Food Safety Programs: An Overview

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March 16, 2016

A Food Safety Program is a ‘live document’ that outlines how a business will proactively identify and control food safety hazards when producing, manufacturing or handling food. It’s designed and managed by a Food Safety Supervisor on behalf of a food business.

A Food Safety Program Should

  • Identify all potential food safety hazards that may be reasonably expected to occur in the food business’ operations
  • Identify solutions for controlling these hazards
  • Include daily records that demonstrate regular measurement and observation for each of the controls
  • Provide procedures for corrective action when a hazard is found to not be under control
  • Provide for the regular review of the program by the food business to ensure its adequacy
  • Include a documented mechanism that outlines basic food safety procedures should the Food Safety Supervisor become absent

Who must comply with this standard?

Under Food Standard 3.2.1, in all Australian states and territories, all of the following high-risk food businesses must have a Food Safety Program in place:

However, a Food Safety Program is recommended for all commercial food businesses in Australia that handle unpackaged, potentially hazardous foods which need temperature control during the food handling, cooking and storage processes. Some states and territories also make it a mandatory requirement for most types of food businesses to have a Food Safety Program in place.

Outside of these regulations, a Food Safety Program would also prove useful for:

  • Businesses seeking to tap into or distribute their food product through supermarkets, and therefore need a HACCP-based Food Safety Program to verify its quality
  • Businesses contracted to cater for a major event where hundreds or thousands of people could contract food poisoning if a food safety breach occurs
  • Businesses whose core point of difference is its premium service and high standards of food quality
  • Businesses who would like to open their food business’ products to an international market

To confirm the legal Food Safety Program requirements for your food business type in your state or territory, please contact your local council or state/territory health department.

In this guide you can learn more about how a food safety supervisor can develop and implement a Food Safety Program.

Who Can I Contact to Confirm That My Business Needs a Food Safety Program?

Australian Capital Territory

Health Department: ACT Health – Health Protection Service 
Phone number: +61 2 6205 1700

New South Wales

Food Authority: NSW Food Authority
Phone number: 1300 552 406
To find the contact information for your local council, check out the NSW Local Council Directory.

Northern Territory

Health Department: Northern Territory Government Department of Health
Phone number: +61 8 8922 7152 or 1800 095 646 (Food Safety Hotline)
To find the contact information for your local council, consult the NT Local Council Directory.


Health Department: Queensland Department of Health
Phone number: +61 7 3328 9310
To locate the contact details for your local council, consult the QLD Local Council Directory.

South Australia

Health Department: Government of South Australia Department of Health
Phone number: +61 8 8226 7100 (Food Section)
To find the contact information for your local council, consult the SA Local Council Directory.


Health Department: Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services – Food Safety
Phone number: 1800 671 738
To find the contact details for your local council, access the TAS Local Council Directory.


Health Department: Victorian Department of Health – Food Safety and Regulation
Phone number: 1300 364 352
To find the contact details for your local council, search the VIC Local Council Directory.

Western Australia

Health Department: Western Australia Department of Health – Food Unit 
Phone number: +61 8 9388 4999
To find the contact details for your local council, view the WA Local Council Directory.