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Council's Role in Food Safety

One of Council's statutory roles is to conduct inspections of retail food premises throughout the Georges River Council area. The purpose of these inspections is to ensure:
  • Food handlers have adequate skills and knowledge in the areas of their work
  • Food premises maintain a high standard of hygiene and food handling practices
  • Construction of food premises are maintained in accordance with legislative requirements.
Food premises inspections are generally conducted without giving prior notice to the proprietor or staff of food businesses.  
 
Some of the benefits of Council’s food premises inspection program include:
  • Ensuring compliance with relevant legislative requirements
  • Minimising risks associated with food poisoning
  • Minimising risks associated with food being contaminated
  • Promotes hygiene awareness and increases knowledge amongst food handlers
  • Promotes safe food practices amongst food handlers
  • Provides valuable advice and the latest updates on food legislative requirements
  • Increases consumer confidence which can lead to an increase in business trade
  • To protect public health.

Inspection Program

Inspections are conducted at all high and medium risk food premises at least once per financial year by Council’s Environmental Health Officer.  
 
Under the Food Act 2003, authorised officers are permitted to enter and inspect any food premises that are believed to be selling food.
 
During an inspection, Environmental Health Officers assess compliance of the food premises in accordance with the:  
During an inspection, Environmental Health Officers are authorised to:
  • Examine any food intended for sale
  • Open and examine packages and containers believed to contain food
  • Open and examine equipment
  • Take samples
  • Take photos, films or audio recording
  • Require a person to provide information and records
  • Require a person to answer question.
 
Section 37 of the Food Act provides a list of powers authorised officer have. 
 

Non-compliance

Any food business found not complying with the food legislative requirements may be issued with one or more of the following:

Warning Letter

A document clearly stating non-compliance observed during the inspection and a warning statement informing the proprietor of the consequences, should these not be rectified within the given timeframe.

Improvement Notice

A legal document that gives directions of works required to be completed by a stipulated date. Failure to comply with an Improvement Notice may result in the issuing of a Prohibition Order. 

Prohibition Order

A legal document requiring the premises to cease trading or to cease using part of the premises/equipment or to cease handling food intended for sale, until the terms in the Prohibition Order are complied with.

Penalty Infringement Notices

Penalty Infringement Notices are on-the-spot fines. The Food Act 2003 allows for disclosure of penalty notice information on a public NSW Food Authority register which is known in the community as the “name and shame” list.

Prosecution

Council may prosecute a food business for repeated non-compliance with the food legislation and or when a serious non-compliance has occurred.

Fees and charges

Food inspections conducted by Council’s Environmental Health Officers are subject to fees and charges listed in Georges River Council’s Fees and Charges.

Complaints

If you have concerns about a food premises, please contact Council on 9330 6400 or e-mail: mail@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au