Public Health - Food
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A partnership was formed between the 128 local councils in NSW and the NSW Food Authority in 2008. The objectives of the partnership are safer food for consumers, strengthen the food safety response capacity of NSW State and local government agencies, and better use of local and State government resources in particular avoiding duplication of food regulation services.
The partnership served to formalize the food surveillance role of local councils in the retail food sector, improve consistency, provide support assistance and training for councils, and to provide evidence that the objectives of the partnership are achieved.
Ballina Shire Council was appointed as a ‘Category B’ enforcement agency under the Food Act when the partnership was established.
The previous year summary report of local government food surveillance activities is available on the NSW Food Authority’s website www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au.
Council maintains a register of commercial premises that are inspected as part of its food surveillance role.
Enquiries about the registration of new or existing food businesses (also covers market/event food stalls and mobile food vendors) are to be directed to Council’s Environmental Health Officer on 6686 1210.
New food premises requiring change of use or internal fit-out will require Council approval. Initial enquiries should be made to Council’s town planning or building section by calling 1300 864 444 during office hours.
Consumer concerns about food premises operating in Ballina Shire are taken seriously.
Any reports of premises or equipment not being clean, unhygienic handling of food, suspected food related illness, pests or any other food related concerns can be reported by emailing Council’s Environmental Health Officer at email@example.com or by calling 6686 1210 during office hours.
To ensure that any concern is properly addressed, further details are sometimes required, so please provide your return contact details. All personal details are kept confidential.
Food premises in NSW are required to be designed and constructed in accordance with Australian Food Standards 3.1.1, 3.2.2 and 3.2.3. This is to ensure that food is handled in a hygienic environment.
To assist in complying with the provisions of the Food Standards a state-wide guideline has been developed:
Knowledge of AS 4674 – 2004 is also recommended to assist in ensuring compliance with the construction provisions of the Australian Food Standards. If you wish to purchase a copy of the Australian Standard contact SAI Global.
Restaurants, Cafes, Bakeries and Caterers that prepare raw egg products are required to use a safer alternative and follow safe handling practices.
Products with raw eggs have been responsible for some of the largest foodborne illness outbreaks in NSW. The disease causing organism Salmonella may be found on the shell surface of whole eggs which then contaminate foods. Implicated foods have included egg dressing such as aioli, mayonnaise, egg butter that do not undergo thorough cooking; desserts such as tiramisu, mousse, fried ice cream and drinks such as eggnog, egg flip and raw egg protein smoothies.
Use safer alternatives:
- commercially prepared dressings, sauces and spreads instead of using raw eggs
- pasteurised egg products instead of raw eggs in ready-to-eat desserts, dips and drinks
Handle raw eggs with extra care:
- acidify raw egg products using vinegar or lemon juice
- refrigerate acidified raw egg at 5oC or less if not being used immediately
- discard acidified raw egg if not used, within 24 hours
- measure and document the pH level of each batch
With increasing numbers of individuals who experience food sensitivities and allergies food businesses are required to be aware of their obligations in providing information to prospective customers. Anaphylaxis Australia in conjunction with the NSW Food Authority has developed an allergy awareness document ‘Be Prepared Be Allergy Aware’ which can be viewed or downloaded from the NSW Food Authority.
Food Businesses and food handlers have certain obligations imposed on them under the hygiene provisions of the Australian Food Standards Code, Chapter 3.
Most retail food businesses in NSW are required to train and appoint a food safety supervisor (FSS) to the premises. Once appointed the FSS certificate is to be kept on the food premises.
Food Safety Supervisors must be trained by Registered Training Organisations. Prior learning may be recognised. For further information on the food safety supervisor requirements and for the list of Registered Training Organisations visit NSW Food Authority or call the Authority’s Consumer Helpline 1300 552 406.
A home based food business is required to be conducted in accordance with the definition of home based businesses under planning laws and policies and with the Australian Food Standards Code, Chapter 3 (standards 3.1.1, 3.2.2 and 3.2.3).
Home based food businesses are required to seek written acknowledgement from Council prior to the commencement of any food related activities.
Whilst residential premises do not generally require any modifications to conduct a small scale home based food business, the activity will require owner’s permission (if you are renting) and is required to comply with the general hygiene and food safety requirements for food businesses.
Council's Environmental Health Officer will conduct an advisory inspection for start-up home based food businesses once application has been made.
Retail: Home Based Food Businesses that sell directly to the consumer, sell online or from a market food stall will be registered as a commercial food premises and may be subject to inspection by Council's Environmental Health Officer. The preparation of Low risk foods such as biscuits, cakes, chocolate or confectionery will not be subject to routine inspections but will be required to notify the council of any changes to the food business. Preparation involving Higher risk potentially hazardous foods will subject to routine inspections.
Wholesale: Home Based Food Businesses that on-sell (wholesale) to other food businesses will be required to notify their food business activities to the NSW Food Authority. This can be completed online at www.foodnotify.nsw.gov.au . If you require further clarification about notification requirements for home based wholesale food businesses please contact the NSW Food Authority on 1300 552 406 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The food preparation activities are required to be conducted in a clean and hygienic environment where the risk of contamination has been identified and managed. Home garages generally will only be suitable for the storage of packaged goods and related articles, and refrigerators.
Advice about home based food businesses should be sought initially from Council’s town planning section by contacting 1300 864 444 during office hours.
The NSW Food Authority licenses and inspects manufacturers of dairy, seafood, meat and certain food plant products.
The Authority also licenses and audits the food service section of aged care facilities and hospitals.
Manufacturers that have been classified as ‘low risk’ may not be inspected as frequently as other licensed premises, or only be inspected if there is an incident or complaint.
Enquiries about licensed premises can be referred to the NSW Food Authority Consumer Helpline 1300 552 406 or email email@example.com
Council has adopted a new policy Mobile Vendors on Public Land which identifies mobile vending activities permitted on public roads and reserves in Ballina Shire.
If you wish to seek approval to operate a mobile food vendor vehicle an application form must be completed, appropriate documentation provided and the relevant fees paid. You must be familiar with the requirements of the policy and the state-wide mobile food vendor operation guidelines.
A recent food vehicle inspection report and current mobile food vendor council registration are to be submitted with the application.
If you intend to sell potentially hazardous foods not in their original packaging a Food Safety Supervisor will need to be trained and appointed for the food vending vehicle.
To arrange an inspection of your vehicle or for further information about the policy please contact Council’s Environmental Health Section on 6686 1210 during office hours, or email your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are intending to conduct a temporary event on public land you should review Council’s
Market food stalls are required to review the:
To register a food stall contact Council’s Environmental Health Officer on 6686 1210 during office hours, and prior to operating at any event or market.
If you wish to prepare foods at home for sale at weekend markets your home kitchen must first be acknowledged as a home based business. For further details refer to the subject heading ‘Home Based Food Businesses’.
Council’s Environmental Health Officers are able to issue penalty infringement notices (PIN) (on-the-spot fines or PINs) on food business operators or individual food handlers under the Food Act.
A penalty infringement notice may be issued where under Council's Enforcement Policy a matter has not been satisfactorily addressed. However in cases where there are more severe breaches of the Food Act (such as cockroach infestation or unclean premises or equipment) Council’s Environmental Health Officer may consider the issuing of a PIN in addition to other regulatory action.
PINs issued for food safety and hygiene breaches are currently set by law at $440 for an individual and $880 for a corporation.
A register of penalty notices is available on the NSW Food Authority’s website. The register lists details of food businesses that have been found to be in breach of NSW food safety laws.
Council’s Environmental Health Officers have powers delegated under the Food Act to enter retail food premises and to conduct inspections for the purpose of compliance with the Food Act. Officers will check that good food safety practices are in place, such as temperature control, cleanliness, hand washing and pest control.
Council provides a pre purchase inspection service that includes a written report to prospective purchasers. Input is provided by Council’s Environmental Health Officer, Trade Waste Officer, Town Planner and Commercial Services Unit (Footpath Dining).
A written request that has been signed by the current business operator and/or land owner must be completed and returned with the appropriate fee. The Pre-Purchase Inspection of Food Premises form is available under Council Forms.
Please allow at least two weeks for the report to be finalised.
Ballina Shire Council has introduced the Scores on Doors voluntary food business rating program. Food businesses are assessed as part of the routine food surveillance program conducted throughout the year. Eligible food businesses will be awarded a 3, 4 or 5 Star food safety rating.