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Food Safety Rating Scheme

Food Safety Rating Schemes, also commonly known as 'scores-on-doors' schemes, are used in Australia and overseas as a way of informing consumers about the food safety of businesses such as restaurants and cafés. The rating is calculated using the results of routine food safety inspections undertaken by local council Environmental Health Officers (EHOs). This score is then usually represented as a number, letter or stars and displayed at the business.

Providing consumers with information about the safety of food service establishments is an important way of helping them to make informed choices about where they decide to purchase food. Your certificate will indicate to your customers the food safety rating you have achieved. This transparency will build trust and confidence in your business’s ability to manage food safety.

These Schemes also aim to drive a general improvement in food safety and reduce food borne illnesses by encouraging businesses to gain customers by having a higher star rating.

A voluntary Food Safety Rating Scheme (the Scheme) has been developed for use in South Australia in conjunction with industry, consumers and local government and has been piloted in nine local council areas between October 2014 and August 2015.

Due to the effective operation of the pilot SA Health has determined that this Scheme successfully demonstrates an opportunity to improve state wide food safety standards and a provides a tangible benefit to SA consumers. As a consequence, SA Health will commence roll out of a state wide voluntary Scheme in April.

As of April 2016, the local councils that have formally agreed to take part in the state wide Scheme are listed below.

  • Adelaide City Council
  • Adelaide Hills Council
  • City of Charles Sturt
  • City of Holdfast Bay
  • City of Mitcham
  • City of Mount Gambier
  • City of Onkaparinga
  • City of Playford
  • City of Port Adelaide Enfield
  • City of Salisbury
  • City of Tea Tree Gully
  • City of Unley
  • City of West Torrens
  • District Council of Mt Barker
  • Kangaroo Island Council
  • Mid Murray Council
  • Rural City of Murray Bridge
  • Town of Gawler

This list will be regularly amended as new councils join the Scheme.

What the certificates show

Participation is voluntary and businesses can choose to display their Food Safety Rating certificate at the site of the inspection. Not all food businesses fall within the scope of this Scheme, and not all councils will participate, therefore, just because a business is not displaying a certificate, does not mean that the business activities are unsafe.

After completion of the inspection, relevant businesses will be given a score that will translate into a Star Rating of up to 5 stars on a certificate. A higher Star Rating, will reflect the achieved level of compliance with food safety standards.

  • 5 Stars – Excellent Star Rating
  • 4 Stars – Very Good Star Rating
  • 3 Stars - Good Star Rating.

Businesses who receive a rating of less than 3 stars will work with the local council to improve their compliance with food safety standards.

In all circumstances, advice, support and follow up actions will continue to be undertaken by the local council officers to ensure a continual improvement in the safety of food handling practices.

Changes for your business

The inspection will still focus on the food safety risks associated with the foods you handle and how you prepare them. Businesses will still be expected to carry out corrective actions as required by the council Environmental Health Officer (EHO). There will be no additional burden to your business as a consequence of your local council joining the Scheme.

Differences you may notice

There are three key differences you may notice:

  • The inspection findings will be recorded on a different form. This form will display more information than previous versions but will not change the nature of your inspection.
  • Your inspection will be scored. The lower your total score, the better your overall food safety result. Points will be added where you are not compliant with food safety standards.
  • A copy of your completed inspection form will be passed on to SA Health. They will convert the Inspection Score into a Star Rating and dispatch a certificate for you to display at your business if you wish. You are not obliged to display the certificate.

Each time a non-compliance is noted, a score will be given. At the end of the inspection all scores are added up and converted to a Star Rating. Lower inspection scores indicate better food safety awareness and more stars awarded.

Self check and inspection form

The current  inspection form (PDF 59KB) that the council inspector is using is available and can be used to perform your own self check prior to your routine inspection to achieve the best food safety standards and maximise your Star Rating.

Specific data collected from the inspections will allow SA Health and local councils to direct resources into areas of general poor performance, which ultimately will aid the improvement in food safety standards across the state.

During the pilot period there were three main areas of non compliance.These were; a

These targets will constantly be shifted to mirror the results collected.

For a full report on the pilot period see Food Safety Rating Scheme Pilot Assessment Report (PDF 2MB).

Further information

If you have any questions please contact health.FSRS@sa.gov.au or call (08) 8226 7100.

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