Aged care centre food safety requirements

In order to protect vulnerable people in our community, including older persons and people who have weakened immune systems due to illness, businesses that serve potentially hazardous food to vulnerable persons need to comply with additional legislative requirements to further manage risks. This page provides information on food safety management systems that have been introduced for your sector.

Vulnerable persons

Vulnerable people are defined within Standard 3.3.1 in terms of the facility in which they are cared for or as clients of a delivered meals organisation. The facilities listed in the standard include aged care facilities such as:

  • nursing homes
  • respite care
  • same-day aged care
  • low care aged care
  • delivered meal organisations for vulnerable persons.

Standard 3.3.1 – Food Safety Programs for Food Service to Vulnerable Persons

Standard 3.3.1 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code outlines the responsibilities of food businesses that process or serve food to vulnerable populations. 

A food business to which Standard 3.3.1 applies must have a food safety program that complies with Standard 3.2.1.

Refer to the Guide to Standard 3.2.1 produced by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand to further define and explain the types of food businesses that are captured by Standard 3.3.1.

Not sure if this applies to your business

If you are unsure if this applies to your business, see the food safety audit page.

Food safety programs

A food safety program is defined as a written document that systematically identifies the risks present in the food handling operations of a food business and provides for the control, monitoring and regular review of those risks in order to ensure food safety.

The purpose of Standard 3.2.1 is to detail what a food safety program must contain when a food business is required to implement a food safety program. A food safety program must be audited by a regulatory food safety auditor approved under the Food Act 2001.

Refer to the Guide to Standard 3.2.1 produced by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand to further explain the requirements of implementing a food safety program.

Food Safety Guidelines for Vulnerable Persons

To assist businesses SA Health has developed the following guidelines:


SA Health has developed a new food safety program template (DOCX 764KB) to assist businesses that are required to comply with Standard 3.3.1 to develop a food safety program. The new template identifies allergens as hazards that must be controlled, and includes updated tools to facilitate compliance with the Food Safety Standards, such as Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), extensive records and robust Food Safety Program review information. Businesses may choose to utilise sections of the new template or adopt the new template in full, and will need to modify the template to reflect site specific processes.

On request, the SA Health's Food Safety and Regulation Branch can supply you with these documents. The original template for aged care facilities (DOC 701KB) was released in April 2008.

Find an auditor

To find an auditor in your council area see Department for Health and Wellbeing approved food safety auditors.

Further information

For more information on food safety food, contact SA Health's Food Safety and Regulation Branch.