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Food Business Licensing
Unregulated food handling and storage is a potential risk to the public's health and safety. With approximately 300 licensed food businesses in the Gladstone region it is critical that these businesses are regulated and comply with all relevant food legislation. Temporary food stalls at fairs, markets and events are required to obtain a temporary food stall licence.
Food businesses are required by law to be licensed by their relevant local government authority.
- Food premises are any premises where food is handled - including temporary structures and mobile food vehicles
- If you operate a food premises, it must be approved by Council
- If you operate from more than one location, you will need to hold a licence for each premises.
Who needs a licence?
The Food Act 2006 defines what a licensable food business is and you need a licence if you run a food business that:
- Involves the manufacture of food
- Involves the retail sale of unpackaged food (e.g. restaurant and takeaway shops) and is not a non-profit organisation
- Is carried on by a non-profit organisation and involves the sale of meals on at least 12 days each year.
What activities may be exempt?
- Charity and non-profit organisations are exempt from requiring a food licence if they only operate less than 12 times a year, these groups still need to comply with the food safety standards
- Organisations who sell unpackaged snack food, such as biscuits, cakes, confectionery, nuts and potato chips that are not classed as potentially hazardous food may be exempt from obtaining a licence
- The sale of fisheries resources that already have approval under a buyer’s licence
- The sale of whole fruit or vegetables, seeds and nuts
- The sale of drinks other than fruit or vegetable juice processed at the place of sale
- The sale of ice, including flavoured ice, such as snow cones.
This section applies to proposed new installations or alterations to existing premises including mobile food vendors. There are two stages to the application process: design approval and approval to operate.
Complete and submit the food application form with plans and pay application fee
An application for design approval for your new food business is to be made to Council's Environmental Health Unit along with the relevant form, fee and plans.
Plan assessment and approval
Council's Environmental Health Unit will assess the application against the relevant requirements of the Food Act 2006 and the Food Safety Standards. Written details on the classification of your food business and applicable annual licence Invoice will also be given at this stage.
Approval to operate (obtaining a food business licence)
Pay annual licence invoice
Once you have received your design approval and constructed the food premises, you are then required to make payment of the annual licence Invoice that was issued with your design approval letter. After payment is made to Council, you are required to notify Council's Environmental Health Unit with the date of payment.
An Environmental Health officer will undertake a final inspection of the premises prior to opening and operating to the public once we have received your notification of payment for the annual licence.
Your approval to operate (food business licence) will be sent to you if you meet the requirements of the final inspection described above. If approval is conditional on other work being carried out, a time frame will be negotiated in which the outstanding work must be completed.
Council conduct regular inspections on licensed food premises and provide education to the community. Please contact Council on 4970 0700 with any food licensing enquiries.
This section applies to businesses that have undergone a sale and have new owners.
Health compliance inspection (optional)
It is important to check that the business you are looking at holds a current licence. In most cases this information can be established over the phone.
Prior to purchasing an existing food vending vehicle or similar, prospective buyers can request a health compliance inspection. An Environmental Health officer will perform an inspection of the vehicle/s and operation to identify any areas where it does not comply with the food safety standards. A letter will then be completed identifying items of non-compliance and copies will be forwarded to the current owners and party requesting the health compliance search.
Once licensing of the vehicle/s has been transferred, the current licensed owner is the person that Council deems responsible for fixing any ‘faults’ with the vehicle/s regardless of verbal or contractual arrangements between the relevant parties. Therefore, it is recommended to get this inspection done prior to transfer of ownership.
Step 1: Applying to amend a licence
To transfer the food licence into the new owner’s name requires for the licensee details for the premises to be amended. The relevant amendment form and amendment fee are to be submitted to Councils Environmental Health Section.
Step 2: Issuing the approval to operate
Your approval to operate will be sent to you once the amendment application form has been assessed. It is important to note that the Food Act 2006 states that a Food Licence can only be granted to someone who has the skills and knowledge required to perform the required functions of the food business. Approval will not be granted without adequate proof of skills and knowledge in food safety.
Food Safety Supervisors (FSS)
All licensed food businesses are required to nominate a food safety supervisor (FSS), whose role is to ensure food hygiene and safety standards are achieved and maintained within the food business. To be nominated as an FSS, a person must:
- Hold a statement of attainment of specified competencies, issued by a registered training organisation
- Can supervise food handling in the food premises
- Have the authority of supervise food handlers
- Have relevant skills and knowledge relating to food safety and identification of food safety hazards.
See the Food Safety Supervisor guidelines for full details of the competencies required.
Food Safety Program?
It is a requirement of the Food Act 2006 for some food businesses to have a food safety program.
Who needs a Food Safety Program?
Your licensed food business is required to have an accredited food safety program only if:
- The food business involves off-site catering
- The primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at the premises stated in the licence
- The primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at part of the premises stated in the licence (e.g. a function room used for on-site catering on the premises of a large hotel) catering to 200 or more people on 12 or more times per year
- The food business is carried on as part of the operations of a private hospital under the Private Health Facilities Act 1999
- The food business processes or serves potentially hazardous food for vulnerable populations including hospital patients, aged care recipients, children in child-care centres and vulnerable people receiving other services such as meals on wheels.
Please note that off-site catering does not include merely delivering food requested by order (i.e. delivering a pizza or sandwiches) or mobile food vans.
What must a food safety program include?
A food safety program is a documented program that ensures food safety through the identification, monitoring and control of food safety hazards in the handling of food in a food business. The food safety program must:
- Systematically identify the food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur in food handling operations of the food business
- Identify where, in a food handling operation of the food business, each hazard identified can be controlled and the means of control
- Provide for the systematic monitoring of the means of control
- Provide for appropriate corrective action to be taken when a hazard identified is not under control
- Provide for the regular review of the program to ensure it is appropriate for the food business
- Provide for the keeping of appropriate records for the food business, including records about action taken to ensure the business is carried on in compliance with the program
- Contain other information, relating to the control of food safety hazards, prescribed under a regulation.
Templates to assist food businesses are available on the Queensland Health Food Safety website.
I'm ALERT online food hygiene training
This training will assist food handlers in developing the required skills and knowledge to ensure food is handled in a safe and hygienic manner. The program is easy to follow, includes an entertaining presentation as well as interactive quizzes. A training acknowledgement form can be printed upon completion and be kept as a part of your staff records.
Visit www.gladstone.imalert.com.au to complete the training now.
Foodsafe in seconds
Queensland Health launched their food safety campaign, Foodsafe in seconds
Food safety topics are based on key food safety issues including:
- Cross contamination
- Thawing and cooking
- Hand washing
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