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Game meat field depots

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Game meat field depots are premises that receive, identify, hang, chill/store and dispatch/transport wild game meat and carcases to game meat processing plants for human consumption.

Game meat is meat intended for human consumption from vertebrate animals (except fish) which are not husbanded like farmed animals and are legally slaughtered in a wild state.

Licensing, registration

Operators of game meat field depots are required to:

  1. apply for a Food Authority licence online or download an application form (PDF, 418 KB), print and post it
  2. meet food standards
  3. prepare for routine inspections or audits.

Before issuing a licence, the NSW Food Authority will carry out an inspection of the premises to ensure all buildings and equipment meet the requirements of the relevant standards.

For more see applying for a food licence.

Skills & knowledge

There are no formal food safety qualifications required however each food handler or person in control of a food business is required to have food safety skills and knowledge appropriate to their food handling activities.

Operators need to inform employees of the personal hygiene obligations for which they are accountable.

Construction & facilities

Construction and layout of a food premise must be designed to minimise the opportunity for food contamination.

Game meat field depot operators must ensure that their food premises, fixtures, fittings, equipment and transport vehicles are designed and constructed in a manner that means they can be easily cleaned and, where necessary, sanitised.

Businesses must also ensure that the premises are provided with the necessary services of water, waste disposal, light, ventilation, cleaning and personal hygiene facilities, storage space and access to toilets.

Full requirements are set out in:

Hygiene & handling

Operators need to ensure hygienic operation and implement a monitoring program approved by the Food Authority.

Wild game animal carcases must be held in the field depot in a hanging position and spaced to achieve adequate chilling.

A food handler must take all reasonable measures not to handle food or surfaces likely to come into contact with food in a way that is likely to compromise the safety and suitability of food.

Food businesses must ensure there are adequate facilities for food handlers to wash their hands. Hand wash facilities must be only used for washing hands, arms and face and should include warm running water, soap (or soap alternative) and single-use hand towel.

If a food handler believes they could have or be a carrier of a foodborne illness they must advise their supervisor and ensure they do not handle food that they could contaminate as a result of the disease.

Full requirements for field depots are set out in:

For more see factsheets:


Field chiller labelling requirements

All game meat carcases must be labelled as required by:

  1. NSW Food Authority
  2. NSW Environment and Heritage,
  3. Wild Game Meat Field Harvester Food Safety Program

All carcases must have a harvester’s tag that includes:

  • the shooter’s name
  • the shooter’s licence number
  • identifies the place of harvest
  • the date that the animal was shot
  • the time the animal was shot
  • contains a declaration signed by the harvester which declares:
    • no abnormal behaviour was observed during killing
    • no abnormal characteristics were observed during the examination of the body and any removed viscera
    • there is no suspicion of environmental contamination
    • if killed during daylight, the carcase was transported to a field depot or wild game establishment within 2 hours of harvest.
    • If killed between sunset and sunrise it was transported to a field depot or wild game establishment no later than 2 hours after sunrise with a maximum of 12 hours between killing and placing into a field depot.

If this information is not provided on all labels, the carcases will be placed under seizure and enforcement action may be taken against the harvester or licensed operator of the field depot.

Carcases without labels are not to be processed for human consumption. 


The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources provides export controls and assistance regarding exporting goods from Australia.

Game meat businesses that wish to export their product overseas can find information from the Department of Agriculture.

Businesses producing wild game meat also need to comply with AQIS Meat Notice Number: 2009/18, Additional Requirements for Wild Game Meat Processing for Export.

Food safety controls

Food Safety Program

Game meat field depots must develop and implement a documented food safety program compliant with Australian Standard AS 4464–2007, Hygienic production of wild game meat for human consumption.

Businesses can use the Food Authority template Wild Game Meat Field Depot Food Safety Program and adapt it to their requirements.

For more information see Food Safety Programs.

Approved transport

All means of transport used to transport wild game animal carcases from any field depot to wild game processing premises should be licensed by the Food Authority

The means of transport should deliver the carcases at a temperature not exceeding 7°C at a site of microbiological concern (the thermal centre of the meat product), unless delivered within 24hrs of harvest.


The are no formal microbiological testing requirements for game meat field depots.

Inspections & audits

Game meat field depots will be routinely inspected by the Food Authority for compliance with requirements.

Compliance or regulatory action will be taken if required.

There are fees for audits and inspections, payable by the licence holder.

For more see audits, inspections and compliance.

Legislation & standards

Operators of game meat processing plants also need to meet the requirements set out in:

  1. Food Act 2003 (NSW)
  2. Food Regulation 2015, including relevant parts of the Meat Food Safety Scheme
  3. Australian Standard AS 4464–2007, Hygienic production of wild game meat for human consumption
  4. For export: AQIS Meat Notice Number: 2009/18, Additional Requirements for Wild Game Meat Processing for Export.
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