable for human consumption and meets all standards set out in the Food Standards Code.
Food Safety in New South Wales is governed by the NSW Food Authority which comes under the Department of Primary Industries.
Together with NSW Health, the NSW Food Authority monitors food safety across the whole state. They make sure the food produced and sold in NSW meets all of the guidelines set out in the relevant state-based legislation.
Regulating & monitoring food safety in NSW
The NSW Food Authority is responsible for regulating and monitoring food safety across the entire NSW food industry. This includes:
- Food business licensing
- Conducting food business inspections (in partnership with local councils)
- Managing food labelling requirements
- Specifying food safety training requirements
- Operating the Scores on Doors scheme
- Publishing the NSW Name & Shame List
- Providing food recall information
Food safety training requirements
One of the key requirements in the NSW Food Act relates to food safety training.
Every food business must have at least one designated Food Safety Supervisor on staff at all times.
This person is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day implementation of food safety in the workplace and must be trained in the right way.
Food Safety Supervisor training
AIFS has been approved by the NSW Food Authority to deliver NSW specific Food Safety Supervisor training.
This includes three key areas:
- Safe egg handling
- Allergen management
- Cleaning and sanitising practices
When you complete training with AIFS, we'll provide you with a NSW Food Safety Supervisor Certificate (sometimes known as the 'Green Certificate') on behalf of the NSW Food Authority.
This must be displayed in the food business.
Once you receive your Food Safety Supervisor qualification, the certificate is valid for 5 years from the date of issue.
If your certificate is due to expire you'll need to complete the NSW Recertification course to receive re-certification issued by the NSW Food Authority.
Food businesses have 30 working days to ensure their appointed Food Safety Supervisor renews their training and obtains a new Food Safety Supervisor certification.
Federal & local laws and requirements
Federal government requirements
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is responsible for regulating the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, the over-arching standard for food safety in Australia.
The Code is split into four sections:
- Introduction and standards that apply to all food
- Food standards
- Food safety standards
- Primary production standards
Food Standards Code Governance
The Food Standards Code is governed by state and territory departments. In New South Wales, this is the NSW Food Authority.
Food safety training requirements
Training is covered in Food Safety Practices and General Requirements Standard 3.2.2 which states that:
‘A food business must ensure that all persons undertaking or supervising food handling operations have the necessary skills in food safety and food hygiene matters.’
This means that anyone who handles or prepares food, serves food, transports food or cleans food equipment and utensils must undergo food safety training if they don't already have the required skills.
The easiest way to make sure you’re meeting the federal requirements is by completing a food safety training course, such as the Food Handlers course provided by AIFS.
Local council requirements
Local councils are usually responsible for food business registration, monitoring compliance, providing education and advice, and taking enforcement action when needed.
Both state and federal requirements are enforced at a local level through Health Inspectors employed by local councils.
Health Inspectors play an important role in monitoring food safety. They have the authority to:
- Enter a food business property at any time
- Enter without permission
- Request evidence that the correct food safety training has been performed
- Go into any area of a food business
- Take samples
- Issue infringement notices (fines)
- Close the business immediately - if it's deemed to be a serious public health risk
What happens if I don't comply?
If a food business fails to meet these food safety training requirements, the consequences are serious.
Suspended or cancelled licence
For serious offences, food business licences may be suspended or cancelled. This effectively closes your food business and prevents further trading.
Fines (penalty notices) may be issued for each offence committed. These often run into tens of thousands of dollars.
For serious breaches of legislation, the NSW Food Authority may prosecute employees, proprietors, managers and/or individual company directors.
Added to a Name & Shame list
In NSW, the names of food businesses that have breached food safety legislation are available to the public via a 'Name & Shame' list.
Prohibition or seizure orders
When public health is at risk, your business may be forbidden to handle food and you may have food seized from your premises and destroyed.
Brand & reputation damage
If a serious food safety incident occurs and is widely reported in the media, your business could struggle to recover its reputation.