ACT Food Safety Laws

Food business operators and staff should be aware of their legal obligations when preparing and selling food. There are three key pieces of food law in the ACT:

Food Act 2001 - Among its many functions, the Act provides important definitions (e.g. the meaning of ‘food’, ‘sell’, etc), outlines inspection and seizure powers of authorised officers, allows the issuing of improvement notices and prohibition orders, and describes offences relating to food (e.g. selling unsafe food).  The Act also adopts the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code for use in the ACT. 

Food Regulation 2002 – This regulation is made under the Food Act 2001. One of its functions is to outline details of the requirement for certain businesses to have a food safety supervisor and/or a food safety program.  It also details requirements for businesses required to display kilojoules of standard food items at the point-of-sale.

Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – The Code includes general food standards (e.g. standards for food additives, labelling requirements), compositional requirements, food safety standards, and primary production and processing standards. The Code is divided into four chapters:

  • Chapter 1 - General Food Standards includes requirements that apply to most foods e.g. labelling requirements, substances that can be added to food, etc.
  • Chapter 2 - Food Product Standards includes compositional requirements for specific foods e.g. meat, eggs, fish and alcoholic beverages.
  • Chapter 3 - Food Safety Standards includes a range of food safety requirements for example keeping food at the correct temperature and washing hands and keeping equipment and premises clean, etc.
  • Chapter 4 - Primary Production Standards includes primary production and processing standards for foods such as seafood, poultry meat, certain cheeses, wine and dairy products.

The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code is a nationally agreed document and is available on the Commonwealth legislation website: www.comlaw.gov.au

Community organisations that are not covered by the Food Act 2001 will be regulated by the Public Health Act 1997. Under this Act, Public Health Officers are authorised to seize unsafe food in order to prevent or decrease a public health risk, and issue an abatement notice to stop any organisation from selling unsafe food.

All ACT legislation is available on the ACT Legislation Register: www.legislation.act.gov.au

If you have any questions about ACT food safety laws or compliance, contact the Health Protection Service on 6205 1700 or email hps@act.gov.au