To ensure catering businesses operating from the Holroyd area meet all appropriate food safety and hygiene requirements, business operators are required to contact Council and, subject to meeting the relevant criteria, be registered to operate a food catering business.
The focus of this public health initiative is directed to those businesses wishing to or currently providing catering to weddings, parties, school formals, corporate functions and similar celebrations in halls, gardens, parks, residences, or commercial premises.
These requirements apply to all food catering businesses in Holroyd including spit roast caterers operating from a butchers shop or domestic premises in addition to those operating currently used as a restaurant or café or the like and known to Council.
To meet all the relevant food safety and hygiene requirements of the Food Standards Code and be subsequently approved by Council to carry out home or corporate catering, a business operator is required to lodge a written application with Council which includes the following information:
- Details of the business address of the catering activity and of any development consent or approval issued by Council for the commercial premises or home occupation.
- Confirmation that the business operator is the owner of the base premises and if not, that the consent of the owner is provided.
- That the base premises used for food preparation is connected to the sewerage system.
- A management plan of the catering business including:
- The types of functions and the anticipated number of guests involved.
- Details of menus.
- Cooking and food storage/holding facilities for hot and cold foods.
- Details of hand and crockery/ cutlery/ equipment washing facilities.
- Food transportation details including the vehicle/s involved.
- Food reheating or cooling facilities, if appropriate.
- The standard method food preparation and serving at each function.
- Details of standard operating procedures to avoid cross contamination of food/s.
- Staff training details pertinent to all food handlers and supervisors having appropriate skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene in accordance with the catering business.
An application will involve an inspection by a Council Officer at a mutually convenient time of the base premises including all appropriate facilities and equipment outlined in the management plan.
Applications involving food-catering businesses, which operate from residential premises, incur an initial inspection and administration fee as stipulated in Council’s fees and charges schedule. This fee is reviewed each financial year and is subject to change according to Council’s approved fees and charges.
A food catering businesses which meets the requirements outlined in the Food Standards Code will be issued by Council with written documentation which can be displayed to potential clients.
If you require further information regarding this matter, please contact Council’s Environmental Health Unit on 9840 9840.
Sausage sizzles and barbecues are a popular way to raise money for charities and community groups. They are often held outdoors to take advantage of Australia’s good weather and open spaces. Provided you take some simple food safety precautions and sell freshly cooked food straight from the barbecue, the food should be safe.
Preparing and cooking food safely:
- Take the following precautions at sausage sizzles and barbecues to ensure that food is safe.
- Finish preparing raw meat before leaving for the site such as slicing, marinating or skewering.
- Pack raw meat into insulated boxes with ice blocks for transportation.
- Handle food with tongs or other equipment. Use separate equipment to handle raw and cooked meats. Hands should not be used unless absolutely necessary, and then hand washing facilities must be available. Hands must be washed after handling raw meats.
- Keep cooked meat and salads separate from raw meat at all times to prevent contamination.
- Cover food to protect it from contamination. Use clean and dry utensils for serving the food – never place cooked meat back on the tray that held raw meat.
- Cook chicken, sausages and hamburgers until juices run clear- steaks can be cooked to preference.
- Throw leftover food away unless refrigeration equipment is available to rapidly cool the food.
Wherever possible, single use (disposable) utensils such as knives, forks, plates and cups should be used and thrown away after use. These items should be kept covered until required and should be handled carefully to minimise any risk of contamination. Re-usable items such as mugs should not be used unless there are facilities available on-site to wash and sanitise them, or there are enough items for the duration of the event.
If water is needed for hand washing or for washing up, a supply adequate to last the event must be provided. The water must be of drinkable quality. If using containers to transport water to the event, make sure that they are clean and have not been used to store chemicals.
Hand Washing Facilities
Unless a written exemption has been obtained from the NSW Food Authority, food handlers must wash their hands with warm water. In such circumstances the NSW Food Authority may permit the use or alternatives such as cleaning creams or gels, or sanitising wipes.
If you have access to water, you should set up a temporary hand washing facility that provides running water. You can do this by using a large container with a tap at its base.
Another container, such as a bucket, should collect the wastewater, to keep the site dry and clean.
A supply of soap and paper towels must be provided at the hand washing facility so that hand washing can be undertaken properly. Supply a bin for used towels. This helps to keep the site tidy and prevent contamination from used towels.
It is important that people who work in the food industry understand that certain utensils and equipment require cleaning and sanitising in order to ensure the safety of the food. Cleaning and sanitising minimises the potential for the spread of harmful micro-organisms and maintains a safe working environment.
The Food Standards Code requires a food business to ensure that certain equipment is in a clean and sanitary condition. This requirement applies to the following:
- Eating and drinking utensils immediately before each use
- The food contact surfaces of equipment wherever the food is likely to be contaminated
What is Cleaning and Sanitising?
Cleaning refers to the removal of visible items such as food particles, dirt, dust and grease and is usually carried out using warm water and detergent.
Sanitising refers to the process which reduces the number of micro-organisms to a safe level and this is usually undertaken using hot water with the use of specific food grade chemicals.
How do I Sanitise?
Sanitising, in the practical context of food premises can be carried out using either:
Hot water: This can be achieved with the use of a commercial dishwasher capable of reaching the required temperature appropriate for sanitising.
Chemicals: Chemical sanitisers are generally either chlorine-based products, quaternary ammonium compounds or iodine based compounds. Some sanitisers are toxic and must be rinsed off. The use of chemical sanitisers should be in accordance with the manufacturer’s specification in regard to the dilution rate, contact time and safety precautions as well as safe storage arrangements. This information can be found on the material safety data sheet of the chemical which is used. The articles or items should then be allowed to air dry.
Where can I buy Sanitising Chemicals?
You should be able to purchase a sanitiser from your chemical supplier, although in case they do not supply it Council provides a list of suppliers close to Holroyd that do stock these chemicals.
What is Cross Contamination?
Cross contamination occurs when bacteria and viruses are transferred from a contaminated surface to one which is not contaminated. The bacteria and viruses can come from people, work surfaces or equipment, and other foods. For example, when raw foods such as meat or poultry come in contact with cooked ready to eat food. If a consumer eats cooked ready to eat food that has come in contact with raw poultry or meat, the consumer can become very ill.
How is Bacteria Transferred?
Hands are the easiest way to transfer bacteria from raw food to ready to eat food, but direct contact with raw foods, dirty chopping boards, knives and other cooking implements can also spread the contamination. Chopping boards, plates and knives that have been in contact with raw food need to be carefully washed with warm water and food grade sanitising chemicals, then rinsed and thoroughly dried before being used for ready to eat foods.
How Should Raw and Ready to Eat Food be Stored?
Raw food, such as meat, poultry or seafood, should be stored in a rigid container at the bottom of the fridge to prevent it coming into contact with ready to eat food or allowing meat juices to drip onto other food. Ready to eat food should be stored covered in the fridge to further reduce the risks.
An important consumer protection component of the food labelling laws is that certain products are required to have a date mark on the label. Depending on the food item, the date mark will enable consumers to determine the relative freshness of the food and this will be important, particularly when dealing with short shelf life items such as milk and other dairy products or infant formula.
Under the Food Standards Code packaged products, with some exceptions, are required to show either of the following:
- “Best before date” if the food has a shelf life of less than two years, or
- “Use by date” if the food is considered a risk for health or safety reasons.
Generally food items with a short shelf life of less than 7 days will carry a “use by date” and it will be an offence for a food business to sell food beyond the specified date. Business operators are therefore encouraged to regularly check the “use by date” on food items particularly in refrigerators, cool rooms and freezers.
The exceptions to date marking requirements include individual portions of ice cream or ice confection and food in packages of less than 100 square centimetres. Bread with a shelf life of less than 7 days can have a “baked on” date.
If you are looking at getting a new shop fit out or are starting a new business, it is important to ensure that your business complies with the relevant constructional requirements for retail food businesses. These requirements are known as:
- Australian Standard AS4674-2004 (Design, Construction and Fit-out of Food Premises); and
- Food Safety Standard 3.2.3
For new food premises you will need to ensure that the plans you submit along with your Development Application utilise and comply with the above mentioned standards.
The Council adopted fees and charges for food business for the 2012/2013 financial period are as follows:
|Up to and including 5 Food Handlers||$265.20|
|6-50 Food Handlers||$530.50|
|51 or more Food Handlers||$2,121.80|
|Re-inspection Fee (per half hour or part thereof)||$86.20|
Retail food businesses must pay an annual administration fee and an inspection fee as per the above table.
All food businesses must notify the food authority of their details. The national notification system is proposed to assist in a number of important food safety issues including:
- Food safety emergencies such as food recalls
- Informing all business of relevant legislation changes and compliance requirements
- Determining how many and what type of food business there are in New South Wales and where each is located
- Determining the risk classification of each business based on established Parameters
All retail food businesses MUST register their business with Council. You can register your business by filling out Council’s Food Business Registration Form and submitting a copy to Council in person, email, post or fax.
Food recall action may be taken for various reasons such as the presence of potentially harmful micro-organisms, foreign material such as glass, metal or chemicals. Other reasons may include incorrectly labelling on products that could pose a potential health risk such as a failure to declare allergens.
The Food Standards Code requires wholesale suppliers, manufactures and importers to have a written food recall system.
A recall plan is a written document that outlines in the detail the procedures to be followed when conducting a recall.
A national food recall system has been developed:
- To stop the distribution and sale of food products that pose a potential health risk
- To inform statutory bodies and/or public of the problem
- To remove from the marketplace and product that is potentially unsafe
Do recall food businesses need a recall plan?
No, wholesale suppliers, manufacturers or importers are responsible for the recall of food products. However retail businesses may need to remove recalled stock from shelves and return it to the manufacturer, wholesaler or importer in which case the businesses must follow specific requirements for holding the stock in a separate clearly identified area.
Significant food poisoning incidents across Australia in recent years together with changes in the eating patterns of many Australians has resulted in the need for a risk based approach to food safety. This is reflected in the Food Standards Code, which is based on achieving health and safety outcomes. In addition, some flexibility to vary some requirements is available to operators under certain conditions.
Chapter 3 of the Food Standards Code details Food Safety Standards most relevant to retail food businesses, which include:
- Food Safety Standard 3.1.1 – This Standard contains definitions for many of the terms used in the Food Safety Standards including the meaning of “safe and suitable food” in addition to indicating that the Food Safety Standards apply to all food businesses in Australia with the exception of primary industry unless that primary industry business is involved in the processing or retail sale of food.
- Food Safety Standard 3.2.2 -This Standard addresses specific food handling controls relating to delivery, storage, processing, display, packaging transportation, disposal and recall of food. Other requirements in regard to the skills and knowledge of food handlers and their supervisors, the health and hygiene of food handlers together with the cleaning, sanitising and the maintenance of the food premises and equipment are also included.
- Food Safety Standard 3.2.3 – This Standard outlines the constructional requirements for floors, walls, ceilings, equipment, fixtures, fitting etc including hand equipment washing facilities for both premises and food transport vehicles.
A temporary food stall is any food stall or mobile food stall, erected on a public place or public reserve and used for the sale of food at a fete, fair, festival, carnival, community market, regular sporting competition etc.
All temporary food stalls and mobile food vehicles operating within the City of Holroyd are required to be approved under Council’sPolicy for Mobile Food Vending Vehicles and Temporary Food Stalls .
An application fee must be paid at the time of lodgement of the application
A temporary food stall or mobile food vehicle must not be used to store, prepare or sell food until it has been inspected by Council’s Officer and an approval has been issued.
When filling in the application form you must indicate where and when the stall will be operating and the time the stall or mobile food vehicle will be ready for inspection by Council’s Officer.
Temporary food stall operators must ensure that that their stall is set up in compliance with the criteria set out in Appendix 2 of Council’s Policy prior to the inspection.
Mobile food vehicle operators must ensure that that their stall is set up in compliance with the criteria set out in Appendix 1 of Council’s Policy prior to the inspection.
Food vending vehicles must be inspected for registration by Council’s Officer preferably at the time of lodging the application for approval. An appointment for the inspection must first be made with Council’s Officer by telephoning 9840 9840.
During July of each year, all food vending vehicles are to be presented at Council’s Administration Building for reinspection and registration upon payment of an inspection fee.
These newsletters are produced by Holroyd Council to keep food businesses in the area up to date with changes to legislation and to provide helpful food safety tips.
New food laws introduced in NSW require certain food businesses in the hospitality and retail food service sector to appoint at least one trained Food Safety Supervisor (FSS). These new requirements are to help safeguard NSW consumers from foodborne illness. Impacted businesses will need to appoint an FSS and notify the relevant enforcement agency (usually the local Council) of who their FSS is. The FSS must be trained by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) approved by the NSW Food Authority.
Who does it apply to?
The Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) requirements apply to businesses processing and selling food at retail level. These include businesses selling:
- Ready-to-eat, and
- Potentially hazardous (requires temperature control), and
- NOT sold and served in the suppliers original package.
How many Food Safety Supervisors (FSS) do I need?
Businesses need to appoint at least one (1) FSS per premises. Businesses with several premises cannot use the same FSS for all premises. They must nominate a different FSS for each premises.
What if a Food Safety Supervisor Leaves?
The business owner must appoint a new Food Safety Supervisor within thirty (30) operational days of the original food safety supervisor leaving. The business owner must then notify the relevant enforcement agency within seven (7) days of receiving the new certificate.
When do I have to appoint my Food Safety Supervisor?
Businesses will have until 1 October 2011 to appoint a trained FSS, after which Council will check to ensure that each business has completed the course.
Where can I get more information regarding the Food Safety Supervisor requirements?
Do I need to notify Council when I have completed the Food Safety Supervisor course?
Yes, Council must be notified within seven (7) days of you receiving your Food Safety Supervisor Certificate. You can do this by filling out the Food Safety Supervisor Notification Form and sending it through to Council together by fax, email, mail or by dropping it off at Council in person. Our contact details are below.
Fax: 9840 9734
Mail: P.O. Box 42, Merrylands NSW 2160
In Person: 16 Memorial Avenue, Merrylands
Alternatively, you can notify the Food Authority online on the food authority website.
Holroyd City Council is committed to the ongoing development of its Food Safety Surveillance Program that aims to minimise the risks associated with the sale and purchase of food to its community.
As part of this Program, Council maintains a comprehensive computer database of all premises selling food within Holroyd.
Each premises is required to pay an annual Administration Fee and is inspected by a Council Officer on a risk assessment basis. The inspection covers the following areas:
- Cleanliness of premises;
- Food Poisoning;
- Controlling Bacteria;
- Correct Food Handling Practices;
- Correct Food Storage Practices;
- Correct Food Preparation Practices;
- Cleanliness of Equipment and Appliances;
- Temperature Control;
- Personal Hygiene;
- Pest Control;
- Waste Control;
- Food Shop Fit-Out Compliance; and
- Compliance with current Food Legislation
The Environmental Health Officer takes the opportunity during the inspection to discuss changes to food related legislation and offer professional advice and instruction on food-related matters to proprietors of food businesses and their staff.
In the event that a food premises is not being maintained in accordance with the legislative requirements of the Food Act 2003 and Food Regulation 2010, Council’s Officers may initiate action to remedy the situation including, issuing formal warnings, Improvement Notices or Prohibition Orders, Penalty Infringement Notices or may instigate prosecution proceedings in the Local Court, where heavy penalties apply.
Council’s commitment to food safety is demonstrated by the continued education of local food handlers to minimise the risk of food poisoning in its community. It is Council’s goal to have all food handlers in Holroyd attend Council’s free Food Handler’s Seminars held annually at various town centres. The seminar topics mirror those outlined above on what Council’s inspection covers.
All persons attending the Food Handler’s Seminar will receive a Certificate of Attendance signed by the Mayor and General Manager.
Council’s Food Safety Surveillance Program is designed to educate the food handler and encourage the provision of safe food to the consumer. The introduction of good food safety practices not only minimises the risks associated with food poisoning but also instils customer confidence, which can have a flow on effect by increasing business trade.
If you require further information regarding this matter, please contact Council’s Environmental Health Unit on 9840 9840.
How Do You Wash your Hands?
- Wet hands with warm water, apply soap and rub hands together well to build up a good lather, the suds help to float germs away. Don’t forget between your fingers and under your nails.
- Rinse well in warm water and get those germs off your hands.
- Dry your hands thoroughly with disposable towels. Touching surfaces with moist hands encourages germs to spread from the surface to your hands.
How do Germs Build up on Hands?
Everything you touch can transfer germs onto your hands – especially dirty items, sores, pets, used handkerchiefs and tissues and the things you touch when you go to the toilet.
Getting rid of most germs is simple – wash and dry your hands.
Always wash and dry your hands:
- Before touching or eating food;
- After touching raw meat, or chicken;
- After using the toilet;
- After blowing your nose;
- After playing with a pet.
Council now provides FREE online food safety training. The online training is great for business owners and their employees to complete. It covers various food safety issues. Once the course is completed you can even get your own certificate to keep for your own records.
The course is available in two languages, English and Cantonese.
Please note that this training is NOT the compulsory Food Safety Supervisor training required to be completed by each business.
Start I’m ALERT training!
The NSW Government has established a single agency within the State to oversee, coordinate, and perform an operational role in regard all aspects of food safety and associated consumer protection.
Contact can be made by the following means:
Telephone number (02) 9741 4777
Fax (02) 9741 4888
The NSW Food Authority, which has been established under the NSW Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, will carry out a broad range of food safety and consumer protection initiatives across all sectors of the food industry. These initiatives will include but not be limited to:
- Providing advice to consumer on food safety related matters;
- Facilitating education and training to relevant stakeholders;
- Encouraging businesses to minimise food safety risks;
- Developing and introducing a scheme of Food Safety Programs to relevant businesses;
- Carrying out pertinent research;
- Developing new and reviewing existing Standards;
- Implementing an appropriate regulatory role;
- Working with other stakeholders, including local government, on appropriate food safety matters;
- Establishing and implement relevant inspection and other associated fees;
- Investigation of food borne illness where two or more people are affected.
Scores on Doors is a food safety grading system for food outlets.
The program informs customers about the standard of food safety in food businesses.
When a customer enters a Scores on Doors business, they’ll see a certificate showing the grade received, displayed at each entrance.
Participating businesses are required to display a ‘Scorecard’ to customers which identifies the result of their last routine food inspection.
Possible grades for this Scorecard include;
- 5 Star – Excellent
- 4 Star – Very Good
- 3 Star – Good
Council has contacted all eligible food businesses inviting them to participate in the trial program. Businesses who wish to participate are encouraged to do so by contacting Council’s Environmental Health Unit on 02 9840 9828.
Council will provide ongoing updates regarding the program in the ‘Holroyd Food Bulletin’.
Further general information regarding Scores on Doors program can be found at:
Retail outlets that can participate include:
- Restaurants & cafes
- Pubs, clubs, & hotels.
Scores on Doors is not intended for supermarkets, delicatessens, low risk food businesses, or those serving pre-packaged food e.g. service stations, butchers, green grocers, temporary markets, mobile food vending vehicles or premises licensed by the NSW Food Authority.
The Food Standards Code require an operator to inform staff of specific health and hygiene obligations. Part of these requirements includes the exclusion of staff when he/she is suffering from any one of the following:
- Hepatitis A
- Norwalk virus
- Typhoid fever
- Staphylococcal and Streptococcal diseases except Staphylococcus aureus
- Rotaviral enteritis
It is the responsibility of the operator to ensure that staff are excluded from handling unpackaged or ready to eat food.
In addition to the above conditions, staff suffering from a heavy cold or “the flu”, which involves constant use of tissues or handkerchief, should also be excluded. It may be possible that staff with these symptoms can be temporarily reallocated to non-food handling positions.
It is suggested that the business develop a written policy for staff illnesses.
As a guide, the following suggested policy or code could be utilised:
- Staff shall report all illnesses, which have the potential to impact on food safety, to the operator or their supervisor.
- Food handling staff with symptoms of gastroenteritis like illness such as nausea, vomiting and / or diarrhoea shall be excluded from handling unpackaged foods.
- A copy of the relevant health and hygiene responsibilities shall be displayed in a conspicuous location within the business.
- A staff illness register be maintained, which includes the employee’s name, date of absence, the type of illness and the return to work date.
- A full return to work for a person who has suffered/is suffering from a food borne illness will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, which may involve staff not being allowed to return to food handling activities until a doctor’s certificate is produced indicating that the person is fit to resume food handling activities; or food handlers not returning to work until they are free of symptoms for 48 hours after suffering from vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
- Information regarding an illness provided to the business operator by a food handler shall not be disclosed to another person without the authorised consent of the food handler other than to an Authorised Officer of an Enforcement Agency.
What are Potentially Hazardous Foods?
Potentially hazardous foods are foods that must be kept at certain temperatures to minimise the growth of pathogenic micro-organisms that may be present in the food or to prevent the formation of toxins in the food.
Potentially hazardous foods include foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, eggs.
Keeping Cold Food Cold
Your fridge should be kept at 5°C or below, this is to prevent potentially hazardous foods from spoiling. If possible keep a fridge thermometer in the fridge to check that the temperature stays around 4°C to 5°C.
Keep Hot Food Hot
Hot food needs to be kept and served at 60°C, this is to prevent potentially hazardous foods from spoiling.
If ready to eat potentially hazardous food is kept at a temperature between 5°C and 60°C, the following is recommended:
- Less than 2 hours = Refrigerate or consume immediately
- More than 2 hours and less than 4 hours – consume immediately
- More than 4 hours = throw out
These handy forms will help you monitor food temperatures:
- 2 Hour/4 Hour Temperature Log Sheet
- Daily Temperature Log Sheet
- Temperature of Received Goods Log Sheet
Where Can I Buy a Digital Thermometer?
Council now sells digital probe thermometers for a cost of $33. To purchase a thermometer please see our customer service staff at Council. Alternatively you can refer to list of suppliers for a thermometer.
Incorrect thawing of high-risk potentially hazardous foods will enable the growth of harmful bacteria. The safety risk further increases if the foods involved are not processed in some way such as by cooking, but rather consumed as a ready to eat item.
Ideally frozen foods should be thawed either:
- In the refrigerator the day before, covered on the lowest shelf
- In the microwave to be cooked immediately.
- Do not thaw food at room temperature;
- Do not thaw food in a water bath;
- Do not refreeze after thawing.
The community’s expectation is that the food, which is purchased, will be safe and suitable for consumption. It is an offence for a food business to sell unsafe or unsuitable food.
The words “unsafe” and “unsuitable” are widely used in food laws throughout Australia but they each have different meaning.
In general terms, food is considered to be “unsafe” if consumption results in actual harm to the consumer whereas ‘unsuitable’ food includes food that is damaged or deteriorated or perished or contains a foreign object but may not necessarily cause harm.
For example, if a food business incorrectly handled or processed food, before sale to the consumer, resulting in high bacterial levels and the consumer did not subject the food to any further processing such cooking prior to consumption then the food item would be considered to be “unsafe”.
The sale of improperly prepared sandwiches which may have been stored in the temperature danger zone (at room temperature) for a significant period resulting in high bacterial levels and likely to result in actual harm would be considered as “unsafe”.
Consumers who suffer from food allergies should be aware that just because they may suffer an allergic reaction to a particular food, does not necessarily make the food “unsafe” since the majority of the public are not affected by consuming the food item.
In regard to being “unsuitable” an insect being cooked in food can be used as an example. Consumption of the food with the insect therein will not generally cause illness, but would be considered unacceptable.
Consumers who may have concerns about a particular incident involving “unsafe” or “unsuitable” food are invited to contact Council for advice or other appropriate action.