The NSW Food Authority is an enforcement agency that administers the Food Act 2003. The objectives of this Act include to:
- ensure food is both safe and suitable for human consumption,
- prevent misleading conduct in connection with the sale of food
- provide for the application in NSW of the Food Standards Code.
The Food Authority is committed to ensuring there is a high level of compliance with the Food Act 2003 and Regulations. It provides resources to help food businesses comply with food safety and labelling requirements.
Businesses that do not comply can be subject to enforcement action.
The Food Authority’s officers use a graduated response to drive compliance.
Actions increase in severity depending on the circumstances. For example: enforcement actions can range from warning letters through to prosecutions.
Factors taken into consideration when determining enforcement action include, but are not limited to:
- whether a warning has previously been given
- the number of breaches or repeat offences
- whether the breaches pose a serious risk to public health or significantly mislead consumers.
The principles, options available and decision-making criteria for deciding appropriate enforcement action in each case are set out in the NSW DPI Biosecurity and Food Safety Compliance Policy and Enforcement Policy. These policies set out how the Food Authority is to achieve the objectives of the Food Act 2003 in a manner that is:
- authorised by the law
- procedurally fair
- accountable and transparent