Food safety

All Queensland food businesses need to be aware of their obligations under the Food Act 2006.

The assessment of a food business takes into account all food handling processes. Council conducts audits of your business to determine if you can effectively manage food safety risks.

Food business operators are expected to be able to demonstrate the management of food safety risks to a Council Officer at any time.

Your results will inform your Eat Safe star rating.

Have questions?

Call the Business Hotline on
133 BNE (133 263)

Training resources for food safety

I’m Alert: free online training for food safety

All food handlers in a retail food business that handle unpackaged ready-to-eat potentially hazardous foods are required to have completed a food safety training course or have the relevant skills and knowledge for the type of food handling being undertaken.

Sign up for a free interactive online food safety training program provided by Council, that meets the requirements for food safety training, which has 24 freely available modules (also available with Simplified Chinese).

Complete the training within 30 days to qualify for a certificate.

Log in to I’m Alert

Food safety videos

Food safety supervisors

A food safety supervisor is responsible for monitoring food safety in a food business. Under the Food Act 2006, all licensable food businesses in Queensland must have a food safety supervisor.

Food safety supervisor requirements

Anyone, whether the business owner, licensee, manager, employee or external contractor can be a food safety supervisor, if they meet these requirements:

  • holds a food safety supervisor certificate, issued by a registered training organisation, or other recognised organisation, within the past 5 years
  • regularly handles food as part of their normal duties
  • takes a lead role in supervising food safety within the food business
  • regularly on site and reasonably available at all times the business is operating, either on the premises or available for Council or food handlers (staff) to contact whenever there is food handling.

A food safety supervisor should:

  • know how to recognise, prevent and alleviate food safety hazards of the food business
  • have skills and knowledge in matters relating to food safety relevant to the food business
  • have the authority to supervise staff and give directions about food safety to people who handle food in the food business.

Whilst food safety supervisors require formally recognised training, this is not required for all food handlers. Instead, all food handlers at the business must have completed a food safety training course or be able to demonstrate adequate skills and knowledge in food safety and hygiene. Council recommends that all food handlers undertake some form of formal food safety training. Free training resources are available in the I’m Alert portal.

You should inform Council of your designated supervisor(s):

  • during the application for your food business licence, or within 30 days of when the food business licence is issued
  • within 14 days of any change to who is taking the role, or any changes to their contact details.

Phone Council's Hotline on 133 263, or mail to Brisbane City Council, GPO Box 1434, Brisbane Qld 4001.

Food safety program

A food safety program is a document that the food business creates to identify and control food safety hazards in the handling of food. It is not mandatory for all types of food businesses, but it is a good idea to have one so that you have a plan for managing food safety.

If it is mandatory for your business, you will need to create a plan, engage a 3rd party auditor, and submit your plan to Council for accreditation. This is a one-off process. Council will assess whether you have identified and addressed all the potential risks and hazards associated with your food business.

Within six months of accreditation, you will need to organise the first compliance audit and engage your selected food safety auditor to confirm you are adhering to your plan. Audits from a food safety auditor will be required at regular intervals to ensure you are adhering to your food safety program. You can submit the third party audit report form online.

Who needs a food safety program

Mandatory if:

  • the food business involves offsite catering
  • the primary activity of the food business in onsite catering at the premises
  • the primary activity of the food business is onsite catering at part of the premises stated in the licence and the onsite catering is provided on more than 11 occasions in any 12 month period and for 200 or more persons on each occasion
  • a food business is carried on as part of the operations of a private hospital
  • the food business processes or serves potentially hazardous foods to six or more vulnerable persons (for example, childcare centres, Meals on Wheels, aged care facilities).

Non-mandatory if:

All food businesses located within the Brisbane can apply to have a food safety program accredited with Council, even if it is not mandatory for your business.

Accreditation/amendment fees for food safety program
This table provides information on application fees for food safety program accreditation
Application for accreditation of a food safety programFees
Minor < 250m2$756.35
Medium > 250-1000m2$865.60
Major > 1000m2$1338.75
This table provides information on application fees for amendments to accredited food safety programs
Amendments to accredited food safety programsFees
Minor < 250m2$548.85
Medium > 250-1000m2$658.15
Major > 1000m2$697.85

Once accredited, you will need to comply with your food safety program. Record keeping is important as this helps you demonstrate compliance with the risk mitigation processes and procedures for hazards identified in the program. You should regularly review your program to ensure it meets the needs of your food business.

How to apply for accreditation

If you are a new business, check if you need a food safety program as part of your initial application for a food business licence. If yes, you need to submit the program and your selected 3rd party auditor’s details as a requirement to apply for the food business licence.

Draft your food safety program: Use Queensland Health templates or create your own.

Engage a third party auditor: Find an approved food safety auditor who will be the one to conduct future audits.

Apply to get your program accredited with Council: Use the online form to apply and pay the fee.

Apply for food business licence: If applying for a food business licence, you need to submit the food safety program with the 3rd party auditor’s details for accreditation as part of the food business licence application.

Conduct audit: Schedule the first compliance audit based on timeframe/frequency set by Council. The auditor will send the results to Council.

Frequently asked questions

Food safety supervisors need to be “reasonably available” – what does that mean?

The availability of the food safety supervisor is critical. “Reasonably available” means the food safety supervisor is to be located on the premises whenever food handling is being undertaken or be able to be contacted by Council or food handlers whenever food handling is undertaken.

A supervisor is not required to be reasonably available when the business is operating but not handling food.

What is potentially hazardous food?

Potentially hazardous food is any food that needs to be kept below 5°C or above 60°C to minimise the growth of bacteria in the food, for example:

  • raw and cooked meat or foods containing meat, such as casseroles, curries and lasagne
  • dairy products, for example milk, custard, and dairy based desserts
  • seafood excluding live seafood
  • processed fruits and vegetables, for example salads
  • cooked rice and pasta
  • foods containing eggs, beans, nuts, or other protein rich foods, such as quiche and soy products
  • foods that contain these foods such as sandwiches and rolls.
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