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Animals in food premises

The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) Standard 3.2.2 sets out requirements that relate to animals and pests in food premises. The Code states that a food business must not permit live animals (except seafood or other fish or shellfish) in areas in which food is handled or served.

The Code allows for assistance animals in outdoor, and indoor eating environments. It does not cover companion animals.

A food business may also choose to allow dogs in outdoor dining areas, providing certain criteria are met.

Assistance animals

Guide dogs, dogs trained to assist a person in activities where hearing is required and any other animal trained to assist a person with a disability are called assistance animals.

All food businesses must permit an assistance animal in areas used by customers. This applies to both outdoor and indoor eating and drinking areas and any other customer areas.

Assistance animals are not permitted to enter non-customer areas such as a kitchen, storeroom or other places where food is handled.

The Code does not provide the same provisions for companion animals. A companion animal is any animal that provides companionship and a sense of responsibility.

Dogs in outdoor dining areas

Food businesses may choose to allow dogs in their outdoor areas provided certain criteria are met.

Food businesses may exclude a dog that is not an assistance animal, for any reason.

Local governments are responsible for licensing food businesses; you may wish to get advice from your local government before allowing dogs in your outdoor areas.

Outdoor dining areas

Outdoor dining areas must:

  • be used for drinking or dining, or both drinking and dining
  • be accessible by the public without passing through an enclosed area
  • not be used for the preparation of food
  • not be an enclosed area (an outdoor area with a roof and plastic sheeting which can be rolled down is considered to be an enclosed area under the Code).

Examples of outdoor dining areas include:

  • open footpath dining with no cover
  • a footpath dining area with a canopy but no walls
  • an open beer garden with direct street access.

Tips for maintaining food safety standards

Maintain high standards of food safety and personal hygiene by:

  • ensuring food service staff refrain from touching dogs / wash their hands after touching dogs, as this contact creates a risk of cross contamination
  • providing water, appropriate space for storage for dog food and bowls, and appropriate facilities to clean dog bowls
  • removing and disposing of dog urine/excrement.

Food businesses should develop procedures for:

  • cleaning up dog waste
  • dealing with dog misbehaviour e.g. barking, fighting with other dogs
  • dealing with customer complaints.

To continue to ensure customers’ safety and comfort, food businesses may also wish to consider:

  • providing space for dogs, including signage to identify dog areas
  • possible trip hazards, e.g. leashes on pathways
  • providing tether points for dogs
  • insurance and public liability
  • providing information and/or signage to inform customers:
    • of the food business’ decision to allow, or not to allow, dogs in outdoor dining areas
    • of the areas where animals are permitted
    • how the food business caters for the animal at the premises e.g. whether the business provides water, bowls or dog food, and how they are required to deal with dogs while at the premises.

Customers’ responsibilities

Customers who wish to bring their dogs to an outdoor dining area also have some responsibilities.

Read more about requirements for dogs in outdoor dining areas-for dog owners.

If you have any further questions relating to animals in food premises, contact the local government for the area where you are located.

Last updated: 28 February 2020