South Australia supports the production of safe food through legislation, monitoring, compliance and education activities in businesses and across the 3 levels of Government in Australia.
Policy and standards
The food policy framework for Australia is set by the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation. It consists of health and agriculture ministers from the states and territories, and the Australian and New Zealand governments. Food standards are developed to reflect this policy framework.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) develops standards in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (Food Standards Code).
Food standards cover the use of:
- processing aids
- vitamins and minerals
- primary production
- food safety.
The Food Act 2001 ensures that food for sale is:
- safe and suitable for human consumption
- complies with the Food Standards Code requirements for:
- safe handling and production.
The Primary Produce (Food Safety Schemes) Act 2004 enables Food Safety Schemes (regulations) to apply to primary food production and processing.
Each scheme states:
- the food safety standards that apply to a business
- the accreditation or approved food safety arrangement required
- food safety arrangements.
Learn more about the food safety schemes for the following industries:
Under the Federal Export Control Act 1982, exported goods are ‘prescribed’ or ‘non-prescribed’.
Prescribed goods include many primary products such as:
Requirements for exporting prescribed goods can include:
- registration of export premises with Department of Agriculture
- Quality Assurance and Accreditation systems
- specific documentation.
In addition to the regulated standards, many businesses choose to adopt industry and commercial requirements in order to enable ongoing supply to key markets.
Examples of the food safety system in action
Good food safety is supported in South Australia through:
- routine inspections of food processing facilities
- advice and educational materials.
Responsibility for these functions lie with:
- Local government Environmental Health Officers who undertake these activities for the Food Act 2001.
- Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) and the Dairy Authority who undertake these activities for selected primary products and processing covered by the Primary Produce (Food Safety Schemes) Act 2004 and associated regulations.
- SA Health who undertake these activities in regions outside of local council areas.
SA Health’s Food Safety and Nutrition Branch undertakes regular surveys to monitor the safety and suitability of food and assess compliance with the Food Standards Code.
Management of food recalls
All food business including wholesalers, manufacturers and importers of food have a system in place to ensure the recall of unsafe food. Food recalls, whether initiated voluntarily or by a state or territory agency are nationally coordinated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
Pesticides and veterinary medicine controls
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) places strict limits on agricultural and veterinary chemicals that can be used on crops and animals. The APVMA sets maximum residue limits for any agricultural produce entering the food chain. These are prescribed in the Food Standards Code.
Research and Development
A range of food safety research is undertaken by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). This supports transparent, scientifically objective risk assessment approaches to underpin public health and market access. These include:
- public health epidemiology
- veterinary public health
- statistical analysis
- predictive microbiology
- risk modelling
- food microbiology
- risk communication.
Genetically modified crops
The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator regulates genetically modified (GM) organisms. If GM crops or animals are to be used in food then they must be approved by FSANZ. Foods that contain novel DNA or protein from a GM crop are required to be labelled with the words ‘genetically modified’.