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Health and hygiene - advice for food businesses

If you’re a food business, making sure no-one contaminates your food because of illness or unclean habits is important to keep food safe to eat.

What are the requirements?

Under Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and​ General Requirements, food businesses need to do whatever they can to make sure no-one on their premises contaminates food.

Under Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment, businesses need to provide staff with hand washing facilities, toilets and storage space for personal belongings.

Reduce your risk

  • only food handlers should be in food preparation or packing areas
  • if other people (like tradespeople) need to be in these areas supervise them to make sure they don’t touch, sneeze etc over food or surfaces
  • if a food handler has an illness that could be passed on through food, don’t let them handle food or food surfaces. They should only handle food once a doctor has confirmed they are well enough
  • make sure your food handlers cover open sores and don’t have a runny nose etc.
  • educate your team about their health and hygiene responsibilities e.g. with posters, leaflets or training videos
  • provide convenient hand wash basins:
    • that are only used for washing hands, arms and faces (e.g. not kitchen sink)
    • with warm running water* and soap
    • with single-use towels (or similar)
  • provide convenient toilets
  • provide storage space for personal belongings
  • discourage smoking and spitting by using signs and not providing ashtrays in food preparation areas.

* temporary stalls might not have to provide warm water (check with your local council).

Notifying the supervisor

Food handlers must tell their supervisor if they know, or think, they are sick (food poisoning, gastro etc) or have a skin infection, runny nose or similar condition that could contaminate food.

They must also tell their supervisor if they know, or think, they have contaminated food.

Supervisors must respect the privacy of this information e.g. tell only the business owner or a food enforcement officer if needed.

Need more information?

Safe Food Australia is a guide to the food safety standards in Chapter 3 of the Food Standards Code. Health and hygiene is under Standard 3.2.2 clauses 13-18. Hand basins, toilets and storage are also in Standard 3.2.3 clauses 14-16.

Copies of the guide are available at on our website or by emailing information@foodstandards.gov.au.​​

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