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Environmental Health Unit - Food Safety Policy and Regulation Section

Role

Queensland Health's Food Safety Policy and Regulation Section is the lead agency in Queensland for food legislation, policy and standards.  This includes food safety in the manufacturing, food service and retail sectors, and food composition and labelling.  The Section is responsible for the Food Act 2006 and the Food Regulation 2006.

The Minister for Health is the lead Minister for Queensland on the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council, which is primarily responsible for the development of domestic food regulatory policy.  The Food Safety Policy and Regulation Section is responsible for the development of a whole of government position on issues considered by the Ministerial Council and for briefing the Minister on food safety and standards issues.

Key issues

In Queensland, the Food Safety Policy and Regulation Section leads the coordination, management and response to:

  • food-borne illness outbreaks
  • food recalls
  • food incidents including the suspected intentional contamination of food
  • food complaint investigations
  • testing and presence of prescribed contaminants in food, which includes a number of common food-borne pathogens
  • notifications by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service of imported food that does not comply with the Food Standards Code
  • food safety in State food businesses including food safety programs, food safety supervisors and food safety auditing.

The Section leads Queensland's role in:

  • the management of public health risks associated with the provision of food
  • the development of national food safety and standards policies
  • the development of food safety, composition and labelling requirements in the Food Standards Code
  • advising the Queensland Government (Cabinet) on contentious food safety issues with whole of government implications
  • development of food safety resources and provision of advice about legislative provisions to enforcement officers, the food industry and the public
  • food safety auditor assessment, approval and verification
  • providing consumer information on food safety
  • food surveillance activities including monitoring and sampling
  • supporting local government in the administration and enforcement of the Food Act.

The Section also has enforcement responsibilities, mainly by providing advice and leadership to Queensland Health Population Health Units, related to the following:

  • unsafe and unsuitable food
  • suspected intentional contamination
  • breaches of compositional requirements for food
  • labelling and advertising food in a way that fails to comply with the Food Standards Code
  • misleading conduct in relation to food
  • contaminants and residues
  • foods requiring pre-market clearance
  • prosecutions.

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Legislation

The Food Safety Policy and Regulation Section is responsible for the development and implementation of the following legislation in Queensland:

  • Food Act 2006
  • Food Regulation 2006
  • Food Standards Code - Parts 1 to 3 (involved in national standards development).

Key partners

  • Food Standards Australia New Zealand
    (responsible for national food standards)
  • Queensland Health Population Health Units
    (role includes enforcement of labelling and compositional requirements, surveillance, investigation of food complaints and food-borne illness outbreaks)
  • Local governments
    (enforce food safety requirements on behalf of Queensland Health amongst other issues)
  • Safe Food Production Queensland
    (manage food safety matters relating to the production and processing of primary produce, that is, dairy, meat and eggs)
  • Other partners including Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, industry, professional organisations and other Queensland Government departments.

Food safety resources

A number of useful fact sheets and information booklets for food industry and consumers are available at:

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Last updated: 23 June 2008