A meat van is any vehicle used to transport abattoir meat including poultry, rabbit, ratite or crocodile meat as well as others, and products derived from abattoir meat.
It includes vans:
- with rails used to transport carcases from abattoirs to retail premises and meat processing plants, certain types of game meat and animal food
- without rails used to transport meat from retail premises and meat processing plants for wholesale purposes e.g butcher’s wholesale delivery vehicle
- used to transport meat on ports.
Operators of meat vans need to:
- apply for a Food Authority licence online (or download a form, print and post it)
- meet food safety and labelling standards, and
- prepare for and be regularly audited.
For more see licensing.
Meat van licence label
The NSW Food Authority will issue a licensing label (sticker) to the holder of a meat van licence.
This label must be displayed on the vehicle at all times.
Skills & knowledge
There are no formal food safety qualifications required for meat transport vehicles however each person in control of a food business is required to have food safety skills and knowledge appropriate to their food handling activities.
For a guide see FSANZ Safe Food Australia Division 2.
Requirements are set out in the Food Standards Code, Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, clause 3.
Vehicle & equipment standards
To provide consumers with safe food, a meat transport business needs to transport meat or meat products using time and temperature controls that prevent or reduce the growth of microbiological hazards in the product.
Meat transport vehicles must not be the source of contamination of animals, meat or meat products. Vehicles and equipment need to:
- allow for hygienic transportation
- be effectively inspected and monitored
- be effectively cleaned and maintained
- have surfaces that are durable
- have surfaces that are smooth, impervious and corrosion resistant
- have surfaces that are non toxic, resistant to food, detergent and sanitising agents under normal operating conditions
- have surfaces that do not transmit odour or taste
- have surfaces that are capable of withstanding repeated cleaning and sanitising
- have surfaces that allow visible contamination to be easily seen.
The meat carrying compartment of the meat transport vehicle needs to:
- be separate from the rest of the vehicle
- be adequately insulated and supplied with operating refrigeration equipment
- effectively prevent the entry of odours, smoke, dust and other environmental contaminants during transport.
Food Safety Management Statement (FSMS)
It is a national requirement for all meat vans to have a Food Safety Management Statement (FSMS).
The document sets out the potential food safety risks and how they are controlled and verified.
Businesses must operate according to their FSMS.
The Food Authority has approved the factsheet Requirements for meat vans as an FSMS for meat vans. If businesses comply with all sections of the factsheet, they are deemed to meet the national requirement.
Hygiene & handling
The Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption covers the transportation of meat and meat products, including management of wholesomeness, operational hygiene, identification during transport, and meat transport vehicles and equipment.
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. Transporters must exercise personal hygiene and health practices so the food is suitable for sale by:
- wearing clean clothing at the start of each day
- not handling food if they know, or suspect, they have an illness (for example, vomiting and diarrhoea)
- covering open wounds with a waterproof bandage
- washing their hands whenever it is likely their hands could contaminate food (for example, after visiting the toilet, after meal breaks)
- not smoking around product at any time.
For more see our factsheets:
- health & hygiene for food handlers (pdf)
- cleaning & sanitising in food businesses (pdf)
- requirements for meat vans (pdf)
See also FSANZ guide Safe Food Australia.
Full requirements are set out in:
- Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption (AS 4696:2007), and
- Food Standards Code, Chapter 3, Standard 3.2.2, Division 4 - Health and Hygiene.
Food safety controls
Meat and meat products, other than shelf stable meat products, must be transported:
- at a temperature no warmer than 7°C, for a carcass, side, quarter and bone-in major separated cut
- at a temperature no warmer than 5°C at the site of microbiological concern for any other meat or meat product, or
- in accordance with the alternative time and temperature controls specified in the approved arrangement of the meat business that stores and handles them.
The Food Authority has granted an exemption to licensed meat vans that allow meat to be transported at a temperature different to that specified in the Australian Standard. This exemption states:
Retail butchers who deliver product to a non-retail customer (e.g club, hotel, hospital, restaurant, fast food shop) not more than 30 minutes from their shop will be regarded as complying with AS4696:2007, and will not require refrigeration provided they can demonstrate, when required, that the temperature of the product does not exceed 5°C.
No routine microbiological or chemical testing of product is required of meat vans.
Inspections & audits
On a scheduled basis, meat transport vehicles will be checked by the Food Authority for compliance with requirements.
Compliance or regulatory action will be taken if required.
There are fees for inspections, payable by the licence holder.
For more see audits, inspections and compliance.
Legislation & standards
Meat van operators need to meet the requirements set out in:
- Food Act 2003 (NSW)
- Food Regulation 2015, including relevant parts of the Meat Food Safety Scheme
- Food Standards Code including:
Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements
- Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption (AS 4696:2007).