The Food Act 2006 (the Act) is the main food safety legislation in Queensland and applies to all Queensland food businesses.
The objectives of the Act are to:
- ensure food for sale is safe and suitable for human consumption
- to prevent misleading conduct in relation to the sale of food
- to apply the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
Please note that the Act does not apply to the following however:
- the handling or sale of food at a tuckshop operated by a parents and citizens association at a State school; or
- the handling, at a person’s home, of food intended to be given away to a non-profit organisation for sale by the organisation.
There are a number of serious offences under the Act for which local governments have joint responsibility with the State within their respective local government areas:
- Section 32 - Handling food in an unsafe way
- Section 33 - Sale of unsafe food
- Section 35 - Handling and sale of unsafe food
- Section 36 - Handling and sale of unsuitable food
- Section 39 (1) - Compliance with the food standards code in relation to the conduct of a food business, or food intended for sale, or for sale.
How Council Undertakes Monitoring and Enforcement of the Act
It is important to remember that laws carry penalties which are legally binding. Local Governments can choose from a number of ways to enforce laws including verbal warnings, notices, on-the-spot fines (penalty infringement notices), cancellation of licences, court action and even the confiscation of property.
Burke Shire Council contracts tertiary qualified Environmental Health Officers to conduct monitoring and enforcement of the Act in accordance with:
- Burke Shire Council's applicable policies and procedures (including Council's Food Enforcement Decision Procedure and Conducting Inspections Procedure),
- Applicable Legislative requirements, and
- In accordance with the guidance provided by Queensland Health in its document titled 'Monitoring and Enforcement of the Food Act 2006'
Application of the Food Standards Code
All food businesses in Australia must comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Food Standards Code). The Food Standards Code is a bi-national standard that is adopted by all Australian States and Territories (and New Zealand) into their own food legislation. It covers:
- standards for food safety and hygiene
- fit-out of food premises
- labelling, composition and advertising of food.
The Food Safety Standards are part of the Food Standards Code and apply across Australia. The standards reflect international best practice. They outline the obligations of food businesses in relation to:
- Food safety practices and general requirements (Standard 3.2.2)
- Food premises and equipment (Standard 3.2.3).
Note: The enforcement of the Food Standards Code in Queensland is a joint responsibility of Queensland Health and Local Government.
For further information on the Food Standards Code see:
- Food Safety Standards and Food Standards Code
- Safe Food Australia a useful plain language guide that explains the Food Safety Standards which requirements to minimise food safety risks.
Application of the new 3.2.2A Standard
Standard 3.2.2A is a new food national food safety standard that aims to improve food safety and support consumer confidence.
From 08 December 2023, food service, caterer and related retail businesses in Australia need to meet new food safety requirements in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
It applies to Australian businesses in food service, catering and retail sectors that handle unpackaged, potentially hazardous food that is ready to eat.
The Standard 3.2.2A introduces new requirements for specified categories of food businesses which will need to have:
- a food safety supervisor that has been certified within the past five years
- training for food handlers
- evidence tools (record keeping)
The Standard will not apply to:
- the handling of food for or at a fundraising event
- businesses that only manufacture or wholesale food
- other food businesses that are not serving or retailing unpackaged food that is potentially hazardous and ready to eat (e.g., service station selling food that remains in its original packaging, coffee van that only sells food that is not potentially hazardous).
Food Business Categories
The standard classifies businesses into two categories:
A category one business must implement all three management tools and is a food business that:
- is a caterer or a food service; and
- processes unpackaged potentially hazardous food, into a food that is:
- potentially hazardous food; and
- ready-to-eat food.
- takeaway outlets
A category two business must put in place a food safety supervisor and implement food handler training. A category two business is a food business that offers for food for retail sale that is:
- potentially hazardous food; and
- ready-to-eat food, where that food was received unpackaged by the food business or was unpackaged by the food business after receipt; and was not made or processed by the food business.
- market stalls
- service stations
- convenience stores
Food Safety Supervisor Certification
All licensed food businesses in Queensland already require a food safety supervisor that is reasonably available to all food handlers at the food business and to the licensing local government.
The change means that:
- A food safety supervisor certificate for category one and category two food businesses must be obtained from a registered training organisation (RTO) for the national competencies appropriate for their food sector.
Food Handler Training
Food handlers for category one and category two food businesses must have appropriate food safety skills and knowledge to handle potentially hazardous foods. Food handlers must have completed a food safety training course or have skills and knowledge of food safety and hygiene matters commensurate with their work activities.
A food handler training course must include information on:
- safe handling of food; and
- food contamination; and
- cleaning and sanitising of food premises and equipment; and
- personal hygiene.
Evidence of Food Safety Practices for Category One Business
Category one businesses are required to substantiate food safety management of prescribed activities. This means that records of critical food safety risks must be maintained, or management of food safety activities must be demonstrated through other suitable means to an environmental health officer. The prescribed activities in Standard 3.2.2A relate to:
- receipt, storage, display and transport (if applicable) of potentially hazardous foods under temperature control
- adequate processing (e.g., cooking, acidifying, fermenting) of potentially hazardous foods.
- minimisation of the time potentially hazardous foods are out of temperature control during processing.
- cooling of potentially hazardous foods within the specified time and temperature limits.
- reheating of potentially hazardous foods rapidly to the required temperature.
- adequate cleaning and sanitisation of food surfaces and equipment.
A ‘record’ means a document or object in any form (including electronic) that is kept for information it contains or that can be obtained from it (e.g., photos, video, entries on paper record templates, or electronic templates).
Records must be kept for 3 months.
Further information and Templates
The complete Food Standards Code, Standard 3.2.2A can be accessed here.
Queensland Health provide further information here.
Evidence templates can be accessed here.
Do I need a food business licence?
Under the Food Act 2006 most food businesses need to carry a food business licence with Council.
Who needs a food business licence?
You need to apply for a food business licence from Council if your business:
- manufactures food (making food by combining ingredients)
- sells unpackaged food by retail for example:
- café, restaurant or bar
- takeaway food shop
- is a non-profit organisation and sells:
- on at least 12 days each financial year
- meals prepared by your organisation at a particular place.
Who does not need a food business licence?
If your food business consists only of one or more of the following, you do not need a food business licence:
- the production of primary produce under an accreditation issued under the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000, part 5 (for example the Meat Scheme, Seafood Scheme, Dairy Scheme and Egg Scheme). The regulation of this Act is the responsibility of Safe Food Production Queensland.
- the sale of unpackaged snack food (e.g., cakes and biscuit without cream or custard, confectionary, potato chips, nuts)
- the sale of whole fruit or vegetables
- the sale of seeds, spices, dried herbs, tea leaves, coffee beans or ground coffee
- the grinding of coffee beans
- the sale of drinks (other than fruit or vegetable juice processed at the place of sale) including, for example, tea, coffee, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks
- the sale of ice including flavoured ice
- the sale of food by a non-profit organisation that meets the exemption criteria
How to make application for a food licence
How to make application
There are two types of applications:
1. A new licence application for the following premises types.
- fixed food business,
- temporary, and
2. An amendment application - to amend the details of the food business of structure of the premises.
The application for approval must be submitted by a legal entity, such as an individual or a company. Please note that trust names, business names, or shop names are not considered legal entities and cannot hold the approval.
The applicant must meet certain criteria to be considered suitable. The Council will evaluate the application by assessing the suitability of the premises and the person to carry on the food business.
In considering the suitability of the food premises Council will assess:
1. The suitability of the premises against the food standards code, standard 3.2.3.A
a. guide to the fit out of food premises can be accessed here.
2. The suitability of the person or legal entity to hold a food licence.
a. In considering the suitability of the person to hold a licence, Council will assess the applicant's:
i. expertise and knowledge in selling safe and appropriate food,
ii. any previous convictions for relevant offenses, and
iii. any history of suspension, cancellation, or refusal of a food license.
To acquire a food license for fixed, mobile, or temporary premises, you are required to submit to Council a completed application form along with the applicable fee. The form may be accessed here and returned to Council via:
|By email to:||email@example.com|
|In person at:||
Burke Shire Council
Lot 65 Musgrave Street
Burketown Qld 4830
|Via post to:||
PO Box PO Box 90
Burketown Qld 4830
Making a Compliant About a Food Business
If you wish to report a complaint or concern regarding the conduct of a food business, or in relation to the safety and suitability of food, you may lodge a complaint online with Queensland Health here.
Alternatively, you may lodge a complaint directly with Council by contacting us here.
Council does not investigate concerns about: