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Children's services


Children's services that provide food as part of their service need to meet requirements in the Food Standards Code and Food Act 2003 (NSW). 

Businesses and facilities include long day care, family day care, out of school hours care, occasional day care and employer sponsored child care. 

In NSW, children’s services are exempt from Standard 3.3.1 – Food Safety Programs for Food Service to Vulnerable Persons. 

Family day care 

Under food safety regulations, family day care facilities that provide food as part of their service are not considered a children’s service. They are considered homebased food businesses and need to meet the requirements in the Food Standards Code. For information on what is required, see Homebased and mixed businesses

Changes for children's services

The advice on this page is current. From 8 December there are new food safety requirements for some children's services.

Licensing, registration

The NSW Food Authority does not require NSW children's services to be licensed with us but you will need to:

  1. notify your business and food activity details to the local council. From 1 September 2015, notification is satisfied via applications to local councils for services, permits and approvals. Contact your local council
  2. meet general food safety requirements
  3. prepare for and be regularly inspected by your local council.

Construction & facilities

Construction and layout of food handling areas must be designed to minimise the opportunity for food contamination.

Children's services need to ensure that their food premises, fixtures, fittings, and equipment are designed and constructed so they can be easily cleaned and, where necessary, sanitised.

Operators of children's services need to ensure:

  • adequate hand washing facilities are available - check with local council on what is considered adequate
  • food is kept protected from pests and vermin at all stages, including storage of ingredients
  • premises are designed to exclude pests where practical
  • adequate refrigeration capacity is essential - overloading domestic refrigerators and constantly opening the door means food takes longer to cool and harmful microorganisms have more chance to grow.

See the FSANZ guide chapter 3.2.3 Safe Food Australia.

Requirements are set out in the Food Standards Code, Chapter 3, Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment.

Skills & knowledge

There are no formal qualifications required for children's services businesses, however each food handler and person in control of a food business is required to have food safety skills and knowledge appropriate to their food handling activities.

See FSANZ guide chapter 3.2.2 Division 2 in Safe Food Australia.

Full requirements are set out in the Food Standards Code, Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, clause 3.

Food Safety Supervisors

Childrens services businesses do not need to have a designated Food Safety Supervisor with formal training units in food safety.

Hygiene & handling

Food handlers need to 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.

Food handlers must ensure all food contact surfaces are kept clean and adequately protected from contamination.

See FSANZ guide chapter 3.2.2 Division 4 in Safe Food Australia.

For more see our fact sheet:

Full requirements are set out in Food Standards Code, Standard 3.2.2, Division 4 - Health and Hygiene.

Cleaning & sanitation

All fixtures, fittings and equipment must be adequate for the production of safe and suitable food, and fit for their intended use.

Cleaning chemicals must be suitable for contact with food and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

For more see our factsheet:

Factsheets & posters

Food safety tips:

Food service information:

Food safety program

Food safety programs are not mandatory for children's services providers.

The Food Authority provides a food safety program starting template for children's services businesses wanting to voluntarily enact a program. 

The template includes information on food handling activities, general food safety practices and keeping records.

The voluntary Food Safety Program has been primarily designed for those services covered by the scope of national Standard 3.3.1 - Food Safety Programs for Food Service to Vulnerable Persons ie services that prepare potentially hazardous food (PHF) for children 4 years of age or under as part of their services in:

  • long day care
  • occasional care
  • employee sponsored day care.

It also includes businesses whose primary activity is to prepare ready-to-eat PHF for these services.

Inspections & audits

Children's services businesses will be routinely inspected by the local council to check their compliance with the above standards.

Centres may be charged:

  • an annual administration charge
  • inspection fees
  • fees for issuing improvement notices
  • fees for conducting follow up inspections.

Legislation & standards

You will also need to meet the requirements set out in:

  1. Food Act 2003 (NSW)
  2. Food Regulation 2015
  3. Food Standards Code including: