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Guidelines for home based businesses

If your producing food at home for sale directly to persons and/or for sale to premises such as cafes and grocery stores and/or at events such as fetes and fairs then you are a home based food business and applies to you.

What facilities will I need?

Facilities must be designed and constructed to minimise the opportunity for food contamination.

As a minimum the following must be met:

  • A separate room or building must be provided exclusively for the handling, storage and preparation of food for sale and must be physically separated by a wall or self closing lockable door from the rest of the domestic premises/environment.
  • Surfaces including walls, floors, ceiling and equipment must be designed to be smooth, impervious and able to be easily and effectively cleaned and sanitised.
  • Equipment used should be of commercial design and of sufficient capacity to cope with requirements of the activity.
  • Hot and cold water must be connected to required sinks and designated hand wash basin.

Health and hygiene requirements

Every person in the food preparation and storage area needs to comply with the requirements of the Food Act 2001, Food Regulations 2002 and Food Safety Standards, with particular attention to the following:

  • Family members or other persons not directly involved in the preparation are restricted in their access to the area.
  • No persons shall smoke in the food preparation and storage area.
  • Normal domestic duties are not permitted in the food preparation and storage area if you do not have permission to use the domestic kitchen for the business activity.
  • Household pets of all kinds are not to have access to, or be in the food preparation or storage area at any time.
  • Household insecticides, chemicals and medications must not be kept in the food preparation and storage area.
  • Decorations, pot plants and curtains which render various surfaces incapable of being adequately cleaned and sanitised must be avoided.

Food labelling

Food manufactured for sale in South Australia needs to comply with product labelling requirements including nutrition panels, ingredients lists and supplier details. For further information or to see if your business needs to meet these requirements refer to the Guidelines of packaged food for retail sale.

Responsibilities of home based food businesses

Home based food businesses are subject to the same food safety and hygiene requirements as commercial businesses and as such are subject to the same non-compliance penalties.

You must have regard for cleanliness, temperature control and appropriate preparation, display and sale of foods.

Foods such as raw and ready-to-eat meats, poultry and fish or items containing these, milk and foods containing milk such as custards and cream, cooked pasta and rice, salads, cut fruits and vegetables, lasagne's, curry, sushi, sandwiches, etc. are classified as potentially hazardous foods and need to be kept under correct temperature controls to minimise the growth of potentially harmful bacteria.

Businesses are required to comply with the following legislation and standards:

  • Food Act 2001
  • Food Regulations 2002
  • Food Safety Standards
  • The National Code of Practice for the Design, Construction and Fit-out of Food Premises.

Under the requirements of the Food Act 2001, all food businesses are required to notify their Local Council (the enforcement agency) of the food business details via a Food Business Notification Form. Businesses are required to notify of their operations within 14 days of beginning operations.

Can I use my domestic kitchen for a home based food business?

Domestic kitchen facilities are generally deemed to be unsuitable for use unless the use is limited to small scale and /or low risk food activities; this will be determined by Council's Environmental Health Officer. Generally a separate room or building is required to comply.

Where a domestic kitchen is approved for use the following conditions also apply:

  • A separate area or clearly identifiable containers must be used for the storage of all ingredients for the business.
  • Separate and clearly identifiable utensils must be utilised for the manufacture and preparation of food for sale.
  • A separate fridge and freezer are required from those used for domestic items.
  • Designated hand wash only facilities with warm running portable water are required.

Inspections

All food businesses within South Australia are subject to routine food inspections by an Environmental Health Officer. Within the Whyalla Council area these inspections are undertaken on a random unannounced basis and the frequency of the inspections are determined using a risk rating approach. Inspections are subject to a fee of $80+GST for small businesses and $200+GST for large businesses.

Other council requirements

The planning department at your local council need to be consulted with to determine whether your food business falls within the definition of a 'home activity' as described in the Development Act 1993.

Where building work is proposed or required, a Development Application will be required to be lodged with Council's Development Services Department, all necessary approvals must be attained from Council's Planning and Building Departments for any construction.

Enquiries

This guideline does not seek to advise on all matters of food safety and hygiene. To avoid non-compliance and associated penalties, it is strongly advised that you consult your Environmental Health Officer prior to starting a home based food business. It is also highly recommended that you read Chapter 3 of the Food Safety Standards which details specific requirements of food businesses in general. Further enquiries can be made by calling 8640 3444 or via email at council@whyalla.sa.gov.au

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