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Food Businesses

A priority of Esperance Shire Health Services is to ensure that safe food is sold from food businesses. The Shire closely monitors all food businesses and requires them to comply with the Food Act 2008, Food Regulations 2009 and Australia New Zealand Food Code.

To find out more about any food related topics, please use the menu below.

Starting a New Food Business

Businesses wishing to sell or handle food must be registered as a food business in the Shire of Esperance.

Before any application for registration is submitted to the Shire, please ensure that you have the necessary planning and building approvals. The Shire of Esperance’s Guide to the Construction of Food Premises will provide you assistance to prepare your application.

To register your food business in the Shire of Esperance you are required to submit the following items to the Shire:

Buying an Existing Food Business

If you are purchasing an existing food business, a transfer of ownership form is to be submitted with applicable fees upon closing the business or prior to settlement and to advise of any changes to the menu and operators.  If you are planning to make changes to the building, ensure you obtain approvals first as these changes might require, planning, building and health approvals.

Once the form is completed, health services will conduct an inspection and you will be issued with a certificate of registration which needs to be displayed in the food premises. Food safety training certificates will also need to be provided for new staff.

Exempted Food Businesses

The Food Act 2008 provides for certain types of food businesses to be exempt from the requirements of registration.

These types of businesses are set out in the Food Regulations 2009 and are businesses that:

  • Are conducted solely for charitable or community purposes and prepare non-potentially hazardous food or food that, after being appropriately cooked, is served for immediate consumption;
  • Sell certain packaged food;
  • Provide complimentary drinks in conjunction with another kind of business;
  • Business involved in the  primary production and sale fruits and vegetable (unprocessed); and
  • Form part of premises registered under the Commonwealth Export Control Act 1982.

While exempted these food businesses are not subject to the same registration requirements, they must still notify as opposed to register the Shire of their intention to undertake food business activities prior to doing so, and provide the Shire with the following:

Additional reading:

Exempted Food Businesses

Thinking of Starting a New Food Business?

Registration of a Food Business

Food Safety Training

It is a requirement that all food handlers demonstrate their skills and knowledge appropriate to the level of food handling that they are employed to carry out.

  • The “I’m Alert” Food Safety Program is available free of charge through the Shire of Esperance. This is a self-paced online learning tool that food business operators can use to train their staff to minimum compliance with the hygiene standards in the Food Safety Standards. A copy of training certificate will be required to be lodged for each food handler at time of lodging your application.
  • FoodSafe is another form of training designed to provide the food premises proprietor with an effective low cost, food safety programme. The package provides the proprietor with the importance of correct food handling and record keeping practices. FoodSafe training can be undertaken conveniently in the home or at work, without having to attend lengthy courses at following languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malay and Thai. Training packages are available for purchase from the Shire's Health Services or the Australian Institute of Environmental Health.
Temporary Food Stalls

Temporary food stall holders wishing to trade at approved events or markets within the Shire of Esperance require approval from Environmental Health Services. The process for gaining approval for your temporary food stall:

  • Contact the event organiser to confirm that they will permit you to trade at their event / market;
  • If you are a community group submit obtain a Temporary Food Permit application form;
  • If your van or stall food business is already a registered food business with the Shire of Esperance you do not need more approval, however the event organiser may have other requirements, for example, public liability insurance;
  • If you are an approved food business in Esperance wishing to trade at another location than your approved location, you will need to submit a Temporary Food Permit application for the event;
  • If your food business is registered in another local government, please complete the a Temporary Food Permit application and pay the applicable fee;
  • If you are not registered as a food business, please see the section above entitled "Starting a New Food Business";
  • If you want to sell unprocessed fruits and vegetables you only need to notify the Shire, please see the following information sheet outlining minimum standard requirements.

All temporary food stalls are required to conform with the following standards set out in the Food Act 2008. Markets and events are regularly inspected by Environmental Health Officers who will check for compliance with these minimum standards.

Minimum Standards for the Operation of a Temporary Food Stall.

Food Hygiene

  • Disposable eating and drinking utensils are to be used;
  • All food and food containers are to be stored above the ground;
  • A physical barrier is to be provided by means of sneeze guards;
  • All condiments (sauce, mustard, etc) are to be contained in individual sealed packs or squeeze-type dispensers;
  • All disposable eating utensils are to be pre-wrapped in paper napkins or cellophane bags;
  • Drinking straws, paper cups, spoons etc are to be either enclosed in suitable dispensers or protected from contamination; and
  • Tables / trestles are to be covered with clean cloths or paper.

Cooking

  • All cooking appliances are to be located within the stall and protected from contamination, and are not be within reach of the public;
  • Food is to be protected from contamination at all times and must not be displayed outside the stall;
  • The cooking area is to be kept free of dust-borne contamination and droplet infection (coughing / sneezing by the public);
  • A fire extinguisher is to be provided in every stall where open flame cooking occurs;
  • The stall walls are to be protected from heat, flame and splashing where cooking occurs; and
  • Raw food is to be kept separate from cooked food.

Food Temperature Control

  • All take-away food prepared at the stall is to be for immediate sale and consumption, or displayed in a suitable food warmer or food display which maintains the food at a temperature of at least 60ºC (hot food) or below 5ºC (cold food), or otherwise in accordance with the Food Act 2008;
  • Pre-prepared food products or pre-cooked food which promotes bacterial growth must be stored under refrigerated conditions (below 5ºC) or otherwise in accordance with the Food Act 2008; and
  • All raw foods and perishable foods must be stored under refrigerated conditions (below 5ºC) or otherwise in accordance with the Food Act 2008.

Stall Protection

An awning or fire retardant marquee is to be provided for the food preparation area to reduce dust / insect contamination. Unsealed ground is to be covered with a suitable impervious material.

Washing Facilities

Separate facilities are required for hand washing and utensil washing. A supply of hot and cold water must be available to the food stall. Disposal of all wastes must be to Shire's satisfaction. Liquid soap and disposable hand towels are to be provided at each stall.

Rubbish Disposal

Refuse receptacles with lids are to be provided in and near each stall. The refuse receptacles are to be emptied on a regular basis throughout the day. The refuse bins and surrounding area is to be kept clean at all times.

Mobile Food Businesses
Mobile food operators are expected to meet the standards of the Australia New Zealand Food Code which are applied to fixed premises. The application, approval and registration process is the same as for any new food business. See section Starting a new food business on our website for approval process.
 

The Shire's Guide to the Construction of Food Premises provides further information on the fit out and operation of a mobile food business.

Locations

The Shire provides six leasable areas to operate mobile food businesses or other commercial trading activities. These leases are placed in locations that are a suitable distance from other established premises, and trading outside of these areas is generally prohibited on Local Government land.

Registered mobile food businesses can operate at approved events across the Shire, or on private property in conjunction with an existing business. Please note that any trading on private property will require planning approval.

It is important that a suitable location is confirmed prior to registering a mobile food business.

Home-Based Food Businesses

If you are interested in operating a food business from your residential kitchen, you will need to first check that you have the correct planning approval. Please phone the Shire and ask to speak to a Planning Officer. Once you have confirmation that you will not need planning approval or you have already received approval, follow the steps in the link Starting a New Food Business. The Shire of Esperance has also produced a fact sheet - Food Prepared in a Residential Kitchen - which provides information regarding the requirements and minimum standards for operating a food business from a residential kitchen.

Your application will also be assessed in line with Department of Health guidelines.

Food Labelling

All food businesses are encouraged to become familiar with labelling requirements. The guidelines to labelling requirements for food businesses (see diagram following) are a summary of the basic requirements for compliant labels, and these guidelines also provide information regarding foods which may be exempt from bearing a label. The purpose of these guidelines is to assist you with meeting labelling requirements under the Food Standards Code. In most circumstances packaged foods for retail sale are required to bear a label however there are some exceptions.

General Labelling Requirements - What Must Appear?

The following is an example of core labelling requirements that will apply to most foods. See the numbering below for further details.

1.) The name of the food [Standard 1.2.2]

Package foods must be labelled with a name or a description that will not mislead consumers. For some foods the Code defines the name of a food as a prescribed name and that name must appear on the label, e.g. honey, formulated supplementary sports food.

2.) The lot identification [Standard 1.2.2]

Generally, food labels must contain information identifying the premises where the food was packed or prepared and the lot or batch. The lot is required on packaged food to assist in the rare event of a food recall. A lot number should identify the batch from which the food was manufactured. These requirements are usually satisfied if the product is properly date marked and shows the business address of the manufacturer.

3.) Name and business address in Australia [Standard 1.2.2]

For food recall and contact purposes the label must include the name and business address of the manufacturer, packer, vendor or importer of the food. The address must include the street number, the street name, the town or suburb and, the state or territory. A post office box address is not sufficient.

4.) Mandatory warning and advisory statements and declarations [Standard 1.2.3]

Mandatory advisory and warning information is required on the labels of the following foods:

  • Foods containing added phytosterols esters or tall oil phytosterols;
  • Unpasteurised milk and unpasteurised liquid milk products;
  • Unpasteurised egg products; and
  • Some milk, evaporated or dried milk and some equivalent beverages or products made from soy or cereals.

Mandatory advisory statements are required on the labels of the following foods or when present as an ingredient in food:

  • Bee pollen or propolis;
  • Cereal based beverages;
  • Kola drinks with added caffeine;
  • Aspartame;
  • Quinine;
  • Guarana or extracts of guarana; and
  • Lactitol, maltitol, xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol, erythritol, isomaltol, and polydextrose above certain limits.

5.) Ingredient listing [Standard 1.2.3, Standard 1.2.4]

The label of a package of food must list all the ingredients and compound ingredients (including food additives) used in the manufacture of the food. A compound ingredient means an ingredient of a food that is itself made up of two or more ingredients, e.g. spaghetti, which is made up of flour, egg and water.

Ingredients must be listed in descending order of ingoing weight. This means that the ingredient present in the greatest proportion is listed first and so on. In the case of some ingredients, a generic listing may be used, e.g. herbs, meat, milk protein, however you must be specific about the species of crustacea, type of nut and if oils used are of animal or vegetable origin.

Declaration of certain substances [Standard 1.2.4]

Certain ingredients that may cause a reaction in some consumers must be declared (including when present as a processing aid). These ingredients are:

  • cereals containing gluten;
  • crustacea;
  • egg;
  • fish;
  • milk;
  • tree nuts;
  • sesame seed;
  • peanuts;
  • caffeine;
  • soybeans, and
  • sulphite additives when present at more than 10mg/kg.

Listing any of the above foods in the ingredient list is sufficient to satisfy this requirement.

6.) Date marking [Standard 1.2.5]

Generally, all packaged food with a life of 2 years or less must show a date-mark. The date that you use can be determined by laboratory testing or by experimenting yourself with shelf life and keeping records.

The “BEST BEFORE” form of date mark will be used on most packaged foods. A food with a ‘BEST BEFORE’ date mark can be sold after that date has expired, provided it is safe and suitable for consumption. If you believe that for health and safety reasons a food should not be consumed after a certain date the “USE BY” form of date mark must be used. Foods labelled “USE BY” cannot be sold after the date shown.

7.) Nutrition information panel [Standard 1.2.8]

Generally all packaged food labels must include a nutrition information panel. The only exceptions to this requirement are: foods sold at fundraising events; small packages; fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry or fish sold as single ingredients; alcoholic beverages; herbs, herbal infusion and spices; vinegar; salt; tea and coffee; gelatine; defined additives or processing aids; water including mineral and spring water; jam setting compound; kits for producing alcoholic beverages; kava and sandwiches, rolls, bagels and similar products.

For foods which require a nutrition information panel, the following is an example of a standard format:

The words ‘serving size’ may be replaced with the words ‘slice’, ‘pack’, or ‘package’ or other common units of measure as appropriate.

The FSANZ website provides an online tool to calculate nutrition information panel values. Go to www.foodstandards.gov.au and type Nutrition Panel Calculator into the search box.

8.) Characterising ingredients (percentage labelling) [Standard 1.2.10]

There are some exemptions but generally characterising ingredients must be declared on the label as a percentage of the final food. The ‘characterising ingredients’ are usually mentioned in the name of the product or highlighted on the label. It is the main ingredient you would expect to find in the food. The percentage declaration is calculated on the basis of the ingoing weight of the characterising ingredient or component.

For example, the characterising ingredient is a ‘meat pie’ is meat and the food label must state the percentage of meat in the pie, as in the example below:

9.) Directions for use or storage [Standard 1.2.6]

Any storage conditions that are necessary to ensure that a food will keep for the period indicated by the date mark must be shown. For example, Store below 5⁰C, refrigerate after opening, store in a cool dry place etc.

10.) Country of Origin [Standard 1.2.11]

A label on a package of food must include a statement that identifies the country in which the food was made or produced or that the product is made from local and/or imported ingredients.

Most manufacturers use either “PRODUCT OF” or “MADE IN”.

PRODUCT OF AUSTRALIA – the origin of each significant ingredient is from Australia and the production processes occurred in Australia;

MADE IN AUSTRALIA – the nature of the food was substantially transformed in Australia and at least 50% of the production cost was in Australia. An alternative claim may be MADE IN AUSTRALIA FROM LOCAL AND IMPORTED INGREDIENTS

Whole or cut fruit and vegetables must display a Country of Origin statement on the package (if packaged) or on signs.

What Foods are Exempt from Bearing a Label?

Food for retail sale or catering purposes (foods for use in restaurant, schools, canteens, caterers or self-catering institutions where food is offered for immediate consumption) is exempt from labelling where the food is:

  • not in a package;
  • in an inner package not designed for individual sale;
  • made and packaged on the premises from which it is sold;
  • packaged in the presence of the purchaser;
  • whole or cut fresh fruit and vegetables in packaging that does not obscure the nature or quality (does not include sprouting seeds or similar products);
  • delivered packaged and ready for consumption at the express order of the purchaser;
  • sold at a fundraising event.

Please note - even when exempt from bearing a label, certain information about a food must be available to the consumer, either verbally or in writing, at the point of sale.

This is a guideline only. For more information please contact Environmental Health Services at the Shire of Esperance on 90710666. Alternatively, ANZFA published a user guide to food labelling and provides specific and detailed information on labelling requirements at www.foodstandards.gov.au.

Free Allergy Awareness Resources for Businesses

The Shire of Esperance has included a collection of resources in order to assist food businesses to become more allergy aware, and to meet their obligations under the Food Act 2008 and the Food Standards Code.

These resources are:

Food Allergen Declarations;

Signs and Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction;

Action Plan for Anaphylaxis

More fact sheets for food businesses are available from the Department of Health website.

For additional information or assistance contact Environmental Health Services on (08) 9071 0676, email shire@esperance.wa.gov.au or call into the Shire Administration Centre on Windich Street.