Manufacturers & wholesalers
Manufacturing and wholesaling businesses produce and sell foods by wholesale with a limited or no retail sales business component.
At a very small scale it may include home-based businesses.
Businesses need to:
- notify the NSW Food Authority of their business details and activities
- meet relevant food standards
- prepare for and be regularly audited and inspected.
A Manufacturing and Wholesale Inspection Program Information Pack has been developed for businesses that manufacture or wholesale food in NSW.
Manufacturers, wholesalers and importers of food or ingredients that do not retail the product need to notify the Food Authority of their business and food activity details.
You need to keep your notification up to date if any of your details change after you have notified, so it's a good idea to keep your reference number.
Notification records are private for each food business, so if you purchase an existing business you need to notify the business again with your details.
If any of your details change you need to update them by contacting the NSW Food Authority at email@example.com or on 1300 552 406, option 2.
Hygiene & handling
As an operator of a food business, you are responsible for making sure that people who handle food or food contact surfaces in your business, and the people who supervise this work, have the skills and knowledge they need to handle food safely.
Standards to meet include:
- cleaning and sanitising of food contact surfaces
- temperature control of stored and displayed foods
- hygiene of food handlers (eg. hand washing)
- pest control
- construction and maintenance of the premises
- food handling practices (eg. minimising cross-contamination)
- the safety and suitability of food sold.
For a guide to the standards, see FSANZ Safe Food Australia.
The full requirements are set out in Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements and Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment.
If you are packaging food for sale, there are product labelling requirements which include:
- a name for the food that sufficiently describes the true nature of the food
- identification of a ‘lot’ of the food
- name and street address in Australia or NZ of the supplier of the food (eg. the manufacturer, marketer or importer)
- a list of the ingredients
- a statement of the shelf life of the product, either a ‘use-by’ or ‘best before’ date (this can be used in place of the ‘lot’ number)
- the nutrition information panel (NIP) with nutrient contents contained in the food, per serving and per 100g
- a product's country of origin and its ingredients
- warning and advisory statements for people with allergies or food sensitivities.
Some product labels will also need to include instructions to achieve the labelled shelf life.
Some need directions for use.
Requirements are set out in Standard 1.2.1 - Application of Labelling and Other Information Requirements (CommLaw).
The most common food ingredients which can cause severe allergic reactions must be declared on a food label.
In most cases, the information must appear on the label if the food is packaged. If the food is not packaged, the information must be provided on the food display unit.
Foods which must be declared include:
- tree nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts)
- finned fish
- sesame seeds
- cereals containing gluten and their products - wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt and their hybridised strains
- added sulphite in concentrations of 10mg/kg or more
- bee pollen
- royal jelly
These allergens must be declared when present as:
- an ingredient
- an ingredient of a compound ingredient (in a sauce or dressing)
- a food additive or component of a food additive
- a processing aid or component of a processing aid.
An interactive food labelling hub developed by the Food Authority, aims to not only help consumers understand food labels, but also to assist industry by helping them understand how to correctly label food so it meets regulatory requirements. The food labelling hub can be found at www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/foodsafetyandyou/food-labelling.
For guides on allergens and labelling see FSANZ' allergen portal. The full standards or declaring allergens in food are set out out in Standard 1.2.3 - Mandatory Warning and Advisory Statements and Declarations.
Changes to allergen labelling
New requirements for labelling the most common allergens in food commenced on 25 February 2021.
The changes to the Food Standards Code will help people find allergen information on food labels more quickly and easily, so they can make informed and safe food choices.
For more information see Changes to allergen labelling.
Manufacturers and wholesalers need to have a recall plan in place. Operators need to:
- have a system to ensure the recall of unsafe food
- prepare a written document which outlines this process
- make this document available to an authorised officer on request
- follow the steps of this system when recalling unsafe food.
See also: Food recall action plan.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has published a step-by-step guide to developing a food recall plan in the form of Food Industry Recall Protocol - a guide to writing a food recall plan. To request a printed copy contact FSANZ on 1300 652 166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an operator considering a recall of food that is produced or distributed by your business, contact the Food Authority's Investigation and Recall Coordinator on 1300 552 406.
The full requirements are detailed in Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements.
Audits & inspections
The Food Authority's Manufacturer/Wholesaler Food Inspection Program is based on risk and performance. The type of food being produced will determine the Priority Risk Classification (P1 - P3) assigned to your business and the frequency of inspections conducted by the Food Authority:
- P1 - Annual Inspections
- P2 - Inspection every 24 months
- P3 - Business may be subject to an inspection if a complaint is received about the business or its products or as part of a compliance operation undertaking monitoring on a category or sector of the food industry.
Additional inspections will be undertaken for businesses where food safety issues have been identified during an inspection.
The Food Authority will provide formal clarification to food businesses about their risk rating and inspection requirements.
The Food Authority's Manufacturer/Wholesaler Food Inspection Program incurs some costs for industry operators:
- an inspection fee (based on an hourly rate)
- an annual administration fee (charged only for businesses the Food Authority has identified as high risk). This fee is based on the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) food handlers employed by the business.
Food businesses that operate for the sole purpose of raising funds for a recognised charity or community cause will not be charged an inspection fee.
For more see audits, inspections and compliance.
Legislation & standards
As an operator in the manufacturing/wholesaler industry, you will need to meet the requirements of the:
- Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements
- Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment
- Standard 1.2.1 - Application of Labelling and Other Information Requirements (CommLaw)
- Standard 1.2.3 - Mandatory Warning and Advisory Statements and Declarations (CommLaw)
- Standard 1.3.1 - Food Additives (CommLaw)
- Standard 1.4.1 - Contaminants and Natural Toxicants (CommLaw)