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About food safety programs

A food safety program is a documented system that identifies the food safety hazards in the handling of food in a food business and details the way the hazards will be controlled in that business.

An appropriate and well implemented food safety program can help a food business:

  • ensure food for sale is safe.
  • manage their operations better through improved record keeping and cost control.
  • demonstrate that all due diligence was exercised in the preparation and sale of food.

Food safety program eligibility

Licensable food businesses are required to have an accredited food safety program if:

  • the food business involves off-site catering.
  • the primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at the premises stated in the licence.
  • the primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at part of the premises stated in the licence to cater to 200 or more people on 12 or more occasions in any 12 month period.
  • the food business is carried on as part of the operations of a private hospital or otherwise processes or serves potentially hazardous food to six or more vulnerable people.

Read more about off-site and on-site catering

Read more about catering for vulnerable people

Other food businesses that are not required to have a food safety program may choose to apply for accreditation of a food safety program.


Once your food safety program has been accredited by your local government you need to comply with the processes outlined in your program.

You are also required to:

  • keep a copy of the accredited food safety program at the premises of the food business.  This should be kept available for inspection by employees in the food business.
  • organise your first compliance audit within six months of the food safety program being accredited. The audit must be conducted by an auditor approved under the Act.
  • organise regular audits at the frequency specified by the local government that accredited the food safety program.

Read more about auditing

Find a register of approved auditors

More information

Food safety programs

Last updated: 27 October 2015