If you are thinking about starting your own food manufacturing or retail business in NSW, there are certain things you will need to know about the requirements and regulations that apply to you before you begin.

Food Manufacturing

If your business is going to be manufacturing food products, you will fall under the NSW Food Authority’s Manufacturer/Wholesaler Food Inspection Program. You will not require a specific licence to operate your business, as you will not be selling your products from your manufacturing premises.

Instead, you will need to notify the Authority of your type of business and all details of what you plan on manufacturing and where. You will still need to comply with the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code, which regulates the safety of all food products. The parts that will apply to you will be the following:

  • Food Safety Practices and General Requirements (standard 3.2.2) which sets out how you can store food as well as display, packaging, transportation and hygiene requirements.
  • Food Premises and Equipment (standard 3.2.3) which regulates the design and construction of the premises, the fixtures and fittings required and other facility requirements including sewage, ventilation and hand washing facilities.
  • Labelling and other information requirements (Part 1.2) which states how you can label ingredients, the warnings you need and any nutrition information requirements
  • Substances added to food (Part 1.3) which provides information on food additives, vitamins and minerals and processing aids
  • Contaminants and residues (Part 1.4) which states restricted and prohibited plants, residue limits, and information on contaminants and natural toxicants.

You will also need to have a recall plan in place for your manufactured products, as the Authority has the power to conduct inspections of your business, the frequency of which depends on the risk of the products you are manufacturing. They will make sure you are complying with the Code including checking for cleanliness, pest control and food handling practices.

Food Retail

Businesses that retail food in NSW do not need to hold a licence with the Food Authority. However, it is likely you will need to notify your business details to your local council, as they will be regulating whether you comply with the appropriate standards. These include the Food Regulation 2010 and the Food Safety Standards relating to general requirements and premises and equipment.

Most councils will require you to get council approval before you can start operating your business. This might be in the form of submitting a business registration form or filing a development application. Some things councils are particularly concerned about include hygiene and rubbish control.

You will also need to have a designated Food Safety Supervisor who is trained in appropriate food handling. This is aimed at preventing customers from becoming ill as a result of incorrect food preparation. Councils have the power to inspect your business premises to make sure you are complying with all of these requirements.

Conclusion

Different types of food businesses may have more requirements to their specific industry than those listed above. If you would like advice on how to operate your food business, contact one of specialist business lawyers at LegalVision today.

Bianca Reynolds

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