Food Safety

Starting a food business

In South Australia all food businesses are legally required to notify their local Council before starting food handling operations. Before you notify and start operating your food business, it is best to contact Council’s Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to make sure you understand the requirements your business needs to meet. For example, you must understand the requirements of the Food Safety Standards and relevant legislation and be able to comply with the requirements. It is recommended that you provide proposed floor plans and details including the type of food business operation/food handling activities for comment.

Food legislation

All food businesses in South Australia are required to comply with food safety legislation

  • Food Act 2001
  • Food Regulations 2017
  • Relevant sections of the Food Standards Code; and the
  • Public Health (Notifiable Contaminants) Regulations 2020.

What is a food business?

Under the Food Act 2001 a food business means a business, enterprise or activity (other than a primary food production business) that involves the handling of food intended for sale or the sale of food, regardless of whether the business, enterprise or activity concerned is of a commercial, charitable or community nature or whether it involves the handling or sale of food on one occasion only.

Put simply a food business is any business or charity that sells food. Examples of food businesses include cafés, caterers, churches, cinemas, food trucks, hotels, manufacturers, restaurants, service stations, supermarkets.

All food businesses, from major food manufacturers to a local church group that holds a one-off food fair, have defined responsibilities under the legislation to ensure they make and sell safe food.

How do i notify?

The Food Business Notification Form can be completed online and submitted to SA Health. You will receive email confirmation of your notification and a copy will be sent to Council on your behalf.

Failure to notify

If a food business does not notify the appropriate enforcement agency before starting, penalties and/or expiation fees under Section 86 of the Food Act 2001 may be applied.

Maximum penalty:

$120,000 if the offender is a body corporate

$25,000 if an individual person

Expiation fee:

$1,500 if the offender is a body corporate

$300 if an individual person

Additional notification information

If a business has multiple food premises, a separate notification form is required for each site.

If there are any changes to the ownership, contact details, location or nature of the food business the business must notify the council of the changes before the changes take place.

There is no fee for notification.

Mobile food businesses such as food trucks must notify the council where the vehicle is normally garaged.

Caterers must notify the council where the majority of the food or equipment is stored and/or handled.

Food Business Regulation

Councils Environmental Health Officer (EHO) inspects food business to ensure compliance with the relevant legislative requirements including the Food Safety Standards (FSANZ Food Standards Code Chapter 3)

See Council's fees and charges policy for relevant inspection fees.

More information regarding legislation and policies with respect to food safety within food businesses can be found at the Department of Health Website. More information regarding Safe drinking water can be found on the following website.

EHO's also attend to customer complaints with respect to food handling, food poisoning investigations. Submit a enquiry/request here.

Labelling of Packaged Food

For enquiries regarding the labelling of packaged food please contact SA Health Food Standards Surveillance 8226 7100.

Guidelines for labelling of packaged foods

Food Safety Training

In SA food handling staff are not required to hold formal qualifications or attend a training course, however it is important (and a legal requirement) that food handlers have appropriate food safety and food hygiene skills and knowledge in line with the work they do.

FREE Online Food Safety Training for food businesses and community groups can be found below

DoFoodSafely - Department of Health and Human Services Victoria, proudly supported by SA Health

I’m Alert - Environmental Health Australia

Food Safety at Home

Although we tend to blame the last place we ate out, a large proportion of food poisoning occurs due to poor food handling or storage in the home. The majority of food poisoning takes 24 -72 hours so it is not necessarily the last meal you ate. Some food poisoning symptoms do not develop for as many as thirteen days.

The Food Safety Information Council aims to reduce the number of Australian's becoming sick from food poisoning by providing simple, easy to follow information on the handling, storage and preparation of food. We encourage you visiting their site for more information on safe food handling at home.

You’ve Got What provides information on illnesses caused by the spread of infectious diseases as well as General topics such as preventing food poisoning at home and exclusion from childcare, preschool, school and work.