Food Safety program information

What is a food safety program?

If you are involved in catering activities or preparation of food for vulnerable population groups (i.e. child care or aged care), you may need a food safety program.

A food safety program is a documented system that helps businesses to:

  • identify food safety hazards
  • details control measures for these hazards
  • provide systematic monitoring of food safety hazards
  • if followed properly, it will help ensure food for sale is safe.

Do I need a food safety program?

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
  • the food business is carried on as part of the operations of a private hospital
  • the food business processes or serves potentially hazardous food to six or more vulnerable persons.

The following businesses may require an accreditated food safety program under the Act 2006:

  • child care centre
  • aged care centre
  • Meals on Wheels
  • off-site catering
  • on-site catering
  • private hospital.

Examples of food businesses that require a food safety program:

  • a spit roast catering company partially prepares food at one place (their principal place of business), then finishes preparations and serves potentially hazardous food at an event or function site (e.g. in a park, private property, hired hall)
  • a function centre prepares and services potentially hazardous food, mostly wedding receptions, but also has a small restaurant. The primary activity is catering for functions
  • a restaurant in a hotel has an additional dining room with extra seating. The room is used mostly for catered functions separate to the rest of the business. Catering is provided on average to 200 to 300 people each fortnight
  • a childcare centre provides morning tea, cooked lunches and afternoon tea to the children at the centre each day.

How to develop a food safety program

The completed program needs to identify, control and monitor food safety hazards. You can develop a custom-made food safety program tailored to your business or use a suitable template.

Queensland Health has food safety program templates for catering, private hospitals, child care and aged care that can be used as a guide. For more information, please visit the Queensland Health website.

How to apply for accreditation, please download and complete the Application for accreditation / amendment of food safety program (PDF 334 KB) form and return it to us with payment.

You can submit your application in person at our customer service centres, by post or email, please see connect with us for details.

Remember to include the following with your application:

  • payment
  • a copy of the food safety program document
  • written advice from an approved auditor to confirm the program is suitable.

Once accredited, Council will return the plan to you with an approval stamp. Keep the stamped food safety program document at your food premises.

Reviews of the food safety program

  • You need to conduct internal reviews of your accredited food safety program monthly and / or annually using the checklist provided in your food safety program.
  • Minor changes to your food safety program can be noted on your amendment sheet or annual review, e.g. updating record sheets.
  • You will need to apply to Council for an amendment of your food safety program if you change the way food is being handled, e.g. start cooking food rather than just reheating food, and this is not listed in your current food safety program.

Can I transfer my food safety program?

If your business is sold, the accredited food safety program may be transferred to the new business owner. The new owners need to apply for a transfer of the food safety program when they apply for their food licence.

Audits of food safety programs

Regular audits of the food safety program will need to be done to show that you are following the processes outlined in the program and keeping your records up to date.

The first compliance audit needs to be done within six months of your accreditation.

The audit frequency will be every six or twelve months after that, depending on what you have been advised.

The auditor will provide you with a written report and also send us a copy. You need to keep audit reports for four years.

For more information, please call us on 07 3412 3412.

Finding an auditor

A list of auditors can be found by visiting Queensland Health's register of approved auditors. Council also has approved auditors.

To request one of Council’s approved auditors to conduct your audit, please download and complete the Request for 2nd party audit of food safety program application (PDF 151 KB) form and return it to us with your payment.

More information

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