Food safety laws affect every Victorian’s health and safety. In Victoria, all food businesses must comply with the Food Act 1984, which oversees food safety.The Act also requires food premises to comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
This section tells you how to:
- keep all food safe
- start a food business
- determine food business classifications
- comply with the Food Act and the Food Standards Code
- keep food safe during an emergency.
It is important to clean and sanitise food utensils and surfaces. Equipment and surfaces may look clean – but unless they are cleaned and sanitised, dirty equipment and surfaces can transfer bacteria or other organisms onto food; causing illness in the customer, and may result in legal action against the business owner.
Everything must be cleaned and sanitised between use, especially between preparing raw food and ready-to-eat-food. Cleaning and sanitising are different things – cleaning refers to the removing of dirt, grease and food waste. Cleaning removes microorganisms but does not destroy them. Sanitising reduces microorganisms to a safe level. Sanitisers will not work if the surface is not clean. You must clean first.
For cleaning dishes, utensils, pots and pans by hand: pre-clean by scraping and rinsing, wash in hot water and detergent, rinse, sanitise, then air dry if possible. If things cannot be left to air dry, ensure they are dried with a clean cloth.
If using a dishwasher, pre-clean by scraping and rinsing, stack so all surfaces are exposed, cutlery placed handles down, then run the dishwasher on its longest, hottest cycle. Wash and dry your hands before unpacking. Re-wash the dishes if they are still dirty or greasy, and make sure the dishes are dry before storing. The dishwasher should also be cleaned and serviced regularly.
Food surfaces and equipment must be cleaned and sanitised often during use – clean as you go, and always use a clean cloth. Special attention needs to be given to equipment with surfaces that are harder to get to, such as meat slicers, stick blender, blenders and can openers. Scrape and rinse parts and then wash in hot water and detergent, sanitise, then ensure everything is dry before putting away or reusing.
Remember, sanitising only works if the surface has been cleaned first. There are different ways to sanitise. Using hot water, chemicals, or using a dishwasher on the longest, hottest cycle, or a chemical solution like bleach or a food grade sanitiser. Always use the correct amount, and make sure you follow the instructions on how to prepare the solution as this may vary between products, as well as using the hot or cold water. All mixed solutions should be discarded after 24 hours. Label and store away from food. Vinegar and lemon juice aren’t effective sanitisers, while methylated spirits leave chemical residues, and floor and surface cleaners are not suitable for food utensils and surfaces.
Cleaning and using the right sanitisers is a critical part of keeping your food safe. For more information on these processes, refer to your food safety program, head to the website or dofoodsafely.
Starting a food business
In Victoria, all organisations selling food or drink must be registered or notified with a council, and ensure that the food they sell is safe.
Food business classification
The Victorian Food Act 1984 groups food premises into separate ‘classes’, and sets out food safety requirements for each class based on the food safety risks.
Food safety programs
Food safety programs are written plans that show what a business does to ensure that the food it sells is safe for people to eat.
Food safety training, skills and knowledge
Food safety training and skills required for ensuring that the food you sell or serve is safe to eat. Understand what training your food supervisor and food handlers need to undertake.
Food safety audits and assessments
Class 1 and 2 food premises in Victoria must undergo regular auditing
Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code
The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code outlines standards that ensure Australian businesses produce food that is safe to eat.
Food safety, enforcement and penalties
In Victoria, councils enforce food safety laws, using options ranging from advice and warnings, to temporary closure of the premises, to prosecution.
In Australia, food labels must carry essential information, so that consumers are informed of the nature and properties of foods before they buy them.
Food – how to keep it safe
Information on required food safety and handling requirements for businesses and community groups in Victoria.
Egg safety in Victoria includes the Eggs need TLC initiative, which raises awareness of the risks associated with Salmonella and eggs.
Reviewed 18 November 2021