Food safety programs
As of 1 July 2007, a licensee, other than the holder of a provisional licence, must have an accredited food safety program.
Applicable food businesses include:
- Businesses that involve off-site catering
- Businesses where the primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at the premises stated in the licence
- Businesses where the primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at part of the premises stated in the licence
- Businesses where the food business is carried on as part of the operations of a private hospital under the Private Health Facilities Act 1999
A food safety program is a document that outlines how a food business controls and monitors all of the food safety hazards that are associated with the business.
A food safety program for a food business must:
- Systematically identify food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur food handling operations of the food business
- Identify where, in a food handling operation of the food business, each hazard identified under paragraph (a) can be controlled and the means of control
- Provide for the systematic monitoring of the means of control
- Provide for appropriate corrective action to be taken when a hazard identified under paragraph (a) is not under control
- Provide for regular review of the program to ensure it is appropriate for the food business
- Provide for the keeping of appropriate records for the food business, including records about action taken to ensure the business is carried on in compliance with the program
- Contain other information, relating to the control of food safety hazards, prescribed under a regulation
A food safety hazard means a thing or a situation that has the potential to cause food handled or sold in connection with the business to be unsafe or unsuitable. Hazards may be microbial, physical (eg foreign objects) or chemical.
What the food safety program should contain
Standard operating procedures
A set of written procedures providing a step-by-step instruction on how processes should be run.
A series of accompanying programs that are used to address the food safety hazards within the business. These are the minimum requirements that are required of the business to ensure the production of safe food. Examples of support programs include cleaning schedules, pest control program, food handlers skills and knowledge requirements, personal hygiene requirements, training program and food recall procedures.
A set of documents used to monitor the identified food safety hazards. Records should be maintained for all steps in the operation that are designed to prevent, eliminate or reduce the risk of the food safety hazard to an acceptable level.
A written set of procedures informing the required actions to be taken in the event that a process or action does not meet the requirements of the food safety program. All corrective actions taken should be documented to outline what action was taken to fix the situation (eg disposed of product).
For any part of the operation where a food business requires to demonstrate that a process used by a business will not affect the safety or suitability of a food product, all supporting documentation must be included as part of the Food Safety Program.
Legal requirements of the food safety program
Once the program has been approved and accredited by council, the business must comply with the food safety program. Should any changes be made to the program, a copy of the amended documentation must be submitted to council for approval.
A copy of the accredited food safety program must be kept at each fixed premises and mobile premises from which the business is carried on. This program is required to be available to all employees.
The first compliance audit must be conducted within six months after the program has been accredited and must be conducted by an appropriate auditor of the food business.
The frequency of subsequent audits will be dependent on a number of factors, such as:
- The food safety risks associated with the business
- The level of compliance with the implemented food safety program and all relevant legislation
- Any changes to the business operations that may affect food safety
Your licence is renewed annually and attracts an annual fee.
How to apply
Develop a Food Safety Program. Refer to the Queensland Health website for templates and guidance.
Arrange for an approved auditor to conduct a compliance audit on the Food Safety Program. Refer to the Queensland Health register of approved auditors that can assist in this step.
Attach and submit the following documents to council with the relevant fee :
- the audited Food Safety Program
- the approved auditor’s advice for the Food Safety Program
- a completed Application for accreditation of a food safety program (PDF 68 KB)
Learn more about
- QLD health Food Safety Program information
- Food safety resources (fact sheets, record keeping etc.)
- Apply for a food business licence
For more information about Food Safety Program auditing and accreditation, contact council's Health and Regulatory Services team on 1300 MACKAY (622 529) or email email@example.com.