Food Businesses

What is the Shire’s role in relation to food businesses?

The Shire of Carnarvon is the enforcement agency for the Food Act 2008 in relation to most food businesses located within the Shire district. As the enforcement agency, the Shire’s role includes the following duties and functions:

  • registration of food businesses (other than exempted food businesses)
  • maintenance of a food business registry and annual reporting to the Department of Health WA
  • inspection and assessment of food businesses and premises
  • investigation of complaints
  • issuing of notices and taking enforcement action where required
  • occasional food sampling
  • responding to enquiries from food business operators and the public
  • the provision of advice to food business operators and the public
  • occasional public communications, and
  • the employment of qualified environmental health officers to undertake these duties.

 

These activities are intended to provide a level of assurance that food sold within the district is safe and suitable for human consumption and in compliance with the Food Standards Code.

What is a food business?

A food business is a business, enterprise or, activity that involves —

(a) the handling of food intended for sale; or

(b) the sale of food,

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

This includes any sale of food even if an ABN is not required.

The sale of food includes:

  • have in possession for sale
  • display for sale
  • cause or permit to be sold or offered for sale
  • give away for the purpose of advertisement or in furtherance of trade or business
  • provide under a contract of service
  • dispose of by way of raffle, lottery or other game of chance
  • ·offer as a prize or reward
  • supply food under a contract (whether or not the contract is made with the consumer of the food), together with accommodation, service or entertainment, in consideration of an inclusive charge for the food supplied and the accommodation, service or entertainment;
  • supply food as a meal or part of a meal to an employee, in accordance with a term of an award governing the employment of the employee or a term of the employee’s contract of service, for consumption by the employee at the employee’s place of work.

 

Food includes:

  • any substance or thing of a kind used, or represented as being for use, for human consumption (whether it is live, raw, prepared or partly prepared); and
  • any substance or thing of a kind used, or represented as being for use, as an ingredient or additive in food.

 

However, food does not include a therapeutic good within the meaning of the Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

 

Food therefore includes the following examples:

  • drinking water or any water used or represented for use for human consumption
  • alcoholic drinks
  • live animals and plants used, or represented as being for use, for human consumption
  • food additives
  • honey
  • eggs.

 

It should be noted that most horticultural businesses are especially excluded from the definition of a food business and are not required to be registered. However, the following activities relating to primary food production are a food business and are required to be registered with or notified to the enforcement agency:

  • any process involving the substantial transformation of food (for example, manufacturing or canning), regardless of whether the process is carried out on the premises on which the food was grown, cultivated, picked, harvested, collected or caught
  • any sale or service of food directly to the public
  • primary production and processing of seafood
  • primary production and processing of poultry meat
  • primary production and processing of meat
  • primary production and processing of dairy products
  • primary production and processing of eggs and egg products
  • production and processing of seed sprouts
  • wine production.
Food business registration

All food businesses, other than exempted food businesses, are required to be registered under the Food Act 2008.

 

The operation of a food business without a registration (other than an exempted food business) is an offence with a maximum penalty of $10,000 (for an individual) or $50,000 (for a corporation).

 

To apply for registration, complete and submit an Application for Food Business Registration form together with the appropriate fee. To determine the applicable fee, please refer to the Shire’s Fees and Charges Schedule. The application fee covers one or two inspections as required up until the registration is issued. If you would like assistance with the application process, you may contact a Shire Environmental Health Officer. For information on how to pay, refer to FAQ.

 

Application needs to be made and the registration certificate issued prior to commencing the business which includes prior to possessing food for sale. It is recommended to allow a minimum of two weeks for this process and, if fit-out works are being made, to allow at least one month. This is because the registration certificate will not be issued until the authorised officer has inspected the premises and is satisfied that it complies with Food Safety Standard 3.2.3—Food premises and equipment.

 

It is recommended to make application and have the premises inspected prior to setting the opening date to avoid unexpected delays.

Food Standards Code and the Food Safety Standards

All food businesses and the food being handled or sold must comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. For retail food businesses, one of the most important parts of the Food Standards Code is chapter 3, which is known as the Food Safety Standards. Standard 3.2.2 ‘Food safety practices’ and Standard 3.2.3 ‘Food Premises and Equipment’ are the subject of most food business inspections and can be accessed at the above link.

Annual fees and inspections

Most registered food businesses can expect to be inspected every 6 months to 3 years depending on the risk classification. Registered food businesses are subject to an annual administration fee in addition to fees payable for each inspection. These charges are applied through the Shire’s debtor system.

Purchasing an existing food business or food premises

If you are purchasing an existing food business or premises which will result in a new entity operating from the premises, you will require your own registration under the new entity name before operating the business or possessing food for sale. If you will be conducting fit-out works, it is recommended to apply for your new registration prior to the fit-out works to enable an environmental health officer to conduct ‘progress’ inspections which can assist in ensuring that kitchen fit-out works are on the right track and to avoid expensive mistakes. Please refer to the food business registration process above.

Developing and building a new food premises

If you wish to develop and build new food premises, you will require planning and building approvals prior to development and building works. Application for food business registration can then be made at least 2 weeks prior to the intended opening date. It is highly recommended to apply for food business registration early in the fit-out phase to enable an Environmental Health Officer to conduct ‘progress’ inspections which can assist in ensuring that kitchen fit-out works are on the right track and to avoid expensive mistakes. Refer to the food business registration process above.

Food businesses exempt from registration (e.g. certain fund-raising activities)

There are four categories of food businesses which are exempt from registration. These businesses are still required to notify their details to the local government using the approved form for this purpose.

 

Exemption category A: Certain fund-raising events

Food businesses that are conducted to raise money solely for purposes that are of a charitable or community nature are exempt from registration provided that all potentially hazardous foods handled in the business are to be cooked for immediate consumption.

 

If your charity fund-raising event includes any of the following potentially hazardous foods that are not cooked for immediate consumption, your business is not exempt from registration:

  • salads
  • fruit salads or any freshly cut fruit or vegetables that are not to be cooked
  • burgers with salad, cheese or any other uncooked potentially hazardous foods
  • fruit smoothies
  • cold rice dishes
  • hot food not served immediately, e.g. displayed in bain-marie
  • any other potentially hazardous foods that are not cooked immediately prior to consumption

 

Potentially hazardous foods generally include anything that requires refrigeration: meat, egg, dairy and fish products, cut fruit and vegetables (e.g. salads) and cooked grains (rice/pasta etc). Bread, dried or preserved foods and whole fruit and vegetables are not potentially hazardous. Contact an Environmental Health Officer for further clarification.

 

This exemption is designed to include basic charity sausage sizzles and similar. Any charity events that are not limited to the restrictions set out above are required to be registered food businesses.

 

Exemption category B: pre-packaged, low risk food

Food businesses that consist solely of selling food:

  • that is not potentially hazardous food, and
  • that cannot be handled in the course of conducting the business because the food is in a closed package

are also exempt from registration. This includes the sale of whole fresh produce.

 

Exemption category C: complimentary drinks

Food businesses that consist solely of providing complimentary drinks in conjunction with another businesses conducted at those premises that is not a food business are exempt from registration.

 

Exemption category D: Export businesses

Food businesses conducted at any premises that are, or form part of, a ‘registered establishment‘ under the Commonwealth Export Control Act 1982, section 3, are exempt from registration under the Food Act 2008.

Notification of food business

Food businesses that are exempt from registration must comply with the notification requirements. This means they must notify the enforcement agency of the required details using the agency’s approved form.

 

Section 107: The proprietor of a food business must not conduct the food business at any premises unless the proprietor has given written notification in respect of those premises to the appropriate enforcement agency, in the approved form, of the specified information. Penalty: (a) for an individual — a fine of $10 000; (b) for a body corporate — a fine of $50 000.

 

The Shire does not charge a fee for food business notification. Notification can be made by completing and submitting the Food Business Notification form. The signed and completed form can be emailed to health@carnarvon.wa.gov.au.

Food safety training

A food business must ensure that persons undertaking or supervising food handling operations have –

(a) skills in food safety and food hygiene matters; and

(b) knowledge of food safety and food hygiene matters,

commensurate with their work activities.

 

Refer to the Shire’s Information Sheet Food Safety Training for further information.

Home-based food businesses

Home-based food businesses generally require planning approval before they can be issued with a food business registration. There are also restrictions as to what types of food handling activities will be permitted in a domestic kitchen, which is supported by advice from the Department of Health. Essentially, the overall risk rating of the business needs to be low and the premises needs to pass an inspection by an Environmental Health Officer in regards to general suitability and cleanliness.

 

Most home-based food businesses are a small-scale production of low-risk food products for local retail sale, e.g. at local markets.

 

Food preparation in a domestic kitchen for guests of a bed and breakfast or farm-stay premises could also potentially be approved provided the total accommodation capacity (guest and non-guest) is no larger than a single dwelling or equivalent. Food service at larger accommodation premises will require a separate commercial grade kitchen.

Food labelling

Food that is sold at a different location to where it is prepared generally needs to comply with the labelling requirements of the Food Standards Code. For a summary of the labelling requirements, refer to the Shire’s Information Sheet Food Labelling. For further information, refer to http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/labelling/Pages/default.aspx or contact an Environmental Health Officer.

Closing, selling or changing a registered food business

If you are closing or selling your registered food business you are required to notify the Shire, which you can do by emailing health@carnarvon.wa.gov.au. Food business registrations do not expire until they are cancelled by the Shire and annual administration fees are payable until they are cancelled. This notification allows the Shire to cancel your food business registration.

 

If you are making significant changes to your food business you should contact an Environmental Health Officer first as it may be in contravention of the food business registration unless prior approval is obtained. If you are making substantial fit-out changes it is recommended to have an officer provide guidance to ensure the works are on the right track and to minimise the chance of expensive mistakes.

Temporary food stalls

Most temporary food stalls are operated in conjunction with a home-based or other existing food business. In this case the operation from a temporary location needs to be authorised on the food business registration certificate and this includes businesses that are registered in other Shires within WA. For temporary food stalls that are not associated with an existing registered food business, the operator will need to either apply for registration or make notification. Refer to the sections above on Registration and Notification.

Mobile food premises

A mobile food business registration is valid throughout WA. Persons wanting to start a mobile food business can make application for a registration just like any other food business. Their mobile premises will need to be set up and fit-out appropriately for the type of food handling they are proposing in accordance with the Food Safety Standards.

 

Please note that any mobile trading or stall holding in public places, whether it includes food or not, will require a licence under the Shire’s Local Government Act Local Laws 1997. Refer to Hawkers, Traders and Stall Holders. Persons holding a food business registration from another local government will need to provide a copy of their food business registration certificate before being given a trader or stall holder licence.