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Food Safety lawsBy Katherine Vincent, Johnston Withers, Lawyers, Adelaide.

Most restaurants and cafés will have a good understanding of their compliance obligations but, as this article points out, the food safety laws apply to everyone. That includes places like cinemas, petrol stations, swimming pools, even local charity or community groups hosting a one-off trade fair or fundraiser.

All businesses involved with the handling of food intended for sale in South Australia must comply with the Food Safety Standards. The rules apply regardless of whether or not the business is of a commercial, charitable or community nature.

The sale of food includes food:

  • provided under a contract of services; or
  • supplied under a contract inclusive (or operating alongside) of accommodation, other services or entertainment. This would include cinemas, petrol stations, swimming pools, and even local charity or community groups hosting a one-off trade fair or fundraiser.

Food Safety in South Australia is governed by three interlocking pieces of legislation; The Food Act (SA) 2001, The Food Regulations (SA) 2002 and Australia New Zealand Food Standard Code. This legislation includes obligations to notify the relevant local council(s) prior to starting food handling operations, as well as ongoing strict health and hygiene responsibilities when handling food.

Local Environmental Health Officers routinely inspect food businesses for compliance with the legislation. The consequences of breaching these standards range in severity and include: warning letters, expiation notices, prohibition orders and prosecution. Fines can be as high as $120,000.00 for a body corporate, or $25,000.00 for an individual. Alternatively, premises can be ordered to be shut down altogether.

We recommend that you seek legal advice about your specific circumstances and what the food safety laws mean to you and your business before offering food to the public.

Contact the author directly by email or by telephone.

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