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 that 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
Western Australian Government Resources
The Western Australian Government has created a great online resource for community groups selling food to raise money.
Contact your local council’s Environmental Health Officer if in doubt over food safety regulations.
For further information contact your local council. Or phone the WA Department of Health on (08) 9222 4222
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