Unfortunately, there is currently no national standard for administering food safely in Australia.
There are different requirements in each state and territory of Australia relating to organisations seeking to raise funds through the selling of food.
Local council requirements
Local councils are usually responsible for food business registration, monitoring compliance, providing education and advice, and taking enforcement action when needed.
If your club is selling, or considering selling food then it is important that you contact your local council to find out the specific requirements. While there are many reasons for such a strong focus on food handling, two of the most important things to ensure is:
- food is stored at the correct temperature to prevent “food poisoning” bacteria from growing
- food is labelled correctly so people know exactly what they are eating
The ramifications if these tasks are not done correctly can be significant and in rare cases even fatal.
A good place to start is to search your local council’s website for food safety information and requirements. Your local council is likely to regularly run training courses to ensure those involved in food handling are meeting their obligations.
Local councils administer their responsibilities at the local level, through Health Inspectors which they employ.
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
Department of Health
Northern Territory Government has created a great online resource for community groups selling food to raise money. This information can be accessed here
This website has really information such as permit requirements, food handling tips, training requirements and information relating to allergies and intolerances for common food based fundraising activities such as:
- Sausage sizzles
- Cake stalls
- Hamburger stands
- Temporary and mobile food locations
- Selling high risk foods
More Department of Health information can be accessed here
For further information contact your local council or Northern Territory Government switch on (08) 8999 5511.