This information is aimed at providing operators or potential operators of food businesses with information about their obligations in starting or taking over a food premises and Council’s role in food safety enforcement.
This information is divided into several sections:
Purchasing or altering your food premises
Potential operators of a new or existing food business must ensure that they have an understanding of the relevant health, planning and environmental issues associated with the business.
What is a pre-purchase inspection of a food premises?
This inspection assesses the structural compliance of the business with current Australian Standards for food premises. Any alterations or modifications to an existing business require the prior approval of Council.
If you would like to arrange for Council to conduct a pre-purchase inspection of a food premises, please contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on (02) 6767 5555 and ask to speak with the Environmental Health Officers. The fee for a pre-purchase inspection can be found within Council’s Schedule of Fees and Charges.
What do I do when I want to open a new food business, or make alterations to an existing business?
If you are planning to establish a new food business, alter or relocate an existing business then you will need to make a formal application to Council. A Development Application or Development Application/Construction Certificate may be required for applications that involve the change of use of premises, structural building work or new developments.
Is there any information that can help me with the design of my food business?
Reference guides include:
What information do I need to supply to Council if I am opening a new food business or planning alterations to a food premises?
To avoid unnecessary delays with your application, the plans of the proposed works submitted with the Construction Certificate should be detailed and include the following information to allow assessment of the adequacy of the food handling areas:
- a floor plan
- elevations of all internal walls
- a typical section
- details of the internal walls (including partition walls) construction and finishes
- details of the floor finishing, including a coving plan
- details of the ceiling construction and finishes
- details of the type and location of hand wash basins
- details of the size and location of the sinks
- details of the light fittings
- details of the cool room and freezers (where proposed) including the location of the motors, design, construction and the specifications (you may be asked for the SPL (Sound Pressure Level) in dB(A)
- details of the bar, counter, benches, shelving and other fittings
- details of the location of the hot water system
- details of the cooking appliances
- details of the proposed mechanical ventilation system, which must be demonstrated on the elevation plans (calculations to demonstrate compliance with Australian Standard 1668.2 must also be included)
- details of the storage area for ingredients and bulk goods
- details of the storage area for cooking equipment and utensils
- details and location of the proposed storage area for packaging
- details and location of the proposed storage area for the personal belongings of staff
- details of the location and dimensions of the grease trap (contact Council’s Trade Waste Officer on (02) 6767 5555, as you may need to obtain a trade waste permit)
What do I do when the alterations of my food premises have been completed?
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 its opening, you must also provide notification of your food business to the NSW Food Authority.
Food premises inspections and notification
Council operates an inspection program, which means that inspections are carried out without an appointment being made or prior warning.
A fee is charged for each inspection. These will be scheduled to occur either six monthly or annually.
Who is the appropriate enforcement agency for food premises?
In NSW, the appropriate enforcement agency is the NSW Food Authority.
What is the food business notification for?
The national notification system is proposed to assist in a number of important food safety issues including:
- food safety emergencies such as food recalls
- information about legislation changes and compliance requirements
- determining the number and type of food businesses in NSW and their location
- determining the risk classification of each business based on several factors
Do I have to provide a food business notification?
All businesses selling food are required under the Food Standards Code to notify the appropriate enforcement agency of certain information associated with the operation of the business. This requirement also applies to the following types of business:
- home industries
- corner stores
- food transporters
- video shops
- petrol stations
- public swimming pools kiosks
- temporary or infrequent events such as festivals, fairs, markets and fetes
What do I do to notify?
You can provide notification of your food business in the following ways:
What information do I have to provide?
Details about the following are required:
- contact details for your business (address, trading name, contact person, telephone number)
- the type and size of the business, in terms of staff
- the food handled, provided or transported
- specific questions about the customers to whom the food item/s are sold
Do I need to notify each year?
No. A once only notification is required unless the type of business or ownership details change.
Can I register at Council offices?
No. Food business operators are encouraged to register online at Notification and Food Safety Internet System (NAFSIS) website.
Do I get a notification number?
You will receive a notification number when you have registered.
What happens if the type of business changes?
The business operator is required to update the information provided if circumstances change, for example, a takeaway food shop becomes a restaurant or the ownership contact details, such as address or telephone number, change.
What if I sell the business?
The new business operator is required to notify the NSW Food Authority.
How much will it cost?
Online registration is free.
Are there any exemptions?
The following food premises are exempt:
- businesses already licensed by NSW Food Authority (formerly Safefood NSW)
- activities associated with primary industries
Where can I get more information?
For more information please contact:
Requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) food standards code skills and knowledge
ANZFA Food Standards Code requires a food business to ensure that persons undertaking or supervising food handling operations have skill and knowledge in food safety and hygiene matters, commensurate with their work activities. This means:
- your staff and their supervisors must be able to do their work in ways that ensure that your business produces safe food = skill
- your staff and their supervisors must know about issues associated with food safety and safe food handling practices that are relevant to your business and the jobs they do for you = knowledge
The ANZFA Food Standards Code requires 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 of the food business to ensure that a staff member is excluded from handling unpackaged or ready to eat food if they are suffering from any of the above listed illnesses.
In addition to the above conditions, staff members suffering from a heavy cold or 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 food business develop a written policy for staff illnesses.
Food regulation partnership
Amendments to the Food Act 2003 (NSW) and Food Regulation 2004 enabled the formation of the Food Regulation Partnership between the NSW Food Authority and all NSW Councils from 1 January 2008.
As a part of the partnership, Tamworth Regional Council is a member of the Northern Region Regional Food Group. This group consists of Environmental Health Officers from all the Councils in the region. A representative of the Regional Group attends the State Liaison Group meetings held every 3 months in Sydney at the Authority’s main office to discuss food safety at a local and regional level.
In addition, training is provided by the Authority and a training officer from the authority is present at all Regional Group meetings.
The aim of the partnership is to:
- clarify the responsibilities of local government in relation to food regulation
- improve food safety coordination between Councils and the Authority in several areas, including food inspections
- enable quicker responses to food emergencies and food recalls
- enable all councils to recover the costs of food regulation enforcement
- establish a food regulation forum for consultation
The following websites are a good source of information about food premises and food handling.