Food safety inspections

To assure South Australians that food they buy and consume is safe and suitable, all food businesses are expected to comply with requirements of the:

Surveillance for compliance with these requirements is performed when authorised officers conduct regular food premises inspections or regulatory audits (where required) of food businesses. To find out if your business requires an audit, see the Food safety audits page. For general information on food safety inspections see below.

Assessing compliance

Food premises inspections are mainly conducted by Environmental Health Officers employed by the local government (council) where the business is located.

Food premises inspections assess compliance with the Code, particularly the Food Safety Standards (Chapter 3 of the Code). Chapter 3 of the Code sets out the minimum requirements for:

  • safe food handling and preparation procedures
  • health and hygiene
  • temperature control
  • structural and other requirements of facilities

In addition to routine food premises inspections, inspections to assess compliance with the Code can also occur:

  • during investigations of complaints;
  • due to food safety incidents; and/or
  • in response to surveys.

Inspections can be undertaken by authorised officers at any reasonable time, including any time when the business is open and/or operating. During inspections, officers can ask food handlers questions, examine food and records, take photographs, and record observations. They may also take videos or other recordings, take food samples and/or seize food or equipment if necessary. 

Inspection frequency

Inspection frequency in South Australia is based on the South Australian Food Business Risk Classification (PDF 1254KB), which was updated in November 2018. The food business’ compliance history in conjunction with the risk level of the food produced is used to assign a risk-based inspection frequency. For more information on the SA Food Business Risk Classification see the SA Health Priority classification of food businesses web page.

Authorised officers

Authorised officers are appointed by the enforcement agency under Section 94 of the Food Act 2001. The powers of authorised officers are set out in Section 37 of the Food Act 2001.

Authorised officers should always carry and be able to produce their authorisation card to food businesses upon request. Authorised officers may be Environmental Health Officers from the local council/authority, SA Health authorised officers and/or Department of Health and Wellbeing approved food safety auditors.

For more information

For specific information relating to food premises inspections, contact the local council (see the LGA’s SA Council Locator to find the relevant council) or contact SA Health’s Food Standards Surveillance team via healthfood@sa.gov.au or on (08) 8226 7100.

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