Food safety inspections

Council’s Environmental Health Officers carry out food inspections of local food businesses once or twice each year, depending on the type of business and associated food safety risks. These inspections are in accordance with the Food Act (2003) and Food Regulation (2015), and are untaken to ensure food provided to customers is safe. Inspections are undertaken without prior warning. 

What’s covered during an inspection?

Food premises inspections focus on the following;

  • Checking your business has nominated a qualified Food Safety Supervisor and food handlers have skills and knowledge to handle food safely. Exempt business types can be found on the Food Authority website exeption list.
  • Safe food handling practices
  • Cleanliness of the premises and equipment
  • Sanitation practices
  • Food storage
  • Temperature control
  • Personal hygiene
  • Pest control
  • Whether the food shop fit-out complies with the food saftety standards
  • Providing education to food handlers and answering any questions you may have regarding safe food handling


Food businesses are assessed using the Food Premises Assessment Report (FPAR). We reccomend using the this to do ‘self-check’ to ensure your business is on track. You can view a copy of the FPAR report here.

Scores on Doors

MidCoast Council and the NSW Food Authority have joined forces to start the NSW Scores on Doors program. The hygiene rating program will help consumers make informed choices on where to eat or shop for food.

Council's Environmental Heath Officers already undertake food inspections to ensure compliance and, as routine inspections are completed, eligible food premises receive a hygiene and food safety rating along with a green and purple display certificate giving a 3, 4, or 5 star rating. These ratings give you an idea of what's going on in the kitchen, or behind closed doors.

Grading  Points Definition
5 stars 0-3 Excellent - highest level of compliance with food safety legislation
4 stars 4-8 Very good - complying with food safety legislation. Minor issues
3 stars 9-15 Good - broadly compliant with legislation, but more effort required with legislation

No grade

16+ Poor- poor level of compliance with legislation. Follow up action is required. Business will be re-inspected in a timely manner


To improve your score at your next inspection you can:

  • Do a ‘self check’ using the Food Business Assessment Report, which is the same report which Council Officers use during a routine inspection.
  • Make sure you have addressed the 5 most common issues found by council officers.

Food safety supervisor

Most retail food outlets need to appoint a Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) in their business if food they prepare and serve is:

  • ready-to-eat
  • potentially hazardous ie. needs temperature control
  • NOT sold and served in the supplier's original package

The aim of the FSS is to prevent individuals becoming ill from food poisoning as a result of incorrect handling and preparation of food.

You can find more information on Food Safety Supervisor requirements on the NSW Food Authorities website including:

  • Businesses that require FSS
  • Who can be a FSS
  • Exempt businesses
  • Training and FSS Certificates

Businesses who are required to have a FSS must keep a copy of the FSS Certificate at the premises and provide it to a council officer during routine inspections.

Recent changes

There have been some recent changes to the Food Standards Code which will apply to food service, caterer and related businesses from 8 December 2023.

Standard 3.2.2A is a new food safety standard for these types of businesses that aims to improve food safety and support consumer confidence.

There are three food safety management tools in the new standard which may need to be implemented in your business:

To find which food safety management tools will apply to your business and for further information visit the NSW Food Authority website Standard 3.2.2A Food Safety Management Tools | NSW Food Authority.

What is the administration fee used for?

This covers a wide range of food-related activities and services that we provide including:

  • periodic newsletters
  • advertising, promoting and implementing special programs and initiatives
  • maintaining databases
  • develop training materials and seminars
  • involvement in food recall activities
  • negotiating with stakeholders including solicitors, builders, shop fitters or contractors on behalf of existing or new food business operators
  • providing verbal advice on plans for new food business or changes to an existing business
  • inspecting food business complaints
  • serving warning letters
  • serving notices to seize food or equipment
  • serving Orders in serious situations where a business is closed in the interests of food safety

See Council Fees & Charges for Inspection Fees.

Additional resources and information