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NSW Food Authority palms off responsibility

NSW Food Authority palms off responsibility Changes to the Food Regulation Partnership between Local Government and the NSW Food Authority (NSWFA) will see Council take on extra responsibility when it comes to home-based food businesses. No  

Changes to the Food Regulation Partnership between Local Government and the NSW Food Authority (NSWFA) will see Council take on extra responsibility when it comes to home-based food businesses.

Currently, it’s the NSWFA’s duty to register and inspect these businesses, to ensure compliancy is being upheld however, despite Council’s best efforts, all councils will be accountable from 1 July next year.

The proposed changes were released in May this year, which gave Council an opportunity to provide feedback however, City of Canterbury Bankstown Mayor, Khal Asfour, said Council’s concerns had been ignored, and the changes would be going ahead anyway.

"It’s just another thing the State Government is unloading on councils, without adequate funding or any consideration for its capacity to absorb yet another cost shift from the State. It’s ludicrous," Mayor Asfour said.

"We have one of the highest number of food businesses in the State, with about 2,000 registered food-related businesses, and only seven Environmental Health Officers, who inspect each and every one of them at least once a year.

"The NSWFA are now asking us to add to this number by adding home-based businesses too. We have more than 360,000 residents in our City, I wonder how many of them are home-based bakers or caterers?"

There are only 17 home-based food businesses registered in Canterbury-Bankstown.

"The reason for the low number is the State Government has not engaged adequately with these business owners to make them aware of their responsibility to register. This should not now be left to individual councils," Mayor Asfour said.

The impact of these changes will see Council’s workload increase exponentially, including: 

  • Initial and ongoing administration associated with registration; 
  • An increase in number of enquiries from the public; 
  • Routine follow-up of registered home-based food businesses to verify they comply with Council’s guidelines; 
  • Possible enforcement action under the Environmental Planning and Assessment (EPA) Act 1979 for home-based food businesses currently registered with the NSWFA, which may not have planning approval with Council; and 
  • Responsibility for the regulation of internet-based food businesses.

"Like always, we’ll just have to pick up the NSW Government’s slack."

 30/01/2018 4:55 PM