Food safety practices are essential for the health and safety of our community. To minimise the potentially serious impact upon the health and wellbeing of the community, as well as the financial viability of their business, food business operators must ensure that relevant food safety standards and requirements are satisfied at all times. Council’s Environmental Health Officers enforce compliance with the requirements and standards of the NSW Food Authority. All permanent and temporary food businesses must obtain approval from Council in order to operate.
Please contact Council by phoning 03 5020 1300 to make an appointment to see the Health and Development Officer.
A large proportion of food-borne illness is caused by poor food handling practices. It is extremely important that all food handlers and supervisors have the appropriate skills and knowledge in food hygiene. It is also important that food premises are maintained in a clean and sanitary condition to minimise potential contamination of food from dirt, grease, bacteria and other substances.
Various markets and events arise within the community for which the precautions of food safety have to be observed. Regular stall operators at markets must be registered with the NSW Food Authority.
Community fundraising groups which are operating for community charitable causes are exempt. This does not lessen the responsibility and liability for any food items to be prepared under appropriate hygiene standards, recognising temperatures and storage of the product.
There are also safety liabilities that can occur if persons are injured by equipment, for example coming into contact with a hot BBQ or hot bain-marie. Issues of public risk insurance and incorporation need to be considered by persons operating in a less structured market environment.
What is a fundraising event?
Community Groups e.g. Church groups, school fetes; a not-for-profit group selling food to raise funds for a community group.
Charitable Organisations e.g. Royal Blind Society, Child Flight; a not-for-profit group selling food to raise funds for a charitable organisation.
Why do we need to label our foods?
To identify or describe the food for consumers
To provide adequate information to help consumers make their own choices whether they are able or want to purchase the food.
What do we need on our labels for food sold at events?
1. Name or Description of the food
A true name or description of the nature of the food must be included on the label. e.g. Lamingtons, Walnut and Date Slice, Strawberry Jam.
2. Ingredients Declaration
A list of ingredients must be included on the label. The ingredients must be listed in descending order of ingoing weight. e.g. flour, sugar, milk, eggs, cocoa, vanilla.
Mandatory Allergen statements and warnings
Food containing any of the allergens listed below must be identified and given to the consumer either on request, displayed next to the food or on the packaging:
3. Details of the person or organisation who made the food.
So the food can be traced back to the maker, the name and address of the person or organisation must be included on the label. The address on the label must be a street address, as a post office box can not be traced.
4. Baked on Date
So that consumers are aware of the date the product was produced, a baked on date must be included on the label. e.g. Baked on 01/01/07
5. Nutritional Information Panel (NIP)
If a nutritional claim is made on the food e.g. 99% fat free, a nutritional information panel must be included on the label. A NIP is a table which lists the content of the basic nutrients e.g. protein, fats, sugars and sodium contained in food. However, if a nutritional claim has not been made, charitable organisations and community groups are exempt from bearing a NIP on the label.
For further information on Nutritional Information Panels please visit the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand website:www.foodstandards.gov.au
6. Directions for storage and use
A statement of directions for storage and use must be included on the label if perishable foods are sold such as food required to be refrigerated. e.g. keep product refrigerated.
For more information:
NSW Food Authority: Visit the NSW Food Authority website for more information at www.foodauthority.gov.au or call the NSW Food Authority Contact Centre on 1300 552 406
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ): Visit the FSANZ website for more information at www.foodstandards.gov.au
What is cross contamination?
Cross contamination is one of the causes of food poisoning. It can happen when bacteria from the surface of raw meat, poultry and raw vegetables with visible dirt (such as unwashed potatoes) gets transferred onto ready to eat food, such as green salads, rice or pasta salads, bread or fruit. The bacteria on the raw food are killed when the food is cooked, but the ready to eat food gets eaten without further cooking — bacteria and all.
How are the bacteria transferred?
Hands are among the culprits in transferring bacteria from raw to ready to eat food, but chopping boards, knives and other cooking implements can also spread the contamination. Cooking utensils and chopping boards need to be carefully washed with warm water and detergent, and after washing, need to be thoroughly dried to further reduce their ability to transfer bacteria and prevent their growth.
Incorrectly storing raw food in the fridge by allowing it to come into direct contact with ready to eat foods, or allowing meat juices to drip onto cooked foods, fruit and other ready to eat food, are also causes of cross contamination.
When should I wash my hands?
Always wash and dry your hands:
How should I wash my hands?
Wet hands, rub together well to build up a good lather with soap — don’t forget the back of the hands, between the fingers and under nails. Rinse well in warm water and dry thoroughly on a clean towel.
How should raw and ready to eat food be stored?
Raw food, such as meat, poultry or fish should be stored at the bottom of the fridge or in a container to prevent meat and juices dripping onto other food. Make sure that it can not directly touch other food.
Ready to eat food should be stored covered in the fridge to further reduce the risks.
What kind of chopping board is best to avoid cross contamination?
In the home it really doesn’t matter whether you have wooden, plastic or glass chopping boards so long as they are kept really clean and in good condition. The porous nature of wood makes it advisable to use plastic or glass chopping boards for raw meat, poultry and seafood. It may be easiest to have two boards — one for raw food and one for ready to eat food. All chopping boards should be scrubbed with hot water and detergent after preparing raw foods. Plastic chopping boards are good as they can be washed at high temperatures in the dishwasher. However, any board should be replaced when its surface becomes scratched because bacteria can hide in the scratches