Mosman Council has around 150 food shop businesses operating within the council area which are inspected annually by Council’s Environmental Health Officers who are authorised to undertake inspection of food premises. For powers of an authorised officer refer to Section 37 of the Food Act 2003 . The frequency of inspections depends on the food business’s consistently demonstrating their ability to comply with Food Safety Standards. Council’s Environment Health Officers also follow up on complaints regarding either the quality of food, contamination of food, or unclean food premises.
Council works in partnership with the NSW Food Authority in regulating the food industry. Council is required, as a Category ‘B’ enforcement agency, to register and inspect all food premises that prepare and sell or serve food directly to consumers or produce food for direct sale to consumers as their main food – related activity, including school canteens and childcare centres that provide food to children.
Food premises are categorised as high, medium and low according to the health risk associated with food storage and preparation. High and medium risk category premises are inspected twice a year and low risk once a year. Premises are assessed for compliance with the current NSW Food Standards Code that require businesses to be regulated for cleanliness, construction and fitout, temperature control, food handling practices and personal hygiene of staff.
Council is working with local food businesses to ensure a high standard of food safety and risk minimisation in food handling. This approach involves not only strict compliance with laws but also provision of advice and information to business owners and operators. Information and advice on food handling and hygiene can be obtained from Council’s Environment Health Officers on 9978 4000.
The legislative framework that governs food safety practices throughout New South Wales includes the NSW Food Act 2003 and the Food Regulation 2004 . This legislation requires compliance with the Food Standards Code , including the Food Safety Standards . There are currently three active standards, these include:
- Food Safety Standard 3.1.1 - Interpretation and Application
- Food Safety Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements
- Food Safety Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment
The standards were developed by the Australian and New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) and are designed to provide more effective and nationally uniform food safety legislation.
Another major document that relates to retail food premises is AS4674-2004 – Construction and Fitout of Food Premises. This Australian Standard sets out the construction requirements for retail food businesses. This document can be purchased from Standards Australia .
AS 3806-1998 Compliance Programs provides principles for the development, implementation and maintenance of effective compliance programs.
Mosman Council administers the provisions of the NSW Food Act 2003 . The objectives of this act is to ensure food is safe and suitable for human consumption, to minimise the risk of any form of contamination in regards to the preparation and sale of food, as well as to provide for the application of the Food Standards Code .
Food Safety Standards Code 3.2.2
Outlines specific food handling and management controls related to the transportation, receipt, storage, processing, display, packaging, recall of food and disposal. Other requirements relate to the skills and knowledge of food handlers and their supervisors, the health and hygiene of food handlers and the cleaning and maintenance of food premises and equipment.
Food Safety Standards 3.2.3
Outlines the compliance requirements for the layout of a food premises to ensure that the when the food business is operating, where possible, opportunities for food to be contaminated is minimised. Each food business is required to ensure that the food premise, fixtures, fittings and equipment are designed and constructed to be easily cleaned and where required sanitized.
Food laws require certain food businesses in the NSW hospitality and retail food service sector to have at least one trained Food Safety Supervisor (FSS).
The FSS must be trained by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) approved by the Authority.
Only approved RTOs, and in certain circumstances the Authority, can issue a Food Safety Supervisor Certificate.
The first round of certificates expired from 1 September 2015. Food businesses with an appointed FSS holding an FSS certificate that has expired will need to enrol their FSS in recertification training with a RTO approved under the FSS program.
When opening a new food business it is necessary to ensure that it complies with all applicable legislation and Council’s requirements as this will avoid unnecessary disputes in the future.
It is important that food premises are set up correctly and all prospective proprietors should discuss their plans with Council’s Duty Planners prior to any action, to ensure that the proposed business and ideas are allowable and that the appropriate approvals are obtained.
The next step for proprietors is to discuss their plans with Council’s Environmental Health Officers who are responsible for food regulation and are able to assist you in interpreting the applicable legislation and may also conduct an inspection of the potential premises to advise you of what work is required.
It is likely that you will be required to submit some form of application for the business to Council. As part of this application, you will be required to submit the following:
- A site plan and locality sketch.
- A floor plan.
- Elevations of all internal walls.
- A typical section.
- Details of the cool room and freezers (where proposed) including the location of the motors, design, construction and the specifications including the SPL (Sound Pressure Level) in dB(A).
- Details of the proposed mechanical ventilation system, which must be demonstrated on the elevation plans.
- Details of the location and dimensions of the grease trap (contact Sydney Water as you may need to obtain a trade waste permit).
Once approved and the premises are ready to open, you must contact Council’s Environmental Health Officers no less than twenty-four (24) hours prior to opening to enable them to inspect the premises.
Prior to opening your food premises you are required under the NSW Food Act 2003 to notify your food business to Council and the NSW Food Authority (see Notifying your Food Business section of their website for further information).
It is expected you will have more questions and Council’s Environmental Health Officers are available to assist during business hours on (02) 9978 4000.
A person selling food or operating stalls and outlets used for selling food, produce, fruits and vegetables or pre-packaged food for human consumption, is deemed to be a ‘food business’.
A ‘food business’ is required to sell safe and suitable food in accordance with the provisions of the NSW Food Act 2003 and particularly Food Standards Code Food Safety Standard 3.1.1 - Interpretation and Application , Food Safety Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements and Food Safety Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment .
Food stalls are required to be constructed and operated in accordance with the following guidelines:
Applications for approval of temporary food stalls at festivals, markets and outdoor events are to be submitted by the organiser or coordinator of an event to Mosman Council. Applications are also required to comply with Council’s event management and sustainability policies. For all outdoor events, festivals and markets please refer to Council’s Venue Hire information.
For more information:
Finally all temporary food events, food stalls, festivals and markets need to be registered with the NSW Food Authority . On-line notifications are free. Manual notification incurs a fee of $50. For enquiries regarding these notifications contact the NSW Food Authority on 1300 552 406 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Council staff are available to investigate a broad range of these consumer complaints or concerns about a particular food premise or activity. All such complaints are dealt with confidentially and the complainants name and address / telephone number are sought only to either provide feedback to the complainant or clarify the information initially provided.
Any such complaints can be made to Council’s Environment & Health Unit through our Customer Services Team on (02) 9978 4000.
Complaints may include, but are not limited to:
- Foreign objects in food such as stones, hair, glass, insects, etc,
- Mouldy or rotten foods,
- Swollen cans or products which are past their use by date,
- Poor food handling practices,
- Pests or animals in kitchens or dining areas,
- Unclean premises, and
- Inadequate or incorrect labeling.
It should be noted that Council’s role is to ensure compliance with current food laws in a fair and reasonable manner. This service does not extend to seeking compensation on behalf of customers for food related illness, personal injury, or to providing legal advice.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand
The primary role of this bi-national Government Agency is to develop and administer the Australian and New Zealand Food Standards Code.
NSW Food Authority
The NSW Food Authority is a State Government agency established in April 2004 to provide New South Wales with a food regulation system. It was formed by merging SafeFood NSW with the food regulatory activities of NSW Health. The NSW Food Authority is responsible for food safety across the entire food industry, from primary production to point-of-sale.
Food Safety Information Council
The Food Safety Information Council is a non-profit group with representatives of State and Federal governments, food industry and professional associations. Membership is open to any organisation with an interest in promoting safe food handling practices for consumers.