FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The Coorong District Council has a legislative duty of care to promote appropriate standards of public health to ensure that food premises are operated and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition and that food for sale is safe and suitable to eat. In keeping with this duty of care, Council's Environmental Health Officer - Jim Quinn, carries out a variety of tasks related to food safety.
The Coorong District Council's Environmental Health Officer is responsible for ensuring that food businesses, community groups and temporary food operators within the region operate within the appropriate food safety standards. This is accomplished by offering the following;
- conducting routine inspections
- conducting audits of Food Safety Plans
- investigating food complaints and food poisoning incidents
- educational presentations
- distributing SA Food Handler Updates
- notification and follow up of food recalls
Council's food business premises are fortunate to have excellent access to fresh foods and our cultural diversity is reflected in the many different styles of foods that are offered within the region. Unfortunately, many of these foods, if not properly handled, can provide the perfect environment for food poisoning organisms to grow and to contaminate the food. This contaminated food, if eaten, may result in sickness that can range from a minor stomach upset through to an extremely severe, life threatening illness.
Council's Environmental Health Officer may be required on occasion to investigate cases of food related illness where the ill person usually blames meals or take away foods. While commercially produced food can be the cause of illness, investigation reveals that poor food handling practices at home is often a significant factor.
Food Safety and Hygiene concerns are those that are considered to be breaching the provisions of Food Safety regulations and acts. Hygiene concerns can include the following:
- Manufacture and or sale of unsafe or unsuitable it food, which could include
- Food poisoning or illness
- Food contaminated with foreign matter
- Food contaminated with animals or insects
- Food spoilage
- Unhygienic or unclean premises
- Unhygienic or unsafe food handling practices
- Unhygienic or unsafe food storage practices
All food operators must comply with the relevant legislative requirements listed below:
- Food Act 2001
- Food Regulations 2002
- National Food Safety Standards
- All food must be labelled in accordance with the Food Standards Code
Should you think you have food poisoning, seek medical help immediately. The doctor will require a stool sample (faecal sample) to confirm that you have food poisoning.
Food Safety and Hygiene Investigations
The Coorong District Council has 104 registered food businesses located in the Council area, ranging from Hotels, Roadhouse premises, take away food shops, Resturants through to home based catering activities. The Environmental Health Officer co-ordinates and conducts routine inspections of all food premises, including food vans and stalls. The frequency of the inspections is based on a risk assessment rating.
Food Premises inspections include the assessment of the following areas:
- Structural condition of the premises
- Cleanliness of premises and equipment
- Food handler's level of hygiene
- Food handling practices
- Food storage
All businesses selling food are required to "notify" their local Councilr egardless of whether the business, enterprise or activity concerned is of a commercial, charitable or community nature or whether it involves the handling or sale of food on one occasion only. Under the Food Act 2001, a food business means a business, enterprise or activity (other than a primary food production business) that involves:
the handling of food intended for sale; or
the sale of food
In addition Food business even includes businesses like chemists, cinemas, delicatessen, canteens, child care centres, liquor stores, video stores, petrol stations and swimming pools, if they sell packaged or any other type of food. Food businesses, from major food manufacturers to the local church group or sporting club that holds a once per year food fair, have defined responsibilities under the legislation to ensure the safety of food.
Mobile food businesses will notify the Council in which the vehicle is normally garaged.
How does a food business notify? - Food Business Notification
All Businesses are required under Section 86 of the Food Act 2001, to fill out a Food Business Notification (FBN) form. There is no fee attached to this, but there is a legal obligation to complete one. A FBN form should be submitted to Council or filled out on line. These must be submitted before you commence trading in accordance with Food Safety Standard 3.2.2 Division 2 Clause 4. Also, if any details change, e.g. a new proprietor, or change of location, you must notify Council within 14 days.
If you would like to fill out a FBN form online please go to the link http://www.fbn.sa.gov.au/
For those who wish to find out more about FBN, please click here
Please contact Council's Environmental Health Officer - Jim Quinn, on 1300 785 277 for any further advice on completing the FBN.
Temporary Food Business
Sausage Sizzles, Market Stalls & Charitable fundraising events
If you are wishing to sell food to the public it is essential to complete a Temporary Food Notification Form click here and adhere to the guidelines for a temporary food premises by;
- ensuring food is handled appropriately
- ensuring the operator complies with the relevant legislation
Consideration should also be made when operating a stall to the following;
- Proprietors should maintain a list of where foods are made, or supplied
- Temperature controls for high risk foods
- Suitable display of food with requirements of Food Safety Standards
- Hand washing facilities
Sausage sizzles, whilst enjoyable as a social event and a great fundraiser, are subject to legislation administered by Council. Sausage sizzles are not permitted on Council property, without a permit. Please find application form for permit to use Local Government Land.
It is essential that temporary food business operations complete a food business notification form and a temporary permit form return to Council.
Food Safety at Home
A large percentage of food poisonings cases occur due to poor food handling or storage in the home although we tend to blame the last place we ate out. Food poisoning symptoms generally take 24 -72 hours to become apparent, so you need to be aware of what has been eaten & how it was prepared during this time (especially from the home). Included below are a number of links to websites with information for consumers about food handling, storage, preparation and hygiene.
The Food Safety Information Council aims to reduce the number of Australians getting sick from food poisoning by providing simple, easy to follow consumer information on the handling, storage and preparation of food. Information available from the Food Safety Information Council includes:
- Food Safety for Grey Nomads
- Food safety tips for young people leaving home
- Food safety at Christmas
- Do you cook and bring food to an elderly relative or friend in an aged care facility?
- Protecting tiny tummies -Preparing food for an infant or young child
- Tiny tummies and sensitive systems
- It's party time
- It's barbeque time
- What to do when eating outdoors
- Knowing your fridge
- Temperature danger zone
- Hand washing
- Shop with food safety in mind
- Food poisoning and cross-contamination
- Food poisoning bacteria
- Tips for car camping or bushwalking
Information on food safety from the South Australian Department of Health. Information fact sheets include:
Simple and clear information on food safety provided by Safefood.net.au. - Meat and Livestock Australia
For Additional information in relation to Food Safety pleae contact Council's Environmental Health Officer - Jim Quinn on 1300 785 277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org