Food safety

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

Our Environmental Health Officers use the Australian Food Safety Assessment Tool for food premises inspections, which is produced by the Australian Institute of Environmental Health, the country's peak professional body for environmental health. The tool is used by many councils across Australia and helps ensure consistency in assessment.

Annual food inspections

Council's food inspectors 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.

Food inspectors 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 food inspectors 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.