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Disputing a decision

People and businesses subject to decisions by the NSW Food Authority can dispute them if they believe they have grounds.


We make operational, administrative and formal decisions in our role under the Food Act.

Decisions include:

  • compliance and enforcement actions we take under the Food Act such as:
    • permissions or restrictions imposed on food businesses to maintain food safety, including issuing prohibition orders and when to lift them 
    • whether and how much compensation to pay for seized food
  • whether to grant approval to be, and conditions for: 
    • a food safety auditor
    • an approved laboratory, or
    • an approved analyst 
  • whether to agree to requests to change information in the:
    • Register of Penalty Notices or
    • Register of Offences (prosecutions)
  • whether to release requested information.

Formal decisions are generally advised to you in writing.

Local councils and other organisations

If you have a dispute with a local council or other organisation, you need to deal with  the organisation concerned.

They can advise about options to dispute their decisions, including any external review or appeal.

The Food Authority is not empowered to deal with complaints about decisions of other bodies such as local councils.

Service goals

The Food Authority strives to be:

  • accurate and consistent
  • fair and impartial
  • professional
  • respectful
  • accountable
  • transparent

Internal review

If you do not agree to a decision by the Food Authority, the first option is to request an internal review.

You should make this request in writing as soon as possible to the person informing you of the decision, or to the workgroup manager.

External review

The process depends on what you are disputing:

Penalty Notices

If you wish to dispute a Penalty Notice issued by the Food Authority, you can elect to have the matter heard by a court.

See the Penalty Notice for details.

You should seek independent legal advice about electing to have a matter heard by a court.

The court may impose fines larger than those in the Penalty Notice and may also award costs against any party.

Decisions about access to information (GIPA)

If you are dissatisfied with a decision about access to information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA), you can ask for a review by the:

Other decisions

If you disagree with other types of Food Authority decision, have asked for an internal review or want an external review, you can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

  • NCAT review of some decisions is provided for in the Food Act 2003.
  • NCAT reviews some other decisions as general government administrative practice.

You need to apply to NCAT within 28 days of receiving the Food Authority's decision.