Food safety requirements

Find out about other requirements you need to consider when starting or operating a food business, including food safety supervisors, food safety programs and food safety ratings.

Food safety supervisors

A food safety supervisor is responsible for monitoring food safety in a food business. All licensable food businesses in Queensland must have a food safety supervisor to help ensure safe food is produced. Your food safety supervisor needs to be ‘reasonably available’. This means they need to be onsite or able to be contacted by Council or your employees while they are handling food.

Who can be a food safety supervisor

A food safety supervisor needs to have skills and knowledge about food safety and hygiene and be able to identify, prevent and correct food safety hazards. They also need to be able to supervise other staff and give directions about food safety issues.

Does a food safety supervisor need training?

It is recommended that your food safety supervisor completes a training course conducted by a registered training organisation (RTO), e.g. Tafe, college or private provider. You can find a RTO at training.gov.au or enter the keywords ‘food safety supervisor training’ in a search engine. Find out more about food safety supervisor training and competency standards in Queensland Health's food safety supervisors fact sheet.

How do I nominate my food safety supervisor?

Once your food business licence has been granted, you have 30 days to provide your food safety supervisor’s name and contact details. If your food safety supervisor or their contact details change, you also need to notify Council.

Council is making it easier for food businesses to meet their legal requirements by simplifying the process for nominating your Food Safety Supervisor. If you believe you or a nominated person(s) can meet the Food Safety Supervisor requirements, you can notify Council of who is the Food Safety Supervisor for the business.

You can notify Council of the Food Safety Supervisor(s) by:

  • Informing an Environmental Health Officer during an on site food safety audit
  • Writing to Council at the following address:

    Brisbane City Council
    Compliance and Regulatory Services
    Environmental Health
    GPO Box 1434
    Brisbane QLD 4001

  • Telephoning Council on 133 BNE (133 263).

The following information is required in order to process you Food Safety Supervisor nomination:

  • current Food Business Licence Number
  • current Food Business Licence holder name
  • proposed Food Safety Supervisor name and contact telephone number.

How much is the application fee to nominate a Food Safety Supervisor?

There is no fee for to notify or amend the details of a Food Safety Supervisor.

Why are there no training requirement/s for Food Safety Supervisors?

Council requires that Food Safety Supervisors meet the requirements of the Food Act 2006. Guidelines prepared by Queensland Health encourage Food Safety Supervisors to undertake training in food safety and management practices. However, this is not a legal requirement. Council accordingly, is therefore unable to require that Food Safety Supervisors receive training.

Council however strongly recommends that Food Safety Supervisors undertake training to provide a higher level of protection for the food business. If you would like further information regarding Food Safety Supervisor training, please visit www.ntis.gov.au, a helpful training and education resource provided by Federal and State Governments.

Why do I need to have a Food Safety Supervisor?

Having a Food Safety Supervisor is a legal requirement of the Food Act 2006. This requirement has been in effect since 1 July 2008.

Having a Food Safety Supervisor adds to the onsite level of protection for the day-to-day food safety of the business as Food Safety Supervisors have the experience and/or expertise relevant to the licensable food business. They are also able to supervise and give directions about food safety to other staff in the food business ensuring a high standard of food safety.

Your business is required to have a Food Safety Supervisor in order to participate in the public display of your Eat Safe Brisbane star rating at the business premises and on the Eat Safe Brisbane website.

Who is required to have a Food Safety Supervisor?

Under the Food Act 2006, all licensable food businesses are required to have a Food Safety Supervisor. There are some food businesses that sell food which are not required to be licensed under the Food Act 2006. Businesses that fall into this category include the majority of community non-profit organisations such as sausage sizzles and cake stalls. This is because these food businesses tend to only sell low risk or not potentially hazardous foods such as soft drinks, biscuits or cakes.

What is meant by a Food Safety Supervisor being required to be “reasonably available”?

The Food Act 2006 requires the Food Safety Supervisor to be reasonably available while the business is operating. What this means is the Food Safety Supervisor must be within mobile call range during the hours when food handling is being conducted at the business.  For businesses that operate on a 24/7 basis, there may need to be a shift arrangement in place to ensure this requirement is met. Council strongly recommends that a Food Safety Supervisor is at the premises whenever food handling is being undertaken.

When the Food Safety Supervisor is not at the premises in person, there should be a documented mechanism in place to ensure directions about matters relating to food safety are available to persons who handle food.

A Food Safety Supervisor is not required to be ‘reasonably available’ when the business is operating but no food handling is being undertaken. For example, a sporting club kitchen closes at 9pm but the club remains open until 11pm for entertainment activities. A Food Safety Supervisor would not be required for the period after 9pm even though the business is open.

I have previously had my Food Safety Supervisor nomination rejected by Council because I/my employee did not meet the Food Safety Supervisor training requirements. How can I be assured that my application will be successful this time?

Council has recently reviewed the requirements for nominating a Food Safety Supervisor and has taken steps to ensure the process is easier and simpler for food businesses. To accept your Food Safety Supervisor nomination, all Council requires from you is notification of the current Food Business Licence number, current Food Business Licence holder name and the proposed Food Safety Supervisor name and telephone contact details.  You are no longer  required to provide to Council RTO (or any other training certification) with your Food Safety Supervisor nomination.

Will Council reimburse me/my business for the Food Safety Supervisor training I/my staff members have undertaken?

Unfortunately, Council is unable to offer any reimbursements for costs incurred by you/your business in undertaking Food Safety Supervisor training. The investment you have undertaken will potentially assist your business in achieving a higher star rating under the Eat Safe Brisbane scheme.

What happens if I don’t nominate a Food Safety Supervisor for my business?

Failure to nominate a Food Safety Supervisor with Council is an offence against the Food Act 2006. This requirement has been in effect since 1 July 2008. This may result in Council taking further enforcement action including the issuing of notices and on the spot fines.

If Council has not received your Food Safety Supervisor nomination your business will be unable to display a star rating as part of the Eat Safe Brisbane scheme. To display an Eat Safe Brisbane food safety star rating , Council must have on record your nominated Food Safety Supervisor.

Where can I obtain further information?

If you require further information on Food Safety Supervisors, please visit:

www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/eatsafebrisbane

If you wish, you can call 3403 8888 and ask to speak to an Environmental Health Officer.

Food safety programs

A food safety program is a document that identifies and controls food safety hazards in the handling of food in a food business. Certain licensable food businesses must have a food safety program accredited by their local government. Licensable food businesses are required to have an accredited food safety program if:

  • the food business involves off‐site catering
  • the primary activity of the food business is on‐site catering at the premises stated in the licence
  • the primary activity of the food business is on‐site catering at part of the premises stated in the licence
  • the food business is carried on as part of the operations of a private hospital
  • the food business processes or serves potentially hazardous food to six or more vulnerable persons, e.g. child care centre, aged care or palliative care facility.

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