Food Safety for food businesses

Food safety is critical for the success of any food business. Poor food handling practices contribute to the estimated 4.1 million cases1 of foodborne illness in Australia every year (1Kirk M, Ford L, Glass K, Hall G. Foodborne illness, Australia, circa 2000 and circa 2010).

Council is committed to protecting the health of our community by supporting food businesses in the City of Port Lincoln to adopt a strong food safety culture.

A food business as defined in the Food Act 2001 means a business, enterprise or activity (other than a business, enterprise or activity that is primary food production) that involves:

a) the handling of food intended for sale; or

b) the sale of food,

regardless of whether the business, enterprise or activity is concerned is of a commercial, charitable or community nature or whether it involves the handling or sale of food on one occasion only.

Food businesses include:

  • cafes, restaurants, takeaways, supermarkets, convenience stores, petrol stations, childcare centres, temporary food stalls, mobile food vans, home activities, fundraising events such as sausage sizzles, and any other activities involving the sale of food regardless of whether it is sold in its original packaging or not.

The sale of food includes where food is offered as part of a service or event, and it also includes food that is given away in the process of advertising a product or service (such as food samples). Food also includes drinks, including alcoholic beverages.

Food businesses operating in South Australia must comply with the Food Act 2001 and the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code.  Standard 3.2.2 Food safety practices and general requirements and Standard 3.2.3 Food premises and equipment of the Code contain the specific health and hygiene requirements.

Where permitted, businesses preparing food for sale in a domestic premises must also comply with these requirements.

Further information to assist home food businesses is available on the Food Safety Standards website.

Before commencing a food business, please contact Council's Development Services Team on 8621 2300 to check if planning approval is required.

Good food premises design, construction and fit-out will help to ensure ongoing compliance with all requirements and make operating your business easier for you and your staff.

Food businesses (other than a primary food production business) are required under Section 86 of the Food Act 2001, to notify their food business details to Council.

This can be done for free by completing the Food Business Notification (FBN) form and returning it to Council by:

Email: plcc@plcc.sa.gov.au

Post:
City of Port Lincoln
PO Box 1787
PORT LINCOLN SA 5606

In person:
City of Port Lincoln
Level One, Civic Centre
60 Tasman Terrace
PORT LINCOLN SA 5606

Online: via the SA Health website

Once your form has been processed, you will be issued with a unique FBN number.

The notification must be completed before the business commences and within 14 days of any changes in business details.

The Food Business Notification Number is to be referenced on any Council permit application where food and/or drink is to be sold.

Food businesses have responsibilities to ensure that staff who undertake or supervise food handling activities have the skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene for the work that they do.

Council offers free online food safety training called I’m Alert.  If you would like your staff to undertake the interactive online training click on the image below and you will be taken to the I'm Alert portal.

Other training options available to you and your staff:

  • SA Health has developed some training resources. If you would like a copy of these, please contact the Food Safety and Nutrition Branch.
  • a teaching institution such as TAFE SA
  • an industry association
  • My Skills - a database of registered training organisations and courses available in Australia

There are also a range of fact sheets and other food safety information available from:

To keep updated on food safety news and changes at a national level, including food recalls which may impact your business, you can sign up to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) free subscription service.

Council's Environmental Health Officer conducts random, unannounced inspections of food premises across the City of Port Lincoln area. These inspections assess compliance with the Food Act 2001 and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (particularly the National Food Safety Standards) including whether premises are clean, food handlers have appropriate skills and food is safely prepared and stored.

Food businesses will be issued with a copy of the inspection form which summarises the key aspects of the inspection. A follow up letter may be issued confirming the outcome of the inspection and providing additional information to business operators to assist them in complying with the legislation.

Council’s aim is to support local businesses to adopt a strong food safety culture and to comply with the above requirements without further intervention.  However, when serious breaches are identified or the business fails to improve practices despite warnings, enforcement action may be taken.

Enforcement action may include improvement notices, expiations (fines), prohibition orders or prosecution through the court system. The level of action taken will depend on the area of non-compliance and impact on public health.

Council encourages businesses to implement proactive programs to prevent the need for enforcement action.

A food recall is action taken by a food business to remove unsafe food from distribution, sale and consumption. All food businesses must be able to quickly remove food from sale to protect public health and safety. FSANZ coordinates and monitors food recalls in Australia, with the assistance of SA Health and local councils in South Australia.

You can access information regarding current food recalls via the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) website.

You can also receive alerts about food recalls by signing up to the FSANZ free subscription service.

Temporary food stalls are structures such as marquees that are used to sell food from at occasional events like a fete, market or show.

Mobile food vendors use food premises designed to be permanent but movable, including food vans, trucks and trailers for on-site food preparation (e.g. hamburgers, hot dogs and kebabs, coffee, juices, popcorn and fairy floss), and the sale of any type of food including pre-packaged food.

Temporary food and mobile food vending businesses must comply with the Food Act 2001 and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, like a fixed food premises. Some exemptions may apply, such as the exemption from the food business notification requirement for charities and community groups if only low-risk food is sold. If unsure contact Council’s Environmental Health Officer on 08 8621 2320 or email plcc@plcc.sa.gov.au for assistance.

Event organisers, as well as individual temporary food and mobile food vending business operators are requested to advise Council of their proposed activities by completing and returning the appropriate permits and application forms at least 4 weeks prior to the event or activity. This is to ensure appropriate approvals have been obtained (where required) and that adequate measures are in place to ensure the food safety requirements are complied with, and the health of the community is protected.

Council’s Environmental Health Officer may inspect the stall or vehicle at any time during the event. If serious breaches are identified, the business may be directed to cease trading until the breaches are rectified.

Council has developed a Fairs and Special Events factsheet which summarises the key requirements to assist community members in the planning and facilitation of events with regard to food safety. A more detailed guideline is available from the SA Health website.

If you have a concern with the food safety practices of a local food business please contact Council’s Environmental Health Officer on 8621 2300 or email your concern to: plcc@plcc.sa.gov.au.

For concerns about butchers and primary processing industries please contact PIRSA on 08 8429 0837 or email them at pirsa.foodsafety@sa.gov.au.

While most types of complaints are handled by the local Council that the food business is located in, some complaints will be reviewed by SA Health. These include:

  • undeclared allergens in food
  • labelling
  • food poisoning (for larger outbreaks)

If your food safety concerns relates to one of these issues, contact SA Health on 08 8226 7100 or email food@health.sa.gov.au.

If you suspect you have food poisoning please consult a doctor as soon as possible. A stool sample will be required to confirm diagnosis. If food poisoning infection is confirmed, the doctor will report their findings to SA Health.

More information about food complaints is available on the SA Health website.

Related information

Permits & Application Forms

Mobile Food Vendors

SafeWork SA - Food catering sites - keeping community events safe

Need more information

If you have any questions or require further information relating to food businesses, please contact:

City of Port Lincoln
Environmental Health Officer
9.00am - 5.00pm, Monday to Friday
Phone: 8621 2300
Email: plcc@plcc.sa.gov.au