Food safety

We work closely with food business trading across the Bellingen Shire to minimise the risk of food-borne illness by promoting a high standard of safety. We are responsible for inspecting, educating and regulating retail food businesses operating in the Shire.

Council plays an important role in food regulation and promoting safe food handling practices. We regularly inspect premises where food is served. Our role includes:

  • conducting inspections of food premises
  • following up complaints from our community

Unannounced inspections by Council are designed to assess compliance with the Food Act 2003 and food safety standards, including:

  • ensuring that food is being handled and produced hygienically and will be safe to eat
  • minimising the potential risk of food poisoning
  • ensuring that business operators and food handlers have appropriate skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene
  • assessing the condition and cleanliness of premises, equipment and appliances


Food inspections

Council's Environmental Health Officers regulate businesses through mandatory inspections. Follow-up inspections for poorly performing businesses and targeted inspections for specific business sectors are also conducted. Fees are charged for these inspections.

The Food Inspection Program aims to ensure retail food businesses understand and meet the requirements expected of them. It also helps Council assess if business have the skills and knowledge to manage risk.

Environmental Health Officers assess the premises, its equipment and facilities to ensure they are appropriate and are in a fit condition to carry out the activities required and maintain necessary hygiene and food safety standards. 

Our Environmental Health Officers also educate, monitor and support the development of control systems and issue notices and fines. We work closely with the NSW Food Authority to inform the community of businesses that have been fined by publicising their details on the offences (name and shame) registers.

The Food premises Design, construction and fit-out guide(PDF, 4MB) provides information for fixed food premises. 

Food Safety Supervisors

The Food Act 2003 requires most food businesses to have at least one trained Food Safety Supervisor. The role of a Food Safety Supervisor is to minimise the risk of customers becoming ill from food poisoning because of incorrect handling and preparation of food. The FSS provides expertise and guidance to food handlers in the business by identifying and implementing procedures to address food safety risks in their business.

Appointing an FSS gives food businesses a better level of onsite protection for food safety and gives consumers peace-of-mind when dining out or buying food in NSW.

This requirement applies to retail and hospitality food businesses selling ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous foods that are handled by the business (i.e. not received and sold as packaged) before sale must appoint at least one Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) per premises. Broadly, this includes all businesses selling potentially hazardous food (temperature controlled) to the public that are not licensed by the Food Authority.

Want to become a Food Safety Supervisor? Training is delivered by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) approved by the NSW Food Authority

Food businesses at temporary events

If you intend to sell food from a temporary structure or vehicle at a market and temporary event, you must check the requirements with Council well before the event. You may be required to obtain a permit to trade on public land, undergo an inspection or pay a fee. 

Mobile food vans

If you are a mobile food vendor selling food to the public, you are considered a retail food business and must notify Council of your operations. This includes vehicles used for:

  • on-site preparation of food such as hamburgers, hot dogs and kebabs
  • one-step food preparation – for example, popcorn, fairy floss, coffee or juice
  • any type of food, including pre-packaged food


If you wish to trade in a public roadway (sometimes referred to as hawking), you will need to apply to Council for an approval under Section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993