Country of Origin Food Labelling

Requirements under the Australian Consumer Law

The Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 commenced on 1 July 2016 under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). It applies to food offered for retail sale in Australia, e.g. food sold in stores or markets, online or from a vending machine.

The new Country of Origin food labelling requirements become mandatory from 1 July 2018. As a small business who produces food in Australia this means you must ensure your labelling is compliant with the new requirements.

For a copy of the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016, please click here.

Food standards

A food business has a legal responsibility to ensure that food sold to customers is handled and processed in a way that will ensure its safety. Food must be adequately and accurately labelled to ensure consumers can make an informed choice.

In South Australia food businesses are required to comply with the Food Act 2001 (opens in a new window) and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (opens in a new window).

Starting A Food Business

What is a food business?

Under the Food Act 2001 (opens in a new window) a food business means a business, enterprise or activity (other than a primary food production business) that involves:

  • the handling of food intended for sale
  • the sale of food

regardless of whether the business, enterprise or activity concerned is of a commercial, charitable or community nature or whether it involves the handling or sale of food on one occasion only.

Food business even includes businesses like the following:

  • chemists
  • cinemas
  • corner stores
  • petrol stations
  • swimming pools

All food businesses, from major food manufacturers to a local church group that holds a one-off food fair, have defined responsibilities under the legislation to ensure the safety of food.

Food Safety for Mobile Food Vendors

SA Health has released the Food Safety Passport System, which is a guideline to help Mobile Food Vendors comply with Food Safety Requirements.

The aim of the guideline is to reduce food safety red tape for mobile food vendors, to make them aware of their legal requirements and to help them comply with the relevant sections of food safety standards to enable the safe sale of food to the public.

Both businesses and enforcement agencies can use this guide to assess compliance with the SA Food Act 2001, Food Safety Practices and General Requirements and Food Premises and Equipment.

Food Business Notification

Before starting food handling operations all food businesses operating within the district are required to formally notify Council.

If you have questions regarding your food business operations please call Council’s Environmental Health Officer who is located at the District Council of Wudinna on 08 8680 2002.

How to notify

To notify, all you need to do is complete and submit online the Food Business Notification Form to SA Health, then phone or email with your Food Notification Number that will be provided by SA Health.

Failure to notify

Penalties and/or expiation fees may be applied.

Maximum penalty:

  • $120,000 if the offender is a body corporate
  • $25,000 if an individual person

Expiation fee:

  • $1,500 if the offender is a body corporate
  • $300 if an individual person.

Mobile Food Vending Businesses

Starting a Mobile Food Business

When starting your mobile food vending business please ensure that you are meeting the correct requirements, information can be found at SA Health Starting a Food Business and the Food Standards Australia Mobile Food Business Fact Sheet

What does Council Require

When starting a mobile food van business or to commence operating in the Council district you will need to;

  1. Review Council's Mobile Food Vending Fact Sheet
  2. Check where you are permitted to operate by reviewing the Mobile Food Vending Policy
  3. Complete and ensure you have your Food Business Notification Number  (see above)
  4. Complete and Submit the Mobile Food Vending Application Form

Please ensure that you submit your Mobile Food Vending Application Form at least seven (7) days prior to your proposed operating start date.

The application will be assessed and a permit issued to the applicant. The permit must be retained on site  at all times the business is  operating.

If you are requiring signage during your operation seperate application for signage must be supplied, this includes banners and A Frame signs.

Fees and Charges apply for food vending businesses and these are set annually and listed in Council's Fees and Charges.

Fees and Rules may be different for each Council area please check with the relevant Council's for their own operating requirements.

Primary Food Production Businesses

If your business is classed under the Food Act 2001 as a primary food production business, you are not required to notify Council. However, there may be primary industries legislation that applies to your business. Visit the Biosecurity SA website for more information.

However, there are some exceptions, which change the classification from a primary food producer to a food business. If your business is involved in the following activities then you are a food business and are required to notify Council:

  • sale or service of food direct to the public
  • packing or treating food under contract, or where the food has been purchased
  • other activities prescribed by regulation (none at this time)
  • any process involving the 'substantial transformation' of food.

Food safety inspections

All food business must comply with requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards (the Code). Surveillance of these requirements will be performed by conducting regular food premises inspections or regulatory audits (where required).

All food businesses are expected to comply with the requirements of the:

Inspections typically assess compliance with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (opens in a new window) particularly the Food Safety Requirements (Chapter 3). Inspection frequency is established using compliance history and the SA Health priority classification system. These include:

  • maintaining safe food handling and preparation procedures
  • maintaining hygiene
  • temperature control
  • structural requirements
  • adequate facilities.

Inspections are undertaken as part of a regular inspection program, or sometimes:

  • during investigations of complaints
  • due to food safety incidents
  • response to surveys.

Surveillance of the Food Act 2001 helps achieve the effective management of food safety risks and the prevention of misleading conduct in connection with the sale of food

Further information

Further information can be obtained from the SA Health Website