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Food Premises and Safety

NOTICE

Wellington Shire Pools Operating Status (Temperature Trigger)

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Wellington Shire Council's Environmental Health Officers play an important role in ensuring food prepared and sold within the Shire is safe for human consumption.

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Food Premises

If you are applying for registration, starting a new food premises or alterating an existing premises please follow these steps:

Step 1

Check with our Planning Department to determine any planning requirements for your business. Discuss your plans with a private building surveyor to determine if proposed structural works require building permits.

Step 2

Arrange an onsite visit for a Wellington Shire Council Environmental Health Officer to discuss food act requirements and determine if the proposal is acceptable. You should present rough floor plans, and a proposed list of foods to be sold. Please contact Council for information regarding construction requirements in a food premises and to arrange your inspection.

Step 3

Once discussions indicate the proposal is suitable, you should submit the following information to Council for review before commencing any structural works:

  • A plan drawn to scale of not less than 1:100 (Both bird's eye view and elevations)
  • Specifications describing the type of materials to be used in the construction and finishing eg. floor, wall and ceiling surfaces, benches and equipment
  • A proposed menu
  • Contact utility authorities to ensure you meet their requirements

Refer to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code Food Safety Standards for further information on food safety standards and general requirements relating to food premises and equipment.

Step 4

Structural works may commence once the reviewing Environmental Health Officer permits the structural renovations. The Officer must be satisfied that the proposed premises is acceptable and all legal requirements have been met. Throughout the fit out period the Officer will continue contact through inspections, ensuring that construction is carried out in accordance with the approved plans.

If you are purchasing an existing food business, please note that registration of a food premises is not transferable, therefor new proprietors must obtain registration under the Food Act 1984 before commencing trade.

Prior to buying or leasing a premises which you intend to use a registered food premises, it is strongly recommended that you request a pre-purchase inspection from Council in order to be informed on the current condition of the premises and its compliance with the Food Act 1984. Please note that this inspection will only report on the items relevant to the Food Act 1984 and Tobacco Act 1987. Should you wish to determine whether the premises complies with building/statutory planning departments' requirements and other utility providers (eg. Gippsland Water) separate enquiries need to be made to those authorities.

To request an inspection, please complete the Request for Pre-Purchase Inspection for a Registered Business Form. This form can also be completed by your legal representative. Prior to proceeding with an agreement to purchase or lease a premises, you should identify whether the current owner will address any outstanding structural works prior to the sale. If the items are not addressed, these works will become the responsibility of the new proprietor. You may not be able to obtain registration under the Food Act 1984 until these items are addressed.

Step 5

Contact Wellington Shire Council to arrange a pre-registration inspection once structural works are complete and the premises are ready to operate. At this stage businesses need to:

  • Complete a Food Act Registration form provided by the Officer
  • Pay the appropriate registration fee
  • Provide a copy of the final menu
  • Provide a copy of the customised food safety program if applicable - refer to the information on Food Safety Programs below
  • Provide a copy of an approved food safety supervisor certificate if applicable
  • Read the Registering a Food Premises Information Sheet

The Environmental Health Officer calculates the registration fee as determined by the business' food activities. This prorate cost depends on when the business commences operation. For a list of fees please contact Wellington Shire Council. A Certificate of Food Act Registration is issued to a premises when requirements have been met. Follow-up inspections will then be carried out with the new proprietor to ensure all Food Act requirements are being met.

Note: Food premises must not commence operation prior to receiving permission from Council's Environmental Health Department and a certificate of Food Act Registration.

Food Safety Programs & Training

Food Safety Programs
A Food Safety Program (FSP) is a document detailing the steps taken in the premises to ensure food prepared and sold is safe. If changes are made to food activities, the FSP must be updated and submitted to us. Any business selling or preparing food for sale that is unpackaged or requires temperature control, is required to submit a customised Food FSP to us prior to operating (Class One and Two premises). A business may develop an independent FSP which is required to be independently audited by a certified Food Safety Auditor in conjunction with the routine inspections conducted by the Environmental Health Officer. Alternatively, a standard Food Safety Program registered with the Department of Human Services may be implemented. The business will need to demonstrate the program in action at the premises.

Some Class 2 food premises can create a food safety program using the FoodSmart website.

Full implementation of your food safety program, including the maintenance of specified records is a minimum legal requirement under section 19D of the Food Act 1984. Failure to maintain such records can be deemed grounds for suspension or revocation of your current Food Act Registration, which would in effect; cease you from trading legally. A template for a records books is available here.

Food Safety Supervisors - Training
Every food premises implementing a Food Safety Program is required to nominate a Food Safety Supervisor (FSS). An FSS is required to complete training in the minimum standards as required. Competency standards are set by the Australian Registered Training Authority (RTO) for food service.

The FSS should be someone present at the premises the majority of the time and provide clear direction and train staff regarding the implementation of the Food Safety Program. The FSS must demonstrate they have obtained the required competency standards by providing copies of training certificates to us.

See the Department of Health Food Safety Supervisor Requirements page for further information regarding the obligations of this role.

Cancellation of Registration for a Food Premises

When a registered proprietor ceases being the operator of the registered food premises, a 'cancellation of registration' occurs. A cancellation of registration will be applicable in the following scenarios:

  • The registered food premises has been vacated by the registered proprietor (for example, end of lease, business is no longer in operation) or
  • The food business is changing ownership (or has already changed) and registration of the food premises needs to be granted to the new proprietor

To advise Council of a cancellation of registration, please complete the below online form or send a notification to enquiries@wellington.vic.gov.au or by mail to:

Wellington Shire Council - Environmental Health Office
PO Box 506
SALE VIC 3850

Notification details required are: trading name, premises address, proprietor name (including contact information) and closure date.

Temporary Food Premises

Selling food at community events and markets is a great way to fundraise for community and not for profit organisations and good business promotion for local businesses. As with all food businesses however, the food prepared and sold at these events must be safe for consumption and your legal requirements met.

Community groups that hold a current Food Act registration at their canteen or clubrooms are required to register and lodge a Notification of the event on Streatreader. Community groups who do not currently hold a Food Act Registration are required to contact Council for advice on how to proceed with their event.

Community groups wishing to fundraise with food should consider foods that are easy to prepare and cook onsite and present few food safety hazards (eg. sausage sizzle, cake stall, jams and preserves, packaged drinks). Where possible the majority of preparation should be done prior to the event in a controlled environment.

Commercial businesses selling food at events in Wellington Shire must be registered with a Victorian Council. These businesses must notify Council of their intent to trade at an event by completing the Statement of Trade Form. Forms should be submitted a minimum of 5 working days prior to an event and be accompanied by proof of current registration.

Please note: Any person who is preparing and/or selling food for personal profit is required to be registered under the Food Act 1984.

Food Safety Programs

All commercial and community organisations preparing and/or selling food at an event that is unpackaged and high risk are required under the Food Act 1984 to implement a Food Safety Program (FSP). The coordinator must ensure that the program is adhered to at all times including monitoring of food temperatures and maintaining checklists for the event.

Food Safety Training

While it is not essential for all food handlers to complete food safety training courses, it is highly recommended that at least one person present during the event has completed some form of food safety training.

It is important for all volunteers to understand the basic food safety principles and legal requirements when handling food. A simple and free online food safety training course is available at the Department of Health website.

Class 2 premises will be required to nominate a qualified Food Safety Supervisor.

Personal Hygiene of Food Handlers

Personal hygiene of food handlers is important to prevent food contamination and food poisoning. Everyone involved in the event must maintain a high standard of personal hygiene and cleanliness. Volunteers should not work with food if they are suffering from an illness such as coughs and colds or gastro.

Temperature Control

Safe temperatures are 5°C or colder, or 60°C or hotter. Potentially hazardous food needs to be kept at these temperatures to prevent food-poisoning bacteria, which may be present in the food, from multiplying to dangerous levels. These bacteria can grow at temperatures between 5°C and 60°C, which is known as the temperature danger zone. The fastest rate of growth is at around37°C, the temperature of the human body.

The food safety standards also require you to have a thermometer if you prepare, handle or sell potentially hazardous food. This will enable you to check that safe temperatures are being maintained.

Handling and Preparing Food

  • Ensure raw and ready to eat foods are clearly separated
  • Ensure ready to eat food is handled using clean utensils or fresh gloves
  • Ensure all equipment is in a clean and suitable condition


Hand and Equipment Washing Facilities

When handling unpackaged food at an event adequate hand washing facilities must be provided for food handlers. This area should be clearly designated for hand washing only. Temporary hand washing stations can be set up by providing a clean plastic drum with a tap at the base, clean water, soap and paper towel. Use a bucket to collect the used water and dispose of it in a sewer once the event is finished.

Utensil washing facilities should be provided at any event where there is unpackaged food. Utensils must be washed in clean hot water and adequately dried using clean towels.

Labelling

All food served at an event should be labelled with the ingredients and where the food has been made for the customer's information. Labels should include the following information:

  • Name of the product
  • Ingredients
  • Who made the product and the organisation that has sold it
  • Best before dates or date of manufacture

Further information on labelling may be found on the Food Labelling page of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards website.

Event Organisers

Our Events Coordination Team can assist with the organisation of your event. Visit our Hosting an Event page for further information.

If you are the organiser of an event that has food sales involved, you have a responsibility to ensure that food vendors attending your event have met their legal requirements with Council. In order to notify Council of the event with food sales please complete the attached Notification of an Event with Food Sales Form at least 4 weeks prior to the event. Council will then assist you with distributing the correct information to the food vendors.

Food Safety

Our Environmental Health Officers play an important role in ensuring food prepared and sold within the shire is safe for human consumption. We undertake food safety activities including:

  • Inspection of Food Act registered businesses including markets
  • Routine food sampling
  • Providing food safety advice and resources to food businesses, community groups and the general public
  • Investigation of food borne illnesses
  • Registration of new food businesses

 

Food Poisoning and Complaints

Sometimes the food we eat can make us ill. This is caused by food being handled incorrectly and unsafely resulting in contamination from food poisoning bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Food poisoning can sometimes occur up to 72 hours after consuming a contaminated food with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, headaches and abdominal cramps. These symptoms will last for varying lengths of time depending on the cause of your illness. Some people, such as the elderly or young, are more susceptible to becoming ill from food poisoning bacteria.

There are 5.4 million cases of food poisoning each year in Australia. Approximately one third are caused by bad food handling practices in the home. Anyone suspecting they are suffering from food poisoning should consult a doctor for medical advice and treatment. The GP may take a sample to determine the cause of the illness and these results can be referred on to the Environmental Health Office via the Department of Human Services for further investigation.

If food that has been purchased is the suspected cause of the food poisoning it is important to submit a Customer Action Request Form and provide relevant information for further investigation. All reports are treated seriously and confidentially for both the complainant and the business involved.

Aside from food poisoning, other issues can arise with food such as contamination with foreign objects or witnessing unsafe food handling practices within food businesses. To report a food complaint please contact Wellington Shire Council. These reports are kept confidential.

Managing Food Waste

Businesses such as restaurants, bakeries, hotels, fast food outlets and hospitals that prepare and sell food have a responsibility to dispose of food waste appropriately.  Prohibited food waste should be placed in an appropriate garbage bin for collection by the Council or a Commercial Waste Service for disposal in landfill or composting at an appropriate recycling facility.

Food waste containing meat, other animal by-products, some dairy products or any food that has come into contact with these prohibited foods must not be fed to pigs (an illegal practice known as Swill Feeding). Further information on Swill Feeding (including a link to translated factsheets in Arabic, Mandarin and Vietnamese) is available on our Livestock page.

This page was last published on: 
Friday, July 9, 2021

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