QLD food safety legislation
As a food business owner or manager, you need to be sure you comply with:
- Federal government food safety laws
- QLD 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
Queensland state laws and requirements
In Queensland, food safety requirements are set by the Food Act 2006 (QLD).
This Act requires that food sold in QLD is safe and suitable for human consumption and meets all standards set out in the Food Standards Code.
Food Safety in Queensland is a joint responsibility of QLD Health and local government.
Regulating & monitoring food safety in QLD
QLD Health is responsible for regulating and monitoring food safety across the entire Queensland food industry. This includes:
- Food business licensing
- Conducting food business inspections (in partnership with local councils)
- Specifying food safety training requirements
Food safety training requirements
One of the key requirements in Queensland relates to food safety training.
In Queensland, 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
QLD Health advise that the Food Safety Supervisor for a business may be:
- the licensee
- an employee
They recommend there may be more than one Food Safety Supervisor for a business.
Food Safety Supervisors must have completed specific nationally recognised Food Safety Supervisor training.
AIFS has been approved to deliver Food Safety Supervisor training in Queensland.
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, which is 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 Queensland, this is Queensland Health.
Food safety 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 are authorised 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
Brisbane City Council
In Queensland, Brisbane City Council is very active in the promotion of food safety.
It operates the popular 'Eat Safe' campaign which rates food businesses on their levels of food safety, with a star rating between 1 (the lowest score) and 5 (the highest).
Each year, Brisbane City Council releases a 'Name & Shame' list for food businesses that have breached food safety legislation within the past 12 months.
What happens if I don't comply?
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, QLD Health may prosecute proprietors, managers and/or individual company directors.
Added to a Name & Shame list
Certain QLD councils publish a 'Name & Shame' list every year, with details of food businesses that have breached food safety legislation.
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.