Food safety regulation

Food safety legislation and regulation

The Food Act 2006 (the Act) is the main food safety legislation in Queensland and applies to all Queensland food businesses. The objectives of the Act are to:

  • ensure food for sale is safe and suitable for human consumption
  • to prevent misleading conduct in relation to the sale of food
  • to apply the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

The Act manages food safety according to the level of risk that the food business presents to the community.  The higher the level of risk, the higher the level of food safety regulation.

There are other pieces of food safety legislation in Queensland that address food safety at a different level of the food supply chain:

  • Food Regulation 2016 (the Food Regulation)—prescribes details in relation to licensable food businesses, display of licence details by mobile premises, isolation of contaminants in food and fees for applications.
  • Food Production (Safety) Act 2000—regulates the production of primary produce for:
    • egg and egg products
    • dairy produce
    • meat and meat products (including pet meat and rendered products)
    • seafood
    • horticulture (see sprouts)
  • Food Production (Safety) Regulation 2014—sits under the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000 and sets out the Food Safety Schemes that business must implement.

Enforcement of the Act is a joint responsibility of Queensland Health and local government. Enforcement of the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000 in Queensland is the responsibility of Safe Food Production Queensland.

The Act does not apply to therapeutic products including dietary aids and supplements registered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. To determine if a product is a food or a medicine, the Food-Medicine Interface Guidance Tool can be used.

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code

All food businesses in Australia must comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Food Standards Code). The Food Standards Code is a bi-national standard that is adopted by all Australian States and Territories (and New Zealand) into their own food legislation. It covers:

  • standards for food safety and hygiene
  • fit-out of food premises
  • labelling, composition and advertising of food.

The Food Safety Standards are part of the Food Standards Code and apply across Australia. The standards reflect international best practice. They outline the obligations of food businesses in relation to:

  • Food safety practices and general requirements (Standard 3.2.2)
  • Food premises and equipment (Standard 3.2.3).

Enforcement of the Food Standards Code in Queensland is a joint responsibility of Queensland Health and Local Government.

For more information about the Food Standards Code:

Is it a food or a medicine?

Generally a product that is swallowed will be either a food or a form of therapeutic good (a medicine). Often, claims made about a product or the appearance of the product may suggest that it is a therapeutic good. However, the fact that health claims are made about a product does not automatically make it a therapeutic good. Nor does the fact that the product comes in capsules or powders, or is labelled as a 'dietary supplement'.

The potential cross over between certain foods and medicines is referred to as the 'food-medicine interface' where regulators determine whether the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 applies or state or territory food laws cover these products.

To determine if a product is a food or a medicine, the Food-Medicine Interface Guidance Tool can be used.

Other legislation, regulation and standards