Food safety

Your obligations for safe food handling, storage and processing

The abundance and availability of amazing food and produce are one of the great things about living in Adelaide. Did you know there are over 1,000 food businesses located within Adelaide city and North Adelaide? 

As an owner of a food business, you are required to notify council when you begin trading. 

Food safety standards and compliance

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand is a government agency which controls the Food Standards Code, that all food handling businesses must comply with. The Code contains a lot of information, so if you need further information regarding food safety please contact us.

The City of Adelaide’s Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) are involved in conducting routine inspections of food handling businesses to ensure compliance with the Food Act 2001 and regulations as well as to provide advice and guidance on food safety to business owners.

Some areas they look out for are:

  • deliveries
  • storage
  • processing (preparing, cooking, serving)
  • displays (bain-maries, cabinets, etc.)
  • packaging
  • transportation and distribution
  • recalls/food disposal
  • health, hygiene and knowledge of the food handlers
  • general condition and hygiene of the food premises.

Food inspection fees

If your food businesses are inspected by EHOs, and is found to be compliant, we will waive your inspection fee.

Those food businesses who are non-compliant will incur a food inspection fee for the initial routine inspection. For each non-compliant follow-up inspection (required until the business is inspected and is compliant), a fee will also be charged.

All inspection fees are based on the City of Adelaide’s fees and charges schedule.

Food safety at events

Planning to prepare or sell food at an event? There are some things you need to do to keep everyone safe:

  • have hand-wash facilities within your stall/van
  • sanitise your utensils and food contact surfaces
  • control your food temperature - have a digital probe thermometer ready to use
  • protect your food from contamination (i.e. during transportation, storage and display)
  • if you're using barbeques or hotplates, make sure you have a protective barrier to prevent public access
  • dispose of sullage and wastewater from hand-wash facilities, cooking, utensil wash facilities into sullage tanks, sewage drains or back at home. Do not dispose of wastewater onto Park Lands, storm water drains, the Torrens Lake or any other water courses or public land.

Refer to the Temporary Food Premises guidelines for more information and your responsibilities under the Food Act 2001 and Food Safety Standards.

Please refer to our free I'm Alert online training for a refresher on your responsibilities under the Food Safety Standards.

Food safety rating schemes – good for business

You’ve probably seen the gold stars in the window of your favourite food outlet. These are the result of the Food Safety Rating Scheme, designed to inform the public about the food safety practices of food businesses.

The rating is calculated using the results of our routine food safety inspections. Businesses are awarded 0, 3, 4 or 5 stars. Currently, businesses can voluntarily choose to display their certificate at the site of inspection.

We believe that there are significant public health benefits to be achieved from this Scheme. More information regarding this Scheme, supporting documentation and contact details can be found on the SA Health Food Safety Rating Scheme website. If you can’t see a star rating in your favourite restaurant, ask them about it!

A note on doggy bags

Many customers request a “doggy bag” to take leftovers home with them if they are unable to finish their meal. The Food Act does not prevent food businesses from providing doggy bags to customers, so it is up to each business if they wish to do this.

Consumers should expect leftover food to be placed in a new, food grade container and the date should be marked on it. Make sure you either eat or refrigerate your leftovers as soon as possible. If you are reheating them later, make sure they are piping hot before you enjoy them.

Food safety programs

Food businesses such as hospitals, age care centres, child care centres and mobile food service delivery organisations are required to :

  • implement a suitable Food safety program; or
  • review an existing Food safety program to ensure it complies with the Food safety standards; and
  • coordinate an audit of the Food Safety Program by a Department of Health approved Food Safety Auditor.

For further information on Food Safety Programs and a list of approved food safety auditors within South Australia, please visit SA Health.

The City of Adelaide also provides a free online food safety training program. They've also produced an excellent guide about food safety for home based food businesses

The free I'm A.L.E.R.T. Food safety training is completed online in your own time and you can select the modules that most suit what you need to understand, based on your role.

Modules are presented in an easy to understand video ranging from 1 to 5 minutes and aim to develop the required skills and knowledge to ensure the safety of food for customers.

At the end of some modules, you'll find short educational games to help consolidate learning. Documents such as temperature recording, cleaning schedules and goods receival checklists are also available with some modules, to assist with reporting in the workplace.

A training acknowledgement form and certificate will be generated at the completion of the exercise which shows all categories completed and scores, this has a section for an employer to sign and is a handy induction tool for any food business.

Please read this before you start the training:

  • There is no limit to the number of times you can access the training.
  • The site will ask you to create a log in so that you can save your progress and complete all 24 sections in your own time.
  • The certificate will be generated once you have completed all sections of the training and can be re-printed at any time by logging in to your account.

Start online training

Need more information?

The SA Health’s Food Industry Sector Information and Food Standards has a wealth of additional information about food safety. If you have any questions relating to the City of Adelaide’s EHOs and their processes, please contact the customer centre:

08 8203 7203

Send an email