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Home-based food businesses

 

If you’re a home-based food business, you need to meet the same food safety requirements as other food businesses—regardless of the size of your business or how often you sell food. 

Am I a home-based food business?

Home-based food businesses use their home (or someone else’s) to handle food for sale. This includes preparing food for local markets or school canteens, catering for events, B&Bs, farm-stay or childcare businesses and online food sales from home.

What are the requirements?

Home-based businesses must comply with relevant parts of the Food Standards Code, including:

Food safety officers can inspect home businesses to make sure these requirements are being met.

Getting started

  • before you start your business, you must notify your local council
  • if you change your business’s name, location or food activities you need to tell your local council before these changes are made

Food safety skills & knowledge

  • everyone in your business who handles food must know how to keep it safe to eat
  • you or someone in your business may need formal training e.g. a certified food safety supervisor – check with your local council

Premises design

Your premises should be designed and fitted out to handle food safely and avoid contamination.

Make sure you have:

  • a layout and enough space for people to work without contaminating food (e.g. to keep raw and cooked foods separate and to keep waste away from food)
  • convenient hand wash basin/s with warm running water, soap and single-use towels – if you use this sink for other things (e.g. washing dishes or a laundry sink) you will need written approval from your local council
  • fridges that are big enough and powerful enough to keep food at 5oC or colder (and frozen food frozen hard)
  • enough storage to protect food and packaging
  • floors, walls and benches that can be easily cleaned
  • a supply of drinking-quality water and good light and ventilation
  • a system to safely store and dispose of waste.

Check with your local council for advice and to make sure you are set up correctly.

Top food safety tips for home-based businesses:

Prevent contamination

  • protect food at all times during storage, processing, transport and display
  • thoroughly wash and dry hands before handling food: use warm running water and soap – scrub wrists, palms, backs of hands, between fingers and under nails, and then dry hands using single-use towels
  • do not handle food if you are ill
  • keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods – e.g. use different cutting boards, store raw food below ready-to-eat food
  • protect food from pets, children and visitors, sick people, waste, chemicals, pests and dirt

Cleaning and sanitising

  • keep the premises clear of rubbish, food waste, dirt and grease
  • keep food contact surfaces like benches, utensils and containers clean and sanitary
  • clean before you sanitise
  • sanitise using bleach, a commercial food-safe sanitiser or a dishwasher on longest hottest cycle

Food traceability

  • keep records of your ingredients and suppliers, and businesses you’ve sold to
  • if you are a food manufacturer, wholesale supplier or importer, have a written recall plan and follow it if a recall is needed

Safe food temperatures & processing

  • potentially hazardous foods (like those containing meat, egg and dairy) need to be kept cold (at 5oC or colder) or kept hot (at 60oC or hotter) during receipt, storage, display (or hot holding) and transport
  • prepare food quickly to minimise time out of the fridge (e.g. when making sandwiches)
  • cook food to safe temperatures (e.g. 75oC for poultry and minced meat)
  • cool cooked food quickly to store in the fridge (e.g. by dividing into smaller portions in the fridge) – within required timeframes
  • check temperatures with a food thermometer
  • know the critical limits for safety (e.g. acidity, water activity) for processes you use

 

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