Like many areas of running a business (tax advice, legal advice, building works, business planning), sometimes you need specialist advice to help produce safe food and comply with food safety and labelling laws.
Australian food standards are not prescriptive. They are 'outcomes based' so each food business can achieve the standard in the way that's best for them.
This flexibility can leave businesses wondering what precisely to do.
The NSW Food Authority publishes helpful general resources on a range of topics and our staff try to help with individual questions where they can.
We usually cannot provide detailed advice to individual businesses nor rulings that might restrict our options to administer the food laws.
It is each businesses' responsibility to produce safe food and comply with standards and requirements.
You may need to consider getting professional advice from a food safety or labelling consultant.
Which type of consultant?
Be clear about the type of help you need. For example, do you want the consultant to:
- answer specific questions on product or process safety, such as:
- What are the food safety hazaards relevant to your business?
- Are specific additives or processing aids permitted?
- Does a food label comply with labelling laws?
- recommend how best to meet food standards
- design a food safety monitoring program
- prepare food safety plans, product recall plans or other documentation
- train employees on your businesses' food safety processes and documentation
- review building plans so a premises meets hygiene requirements
- advise more generally on best practice in food safety.
The work and advice you need will determine what speciality, skills and experience to look for in your consultant.
HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point) is a common term but it relates mostly to food safety programs. Is that what you want?
The NSW Food Authority publishes a range of plans and templates on its website, that businesses need to customise to their operations. Perhaps you just need help with this.
At the end, it is still each businesses' and operators' responsibility to produce safe food and meet food standards.
Try to find a consultant with appropriate qualifications and the most relevant experience you can.
Check their experience.
Check their reputation online, and ask for referees from customers who got the same work done and contact them.
Consider comparing several consultants and quotes. Or start with a small piece of work as a trial run.
Food safety can be complex, but you shouldn't feel confused after using the services of a consultant.
Look for a consultant that will help you understand what to do, and why.
How big do you want the scope of work to be? Perhaps you need a consultant that will let you do parts of the project you are capable of.
Where to look
Ask for others' recommendations.
Check with industry associations and websites. Almost every food industry sector has its own association where consultants with relevant experience are often listed.
Look on the internet for terms like: (product or business type) food safety consultants Australia or similar terms.