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Introduction to food safety standards for charities and community organisations

Charities and community organisations play an important role in our community, and fundraising events are a major contribution to the work of the community. But no one wants people to get sick from the food they eat at these events.

In Australia, the food law places many responsibilities on the proprietor of a food business. If you are the organiser of an event or an official of a charity or community organisation that is selling food, you need to be aware of these responsibilities.

If you understand your legal responsibilities and plan your events properly and in good time, complying with the law is straightforward.

What the law says

The food safety standards, which apply to Australia only, include requirements for the handling, storage, transport and display of food. Food standards are adopted automatically into state and territory food Acts.

A food business is identified as a business, enterprise or activity (other than primary food production) that involves:

(a) the handling of food for sale, or
(b) the sale of food,

regardless of whether the business, enterprise or activity concerned is of a commercial, charitable or community nature or whether it involves the handling or sale of food on one occasion only.

This definition of a ' food business' includes all food activities involved in fundraising, including preparation of the food before it is sold. The definition of ' sale' covers fundraising activities. Food has been sold even if you just ask for a donation.

How to use this guide

The decision path on the back page of this guide leads you through the different types of events. Next to each question is a list of fact sheets containing the information that you need to consider for your activity. The fact sheets are:

1 Notification

2 Skills and knowledge

3 Labelling

4 Temperature control

5 Sausage sizzles and barbecues

6 Preparing and cooking food

7 Transporting food

8 Camping

9 Health and hygiene for food handlers

The event organiser should read the fact sheets that are relevant to the type of event and should ensure that the people helping with the event also read them.

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