Food safety for business

Common food allergens, peanuts, eggs, seafood, milk, strawberries, kiwi

Do I need a Food Safety Program or a Food Safety Supervisor?

Class 1 and class 2 food businesses must have a tailored food safety program appropriate to their food business activities and a Food Safety Supervisor at all times

Class 3 and 4 food premises do not need a food safety program or a Food Safety Supervisor, due to their lower safety risk, however they do need to keep completed basic records about certain food safety practices on site. This includes details about suppliers and potentially hazardous food.

Food allergens

As a food business owner, it is your legal obligation to ensure all staff handle and serve food that is safe and suitable for your customers. You must also be aware of food allergies and intolerances.

A food allergen is an immune response to a particular food and can be life-threatening.

The Food Standards Code requires that these allergens are declared and clearly indicated on all foods containing any allergens as ingredients.

These allergens are:

  • cereals containing gluten and their products – wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt, and their hybrid strains
  • crustacea and their products
  • egg and egg products
  • fish and fish products
  • milk and milk products
  • peanuts and peanut products
  • tree nuts and tree nut products (does not include coconut)
  • sesame seeds and sesame seed products
  • soybean and soybean products
  • added sulfites in concentrations of 10mg/kg or more.
  • lupin

It's good customer service to provide information about whether a menu item is halal or vegetarian, but this is not a legal requirement.

For more information, visit Food allergen awareness on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Food intolerance

A food intolerance is a chemical reaction and, while not life threatening, it can be uncomfortable and debilitating. Common items that cause an intolerance include:

  • lactose in cow’s milk
  • flavour enhancers, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • food additives
  • strawberries, citrus fruits and tomatoes
  • wine
  • histamine and amines.

Additional resources

The Department of Health and Human Services provides a wide range of food safety resources for businesses and community groups, including:

  • Food - how to keep it safe, including safety after a power failure, food handler hygiene and food preparation and storage.
  • Do food safely, free online training recommended for Class 3 and Class 4 businesses and community groups.