Leichhardt Council is working with local food businesses to ensure that safe and suitable food is delivered to consumers by retail food businesses.
It is Council's responsibility to inspect and educate food businesses on issues relating to general food handling and food hygiene practices.
The estimated annual cost of food poisoning in Australia is $1.25 billion. NSW and the public health system bear roughly one-third of these costs. The key contributing factors that contribute to food poisoning outbreaks include:
- Inappropriate storage (food stored too long or too warm) (29.0%)
- Food handlers contamination (poor hygiene) (14.5%)
- Inadequate cooking or reheating (14.1%)
- Cross-contamination (14.1%)
- Foods from an unsafe source (14.1%)
- Other sources (14.2%)
Random inspections are undertaken by Council of food retail food businesses to ensure that they comply with their legislative requirements and to ensure that businesses are educated on food safety and food hygiene matters. Some of the areas checked during inspections include:
- Temperature control,
- Cleanliness of premises,
- Personal hygiene and
- Storage of food.
The legislative framework that governs food safety practices throughout New South Wales includes the Food Act 2003, the Food Regulation 2004 and the Food Standards Code which incorporates the Food Safety Standards.
The aim of the legislative framework is to:
- To ensure that safe and suitable food is delivered.
- To reduce the level of food-borne illness in Australia.
- To provide more effective food safety regulations.
- To provide nationally uniform food safety standards across all States, and
- To give food businesses more flexibility provided that food safety is not compromised.
The above legislation applies to all food businesses who sell food intended for human consumption. Food for sale can include any packaged food and drinks to prepared meals.
Businesses that only sell packaged food and do not prepare food on the premises are not exempt from conforming to the legislative requirements.
The above legislation may apply to the following types of businesses (but is not limited to). To view any of the above legislation, please select from any of the following links below:
- Food Act 2003
- Food Regulation 2004
- Food Standards Code
- Food Safety Standards
Standard 3.1.1 - Interpretation and Application
Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements
Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment
Leichhardt Council educates and informs business operators and staff of their food safety responsibilities and the health and hygiene obligations under the relevant food laws.
Council also has a regulatory role in enforcing these laws.
Under the Food Act 2003, Council has the ability to enforce breaches against the act by issuing:
- 1.Penalty Infringement Notices (On-the-spot fines),
- 2.Improvement Notices,
- 3.Prohibition Orders, and/or
- 4.Commencing prosecution proceedings in the local court.
Breaches against the act can include things such as:
- Unclean premises
- Incorrect food handling practices
- Inadequate storage of food
- Temperature control
- Personal hygiene and
- Inadequate pest control and fit-out requirements of premises.
A penalty infringement notice (PIN) was introduced under the Food Act 2003, for offences under the Food Standards Code. The use of penalty infringement notices is currently being carried out by Council officers in appropriate situations. Penalty infringement notices can range from $110 to $2,640.
In May 2008, penalty infringement notices have been published on the NSW Food Authority's website to give consumers more information to make decisions about where they eat or buy food. The 'Name and Shame' register as it more commonly known, publishes a list of businesses that have breached or are alleged to have breached NSW food safety laws.
For further information and to view the 'Name and Shame' register please viste the NSW Food Authority's website.
Council's Environmental Health Officers are available to answer any enquiries and/or take complaints related to food safety. To make an enquiry or to lodge a complaint, you can contact Council by:-
- Phone: (02) 9367 9222
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail: The General Manager
PO Box 45
LEICHHARDT NSW 2040
Council investigates general food safety complaints relating to cleanliness of a premises, temperature control, poor food handling practices etc. It should be noted that food poisoning complaints should be directed to the NSW Food Authority. The NSW Food Authority can be contacted by:-
- Phone: 1300 552 406
- Facsimile: (02) 9647 0026
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Mail: Consumer & Industry Contact Centre
c/ NSW Food Authority
PO Box 6682
SILVERWATER NSW 1811
The Food Act (NSW) 2003 requires that food businesses must ensure that all food handlers who engage in handling of food have adequate skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene matters.
To assist businesses in ensuring that all food handlers who engage in handling of food have adequate skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene, Council runs a number of free food handling seminars which are offered to local retail food businesses and their employees.
Topics covered at the seminars include food laws, temperature control, health and hygiene requirements, construction of food premises and reducing food poisoning risks.
There are currently no seminars scheduled. Check the website for new dates here.