What is Food Safety & Hygiene ?
It is protecting food from chemical, microbiological and physical spoilage. It is preventing food contamination.
Chemical contamination of food may be from pesticides, cleaning agents, or other substances stored in close vicinity to food.
Microbiological contamination of food may occur from the presence and growth of fungi and bacteria on food, through poor storage practices, incorrect temperature control, insufficient cooking, and cross contamination of raw meat products with ready to eat foods.
Physical contamination of food may occur from substances such as glass, metal or wood, dropping into foods not covered during storage and/or food preparation.
Consuming contaminated food may result in a foodborne illness, and it is estimated that 4.1 million Australians are affected each year, with symptoms ranging from mild stomach cramps, to flu like symptoms, or severe vomiting and gastroenteritis. The symptoms can be unpleasant and for some groups they can be quite serious.
See Food poisoning.
Food safety and hygiene at home
The following link has some very useful information on safe food handling and cooking at home Food At Home
Retail Food Operations
Council's Environmental Health Officer (EHO) keeps a register of all retail food premises in Broken Hill, and conducts regular inspections of these businesses to ensure the maintenance of a satisfactory food safety and hygiene regime.
The EHO has been trained in all aspects of food hygiene, from constructional requirements to proper food handling techniques. The EHO's role is to educate all people working in and around the food industry to ensure the highest level of food safety possible for consumers.
All food businesses, including mobile food vendors and temporary food stalls, must comply with the requirements of the NSW legislation and Australian standards:
The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Codes (Chapter Three);
3.1.1 Interpretation and application
3.2.2 Food safety practices and general requirements
3.2.3 Food premises and equipment
the Australian Standard AS 4674-2004 Design, Construction and Fitout of Food Premises, is the main guidance document used when advising potential food operators of the requirements for construction of new premises.
Council officers inspect premises with a view to upgrade existing premises where required while new premises must be built to the latest standards and must be registered and approved by Council.
Council does not regulate all food businesses. Certain businesses need to hold a licence with the NSW Food Authority.
If businesses are found to be operating outside the legislated requirements, the EHO's primary aim is to educate the food handlers as to why the potential hazard exists, and how to rectify the problem. However, if the food handlers choose to disregard the instructions given by the EHO they risk possible enforcement action, or prosecution under The Food Act 2003, some carrying penalties of up to $110,000 or 2 years imprisonment for serious food act breaches.
During food premises inspections, the EHO uses the Food Premises Assessment Report (FPAR) checklist to ensure consistency in the evaluation of the premises within Broken Hill, in assessing that an adequate standard is being maintained in: general hygiene and cleanliness; pest control; temperature control; and food handling practices.
The decision to open or run a food business is large enough without entering the environment not knowing all the requirements set down by legislation and policies in place within your local government area. Environmental Health Officers are always available to give advice in relation to these matters and should be the first contact when entering the food industry.
- Planning, Development & Compliance
- Phone: 08 8080 3340
- Fax: 08 8080 3424