Food safety

A food safety program is a written document which details how a food business will control the safety hazards associated with its food handling activities.

An appropriate and well implemented food safety program can help a food business:

  • ensure food for sale is safe
  • manage their operations better through improved record keeping and cost control
  • demonstrate that all due diligence was exercised in the preparation and sale of food.

Does my food business need a food safety program?

Licensable food businesses are required to have an accredited food safety program if:

  • the food business involves off-site catering
  • the primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at the premises stated in the licence
  • the primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at part of the premises stated in the licence to cater to 200 or more people on 12 or more occasions in any 12-month period
  • the food business is carried on as part of the operations of a private hospital or otherwise processes or serves potentially hazardous food to six or more vulnerable people.

Go to the Queensland Government website for important food safety program information.

Other food businesses that are not required to have a food safety program may choose to apply for accreditation of a food safety program.

Why food safety?

Safe food is food that is free from physical, chemical, or microbial contaminants that may cause us harm. Of these hazards, microorganisms present the highest food safety burden to consumers. Microorganisms are opportunistic and can grow in many foods and conditions.

Australian estimates of foodborne illness are 5.4 million cases per year (14,800 cases per day), with about 120 deaths annually¹. The cost of these levels of foodborne disease is estimated to be $1.2 billion per year (Department of Health and Ageing, unpublished).

The social consequences of foodborne disease include both temporary and serious chronic illness and even death.

  1. Estimating Foodborne Gastroenteritis, Australia, August 2005
    By Gillian Hall, Martyn D. Kirk, Niels Becker, Joy E. Gregory, Leanne Unicomb, Geoffrey Millard, Russell Stafford, Karin Lalor and the OzFoodNet Working Group

Read the Estimating Foodborne Gastroenteritis article.

Food safety fact sheets

Food safety fact sheets are a concise and informative tool that a Food Safety Supervisor can use in the staff education process and may be downloaded, printed and displayed in relevant sections of the business, as advice/reminders to all staff.

Find some food safety fact sheets from 'InfoBites' – Food Standards Australia New Zealand website.

Find information about access rights for certified guide, hearing and assistance dogs from the Queensland Government website.

Food safety rules

There are many issues relating to food safety, but there are four rules which stand out:

  1. Keep it hot (above 60°C) OR keep it cold (below 5°C)
  2. Cook it properly
  3. Don't work with food when you are sick
  4. Probably the most important rule of all – wash your hands!

Attend a City of Gold Coast food safety training course to learn:

  • more about these rules
  • how foodborne illness occurs
  • how to prevent foodborne illness and the relevant legislation
  • many other vital food safety issues.

How to apply for accreditation

If you identify that you are required to have an accredited food safety program, you need to submit your program with your application for a food business licence, along with the following supporting information:

  • notice to provide written advice for consideration of a food safety program for accreditation, completed by a Queensland Health approved auditor.

Find a link to the Queensland Health register of approved auditors.

If your food business requires a food safety program and the food business is already licensed under the Food Act 2006, you will need to complete an application for food safety program accreditation and submit with your food safety program, along with the notice of written advice.

Food safety program accreditation application form(PDF, 185KB)

Amend an existing approved food safety program

You will need to submit an amendment application if you propose to change the way in which food is handled in the carrying on of the food business to which the program relates, and because of the proposed change:

  • the program will no longer identify the food safety hazards of the food business, and
  • implementation of the program will no longer effectively control the food safety hazards.

You do not need to submit a notice of written advice for a food safety program amendment application.

Food safety program amendment application form(PDF, 194KB)


Once your food safety program has been accredited by a City Environmental Health Officer, you need to comply with the processes outlined in your program.

You are also required to:

  • keep a copy of the accredited food safety program at the premises of the food business. This should be kept available for inspection by employees in the food business
  • organise your first compliance audit within 6 months of the food safety program being accredited. The audit must be conducted by an auditor approved under the Act
  • organise regular audits at the frequency specified by City of Gold Coast.

Food safety training

Thank you for your interest in attending the City's Food Safety Training Course.

With COVID-19 restrictions easing, we're working towards resuming regular food safety training courses (non-accredited) for the staff of businesses licensed under the Food Act 2006. This training provides an understanding of the causes and prevention of food-borne illness (food poisoning).

Please check back here to see when courses are re-opening for bookings.

In the interim, if you require urgent food safety training, please consider the following online options:

Thank you for your understanding.

Contact us

Phone: 07 5667 5988