Food Safety Inspections

Routine food business inspections and complaints-based inspections are performed by Public Health Officers from the Health Protection Service.

Public Health Officers may inspect your food business premises at any reasonable time without notice. You have the right to ask any inspecting Public Health Officer to show their identity card.

Public Health Officers will assess your business against criteria outlined in the Food Business Inspection Manual. These criteria are in line with the food safety and hygiene requirements in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and the Food Act 2001.

You or a staff member may accompany the Public Health Officer during their inspection. However, it’s an offence to interfere or obstruct a lawful inspection.

As part of the inspection, a Public Health Officer may:

  • ask questions
  • request reasonable assistance e.g. to access certain areas
  • request and copy documents
  • examine anything in or on the premises e.g. food, equipment, surfaces
  • take photographs, videos and/or samples
  • conduct tests
  • if necessary, seize items such as food or equipment.

A signed copy of the inspection report is emailed to you after the inspection.

Food safety breaches identified during the inspection must be fixed within a certain timeframe. For critical food safety breaches, a business may be issued a Prohibition Order that requires the business to be closed until it is deemed safe.

Food Business Inspection Manual

The Food Business Inspection Manual helps deliver consistent and transparent food business inspections. All items in the Manual follow the order of a routine food business inspection.

The Manual contains 56 questions that relate to local and national food safety requirements. Each question includes guidance information on the relevant legislation and examples of common non-compliances.

Food Business Self-Assessment Application

The Food Business Self-Assessment Tool helps you achieve compliance with ACT food safety requirements. The application enables you to complete an assessment of your business relating to current food safety practices and to identify potential areas for improvement.

The tool provides detailed information about common food safety and regulatory issues, as well as details about food business inspections.

You can access the application on the Access Canberra website or the PDF.

Common Compliance Issues

We have identified the most commonly found breaches of food safety compliance during inspections. These include handwashing facilities, general cleaning, temperature control and monitoring and pest control.

Simple advice to help you avoid such breaches can be found in the Food Safety is Your Business guide and other resources on the Food Safety Training and Resources page.

Page last updated on: 13 May 2021