Councils Environmental Health Officers are providing a range of assistance to support the retail food business sector manage COVID-19 risk. Under the NSW Public Health Order, all retail food businesses are now required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place that outlines actions for controlling COVID-19 risks, including the management of customer numbers, registration of customers and required physical distancing.
For more information on COVID-19 and the retail food sector visit foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/help/covid-19-advice-for-businesses
We work closely with hundreds of food business trading across Lake Macquarie to minimise the risk of food-borne illness by promoting a high standard of safety. We are responsible for inspecting, educating and regulating retail food businesses operating in the the City.
Council plays an important role in food regulation and promoting safe food handling practices. We regularly inspect premises where food is served. Our role includes:
- conducting regular inspection of food premises
- conducting food and hygiene seminars
- following up complaints from our community
Random unannounced inspections by Council are designed to assess compliance with the Food Act and food safety standards, including:
- ensuring that food is being handled and produced hygienically and will be safe to eat
- minimising the potential risk of food poisoning
- ensuring that business operators and food handlers have appropriate skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene
- assessing the condition and cleanliness of premises, equipment and appliances
Annual food inspections
Council's Environmental Health Officers regulate businesses through mandatory annual inspections, follow-up inspections for poorly performing businesses and targeted inspections for specific business sectors. Fees are charged for these inspections.
The Food Inspection Program aims to ensure retail food businesses understand and meet the requirements expected of them. It also helps Council assess if business have the skills and knowledge to manage risk.
Environmental Health Officers assess the premises, its equipment and facilities to ensure they are appropriate and are in a fit condition to carry out the activities required and maintain necessary hygiene and food safety standards.
Our Environmental Health Officers also train, educate, monitor, support the development of control systems and issue notices and fines. We work closely with the NSW Food Authority to inform the community of businesses that have been fined by publicising their details on the offences (name and shame) registers.
Build skills and knowledge for your food business
I'm Alert Food Safety is a free, online food safety training program provided to food businesses operating in Lake Macquarie.
The program includes the basic food safety principles required to run a safe food business, and allows users to tailor the training to meet the needs of their business.