Food Act & food safety standards

The City of Unley’s Environmental Health Team is responsible for administering legislative requirements under the Food Act 2001, Food Regulations 2002 and Food Safety Standards. 

Food safety standards place obligations on food businesses to ensure they produce food that is safe and suitable to eat. A food business is any business or activity that involves the handling or sale of any type of food in Australia.

The standards, which also contain health and hygiene obligations for food handlers, aim to lower the incidence of food-borne illness.

Food safety standards

There are five food safety standards:

• 3.1.1 Interpretation and Application

• 3.2.1 Food Safety Programs

• 3.2.2 Food Safety Practices and General Requirements

• 3.2.3 Food Premises and Equipment

• 3.3.1 Food Safety Programs for Food Service to Vulnerable Persons

Standards 3.2.2 and 3.2.3 are mandatory for all food businesses. For a full guide to the mandatory food safety standards visit Safe Food Australia . Other useful information and food safety tips can be found here


Food safety star rating scheme

Food safety rating schemes are used in Australia and overseas as a way of informing consumers about the food safety of businesses such as restaurants and cafés. The rating is calculated using the results of routine food safety inspections undertaken by local Council Environmental Health Officers (EHOs). This score is then represented as stars and displayed at the business.

SA Health commenced a roll out of a state wide voluntary Food Safety Star Rating Scheme in April 2016. The City of Unley Environmental Health Team is participating in this scheme, and aims to improve food safety and consistency by providing consumers with a recognisable indication of the food safety compliance of a food business. 

Inspections of businesses will still occur on a routine basis and it is voluntary for the business to display their star rating. Not all food businesses fall within the scope of this scheme, and not all councils will elect to participate in this pilot phase. Certificates are only awarded once a routine inspection is undertaken, which may be once every 6 to 12 months. Just because a business is not displaying a certificate does not mean they are unsafe.

After completion of the inspection, relevant businesses will be given a score that will translate into a star rating of up to 5 stars on a certificate. A higher star rating will reflect the achieved level of compliance with food safety standards.

5 Stars – Excellent Star Rating
4 Stars – Very Good Star Rating
3 Stars - Good Star Rating

Businesses that do not achieve the 3 Star Rating level will not be awarded a Star Rating. These businesses will need to work with the Council to improve their compliance with food safety standards. In all circumstances, advice, support and follow up actions will continue to be undertaken by the Environmental Health Officers to ensure continual improvement in the safety of food handling practices.

For more information visit the SA Health website or phone an Environmental Health Officer on (08) 8372 5111.