Food Inspections

Liverpool City Council undertakes inspections of all retail food premises that sell, store and handle food to ensure compliance with legislative requirements.

Food businesses are given a risk assessment and are placed on an on-going routine food inspection regime. Low risk businesses are inspected on a complaint basis, medium risk businesses are inspected once a year and high risk businesses are inspected twice a year. Mobile food vehicles are inspected once a year and temporary food premises are inspected when events occur, so as to ensure compliance with the Food Act 2003, Food Regulation 2015, and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

Under the Food Act, 2003 authorised officers are permitted to enter and inspect any premises that are believed to be used in connection with the handling or sale of food. Whilst carrying out inspections Environmental Health Officers focus on a wide range of issues including, cleanliness, temperature control, contamination, hygiene, food handling practices, pest control, construction, maintenance and waste storage.

Should non-compliance be found, improvement notices or infringements may be issued or immediate court action undertaken. Reinspections will then be conducted until compliance is achieved.

Environmental Health Officers also investigate complaints relating to food quality and unclean food premises.

Food Safety Supervisor Requirements

The Food Act 2003 requires certain retail food businesses to appoint a trained Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) to their food business. This requirement typically applies to businesses that process and sell food at retail level that is:

  • ready-to-eat;
  • potentially hazardous (for example it requires temperature control); and
  • it is not sold and served in the supplier’s original package.

These businesses include restaurants, cafés, takeaway shops, caterers (i.e process and serve food at one fixed location), mobile caterers (i.e process and transport food to more than one location), bakeries, pubs, clubs, hotels, temporary premises (i.e food market stalls), mobile food vendors (i.e process and sell food from a van) and supermarket hot food sales (i.e hot chicken).

The NSW Food Authority have decided that the appointment of a Food Safety Supervisor requirement does not apply to businesses licensed by the authority, nor does it also apply to:

  • coffee vendors that only heat milk;
  • not-for-profit community and charitable causes;
  • school canteens (primary or secondary);
  • boarding schools;
  • children's service (childcare centres);
  • out of school hours care services;
  • correctional centres; and
  • supermarkets (if heated food is not sold).

Food businesses that do the following:

  • slice fermented meats and/or smallgoods;
  • slice and/or portion cheese;
  • process raw seafood;
  • slice and/or portion fruit or vegetables that is ready-to-eat.

Food businesses are required to keep a copy of the FSS Certificate on the food premises at all times and produce it for inspection on request by an authorised officer. Failure not to comply with this requirement can result in a penalty infringement notice issued of up to $660.

Steps for businesses to follow in order to comply with the new Food Safety Supervisor requirements:

  1. Determine whether your business needs to an FSS;
  2. Choose who will be the FSS for your business;
  3. Select a NSW Food Authority FSS approved registered training organisation and undertake the required units of competency. The FSS must be trained by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) approved by the NSW Food Authority. Lists of all the approved RTOs are available on the NSW Food Authority website. Only approved RTOs, and the NSW Food Authority, can issue a Food Safety Supervisor Certificate.
    Approved FSS training is offered by TAFE and a number of companies, at numerous locations, times and languages. Food proprietors need to research the most suitable training option from the approved RTO list.
    Elements of the training to consider:
    Time: the course runs for about seven hours (run in one full day or in several short sessions)
    Cost: ranges from $200 - $300
    Languages: some companies offer training which has been translated
    Locations: training is offered throughout Sydney and NSWOn-line: FSS training is available by correspondence and on-line.
  4. Once the FSS receives a Statement of Attainment and the FSS certificate is issued by the NSW Food Authority, a copy of the certificate issued by the NSW Food Authority is required to be kept on the premises.
    The FSS certificate is valid for five years only and must be available at the food business premises for viewing by Council Environmental Health Officers.
  5. After five years, the FSS is required to obtain refresher training.
    Food businesses have 30 working days to make sure their appointed FSS participates in the refresher training and obtains a new FSS certificate. By doing so, retail food businesses will continue to promote and support a highly skilled and compliant retail food sector in NSW.

For further information, visit the Department of Primary Industries Food Authority.

Council provides FREE and unlimited access to an on-line Food Safety Program that will assist you and your food handlers in gaining valuable skills and knowledge in food safety and hygiene, which will help to ensure that only safe and suitable food is produced at your food business.

This program is presented in an interactive, easy to follow, and entertaining format that enables the user to print off an acknowledgement form and a certificate upon completion of the program that can be kept as a part of your staff records.

This training program will assist food business managers in ensuring all staff are trained in this important area, thereby reducing any risk of food borne illness resulting from poor food handling practices.

It is recommended that all food handling staff take part in this FREE training opportunity that would otherwise cost you time and money.

Liverpool City Council has made this program available to anyone who would like to complete the training, please log in to Council’s free online food safety training program at I'm Alert Food Safety portal.

Note: Please be advised that this course is not an accredited Food Safety Supervisor Course and should not be mistaken as such. Please refer to the NSW Food Authority Website for a list of accredited Food Safety Supervisor registered training organisations.