Food Industry Sectors in Australia

Australia’s food industry is made up of many different types of food businesses, which is why it’s broken into different food industry sectors.
March 14, 2016
By Sally Santacruz

Australia’s food industry is made up of many different types of food businesses, which is why it’s broken into different food industry sectors. 

It’s these industries that let a business know exactly what its food safety training needs are.

It’s essential for all food handlers to receive the proper training for their position and food business. After all, a hospital will have different food safety needs to a chocolate factory.

The food industries in Queensland, Victoria and the ACT are all very similar. In NSW though, food businesses are divided into just two industries. So, if you’re planning on changing food industries or moving interstate, be sure to check with your local food authorities if your food safety qualifications still apply.

In Queensland, Victoria and the ACT, the food industries are:

  • Hospitality
  • Retail
  • Health & Community
  • Food Processing, and
  • Transport & Distribution

In NSW, the food industries are:

  • Hospitality
  • Retail

When training to be a Food Safety Supervisor you first have to find out which industry you need to be qualified in. There are different units of competency for each of the industries and it’s up to you to make sure you train in the right one.

Retail food businesses that operate in NSW are regulated by the NSW Food Authority, which only recognises the retail and hospitality food sectors. This means that although it might seem like the health and community or food processing industry better suit your business, you must complete training in either a hospitality or retail industries in order to be issued the NSW Food Safety Supervisor Certificate.  

Statements of Attainment and the NSW Food Authority Food Safety Supervisor Certificate

There are different requirements to become a Food Safety Supervisor depending on where you live. Everywhere in Australia except NSW, you need to hold a nationally recognised Statement of Attainment with the units of competency for your food industry listed on it. In NSW, you will need to hold a nationally recognised Statement of Attainment with either the hospitality or retail units of competency listed on it and a NSW Food Authority Food Safety Supervisor Certificate.

Also, it’s important to know that in NSW you will only be issued with a NSW Food Safety Supervisor Certificate if you have completed the course with a NSW Food Authority pre-approved Registered Training Organisation.

Once you begin working as a Food Safety Supervisor it’s important to keep a copy of your Statement of Attainment and NSW Food Authority Food Safety Supervisor Certificate, if applicable, on the business premises. This is so your food safety authorities can see it if they need to.

Food Industry Sectors for Queensland, Victoria and the ACT.

The current units of competency that must be completed for each industry are outlined below, as well as some examples of businesses that are typically assigned to them:

Hospitality

The two units of competency specific to this food sector are:

  • SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety (this unit of competency supersedes SITXFSA101)
  • SITXFSA001 Participate in safe food handling practices (this unit of competency supersedes SITXFSA201)

This food sector is designed for food workers in the hospitality industry – for example restaurants, cafes, hotels, take-away stores. It’s also suited to workers at temporary sites such as events and conferences venues, and also for tour operators and market stall owners who prepare or serve food in the same location.

Retail

The unit of competency specific to this food sector is:

  • SIRRFSA001 Handle food safely in a retail environment 

This food sector applies to food workers in the retail sector who prepare, display and sell retail food – for example, supermarkets, delicatessens and convenience stores. It can also apply to businesses who prepare food in one location but sell it in another.

Health and Community

The units of competency specific to this food sector are:

  • 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

This food sector is designed for food handlers who work for organisations that prepare, handle or sell food for vulnerable people – for example, hospital catering, meals on wheels, nursing home catering and child care services.

Transport and Distribution

The units of competency specific to this food sector are:

  • SITXFSA001 Use hygienic practices for food safety (this unit of competency supersedes SITXFSA101)
  • SITXFSA002 Participate in safe food handling practices (this unit of competency supersedes SITXFSAS201)

This food sector is for food businesses that work in food and drink transportation including water carriers, warehouses and food delivery vehicles.

Food Processing

The units of competency specific to this food sector are:

  • FBPFSY1001 Follow work procedures to maintain food safety
  • FDFFS2001A Implement the food safety program and procedures

This food sector is designed for workers in food manufacturing – for example, flour mills, canneries, bakeries, breweries and winemakers.

Please note: Many local councils consider the retail and hospitality units of competency interchangeable. However, you are advised to contact them to check whether this applies to your situation.

Exceptions to the Food Industry Sectors

Depending on which state or territory you live in and what type of food business you work in, you might not fall under any of these food industry sectors. Food businesses that are considered primary producers, for example, dairies, meat processors or farms, are all subject to different rules. Many of these types of businesses will have a special industry regulator, such as PrimeSafe, which regulates Victoria’s meat, seafood, poultry and pet food industry.

The states and territories can also have different requirements for certain organisations, such as charity or non-for profit groups. In this case, your food safety needs will usually depend on what types of food you’re handling, how often it occurs and whether you’re planning on charging for your products.

If you don’t think that your business fits into one of the food industry sectors for your state or territory, you should contact your local council or state food authority to find out where you can find the information right for you.