Food Safety Audits

Who needs to have an audit

To manage food safety, the majority of food businesses are only required to comply with Food Safety Standards 3.2.2, Food Safety Practices and General Requirements and Standard 3.2.3, Food Premises and Equipment of the Food Standards Code (link to the code) and surveillance of these requirements are performed by regular food premises inspections.

A number of high risk food business sectors are required to implement additional food safety management systems (FSMS) such as audited food safety programs (FSP).

Food Safety Management System (FSMS)

A FSMS is a documented, systematic examination of your business’s processing operations. It allows you to identify potential hazards and implement control measures to address the hazards.

There are different options for implementing a FSMS. Please refer to your sector below for more information.

Your business's FSMS must be verified (audited) as per the assigned frequency, which will be between 3 to 12 months, based on the performance of the business.

Standards requiring a Food Safety Management System and audit

This page provides information on food businesses regulated under the SA Food Act 2001 where food safety management systems have been introduced or are in the process of development.

How do I know if this applies to your business

Once you have completed/updated your food business notification your council will determine if you are captured by any of the above standards and advise that your business is required to implement a FSP or FSMS and have it audited by a Department for Health and Wellbeing approved food safety auditor.

How to comply with the Standard

Food businesses are responsible for:

  • implementing a suitable documented FSMS
  • ensuring appropriate records are kept to demonstrate compliance
  • contacting an approved auditor to arrange an audit.

Vulnerable persons guidelines

The Food Safety Guidelines for Food Service to Vulnerable Persons (PDF 601KB) has been prepared to:

  • establish a consistent state-wide approach to managing food safety for vulnerable persons
  • provide sufficient detail to assist development and maintenance of a suitable food safety
  • explain SA Health policies in relation to control of hazards associated with menu design
  • detail the elements of a food safety program that will be looked at and assessed during a regulatory audit
  • identify control measures that you may use to demonstrate compliance.

A business may choose to use an alternative method of compliance instead of the recommended control measures in the guideline, but must be able to demonstrate an equivalent food safety outcome.

Where listeria is a specific hazard

The Guideline for the Control of Listeria in Food Service to Vulnerable Persons (PDF 355KB) will assist food businesses that are required to consider Listeria as a specific hazard, in assisting them to develop and implement their own site-specific Listeria Management Program (LMP). For those businesses captured by Food Safety Standard 3.3.1 (excluding childcare) their LMP forms part of their Food Safety Program (FSP) which states how they will control identified food safety hazards associated with the food handling activities of their business.

A business may choose to use an alternative method of compliance instead of the recommended control measures in the guideline, but must be able to demonstrate an equivalent food safety outcome.


What to expect at an audit

Your auditor will assess the adequacy of your FSMS or FSP and compliance with the program. They also include the areas assessed during food safety inspections. Businesses are responsible for any auditing costs that may be incurred.


Businesses are required to organise their first audit as soon as practical after completing their FSP and then another audit within 6 months of the first. The outcomes of two audits will be required to establish a compliance history that can allow for the adjustment of the audit frequency.

The auditor may adjust the frequency based on performance after this time in the range of 3 to 12 months. For example, where a business performs well, audits may be reduced to annually, however if a business performs poorly, audits may be more frequent. All businesses required to have a mandatory food safety program will require audit at least annually.

How to find an auditor

SA Health has responsibilities under the Food Act 2001 to approve regulatory food safety auditors. To find an auditor who is appropriate for your business and services in the local government area in which you are located please refer to the Department for Health & Ageing Approved Food Safety Auditor Register.

Considerations during an audit

The auditor must undertake the audit with consideration of any Department for Health and Ageing Guidelines and must provide the business and Council (or in some circumstances Department for Health and Wellbeing) with an audit report in the prescribed format and within prescribed timeframes.

Further information

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

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