Health & safety regulations


Council ensures compliance with relevant health standards and legislation which helps to ensure that residents and visitors to the area can enjoy a healthy and safe environment.

We conduct regular inspections of various premises and installations related to the control of disease, legionella, skin penetration premises, barbers, beauty salons, hairdressers, mortuaries. Inspections are also carried on septic systems and public swimming pools and spas.

Food safety

While the number of cases of food borne illness across Australia each year, and the financial implications for the broader community and the health care system is arguable, the typical causes are generally well understood and in most instances the personal inconvenience and illness are preventable.

Council carries out a broad range of inspections from an educational and enforcement perspective. The primary aim of these inspections is to ensure that food sold is safe to consume.

Our officers inspect food businesses once or twice each year. These inspections are required by NSW laws. No prior warning is given.

The number of times a business is inspected each year depends on the type of business:

 What’s covered during an inspection?

  • food handling practices

  • cleanliness of the premises

  • cleanliness of equipment and appliances

  • the way food is stored

  • temperature control

  • personal hygiene

  • pest control

  • whether the food shop fit-out complies

The number of times a business is inspected each year depends on the type of business:

Priority Classification


Example of type of business

Level 1

Twice each year

Caterer, bakery

Level 2

Twice each year

Restaurant, takeaway, café

Level 3

Once each year

Green grocer, service station

Level 4

Not needed

Low risk foods, packaged

All food businesses are required under legislation to notify the appropriate enforcement agency of certain information associated with the operation of the business.

Food Premises Assessment Report

Food businesses are assessed using the Food Premises Assessment Report (FPAR).

During an inspection the Council Officer scores your business depending on the risk levels identified. The scores range from 1 point (minor risk) to 8 points (critical). The lower the score, the better the grade

See Council Fees & Charges for Inspection Fees.

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

If you are considering buying an existing food business, we recommend you get a pre-purchase inspection(PDF, 1MB) .

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.

Buying a food business

If you are considering buying an existing food business, we recommend you get a pre-purchase inspection(PDF, 1MB) .

For further information on food regulations, safety and hygiene follow the links below.

Food Standards Code

Food Act 2003

Food Regulation 2010

NSW Food Authority

NSW Food Authority Notification

Food Safety Newsletter

Temporary food stalls, vans & markets

Temporary food stalls

Stall set-up and design must comply with NSW Guidelines for Temporary Food Events, and you will need to attach a drawn plan of the stall and specify how food products & preparation will be protected.

Any food handlers must have appropriate training skills and knowledge in food safety as required. You will need to supply us with copies of the relevant certification with the completed form.

Completed forms should be submitted at a MidCoast Council office or emailed to 

Food stalls must meet the NSW Food Authority's Guidelines for food businesses at temporary events.

We regularly inspect food stalls at events and markets to make sure food being sold is safe to eat.

Charities and community groups

If your organisation is a charity or community group, please read the fact sheet Charities community groups and temporary food events.

Do I need to tell Council about my food stall?

You don’t have to tell Council about your stall if it is:

  • a once off event with only one stall eg Lions Club sausage sizzle

  • part of a larger event e.g. a markets or festival – the event organiser will do this

You do have to tell us if:

  • your food stall is on a footpath – you must write to us 7 days beforehand to seek approval

  • if you are organising an event with multiple food stalls. To do this you need to complete the Temporary Food Stall Notification Form at least 7 days before the event.

Contact us for more information. 

Food safety supervisor requirements

Some temporary food stalls must have a Food Safety Supervisor. For more information see the NSW Food Authority's Food safety supervisor web page.

Mobile food vans

A mobile food van is any vehicle that is designed to be moved from place to place and is used to sell food.

All mobile food vans must comply with the NSW Food Authority’s Guidelines for mobile food vending vehicles.


Each year we inspect food vans that operate locally. If you have a new van and would like us to inspect it, please contact us.

If you’re from outside the Manning Valley and want to operate in our area you need to send us a recent report from your local council. The report must be less than 12 months old. If the report is satisfactory we won’t need to inspect the vehicle. If we believe there may be a risk to public health, we will need to inspect.

Operating a food van on private land

Food vans are allowed to set up and operate on private land without development consent under certain conditions. For example, if you want to do this you must:

  • have owner’s consent

  • not restrict any vehicle or pedestrian access or entry to any buildings

  • not obstruct operation of, or access to, any utility services

  • not operate under trees or cause damage to any trees

  • not damage public property

  • operate in or near residential areas only between 7.00am and 7.00pm

  • not contravene any conditions of a development consent for any other use on the land


Operating at an event or market

Event coordinators need to notify us about any mobile food vans and temporary food stalls that will be at the event. To do this, complete our Events - List of Temporary Food Stalls form(PDF, 1MB). We invoice event/market coordinators for any mobile food vans inspected.

Complaints about food businesses

Food poisoning complaints

If you have a complaint about a food poisoning incident contact us or use our online report and request form. It will help us investigate your complaint if you can answer the following questions:

  1. What is the name of the restaurant, function or event where you believe you ate the contaminated food?
  2. Where is this restaurant, function or event? 
  3. How many people have become ill?  
  4. What were their symptoms when they became ill?
  5. When did they become ill?  
  6. What did they eat during the suspected meal? Ensure you provide details of all food including dips and sauces.
  7. Is there any left over food that we can test?  
  8. Has anyone that became ill seen a doctor?  
  9. If so, does the doctor have a pathology report from a stool sample?

For further information see Food poisoning on the NSW Food Authority's web site.

General food safety complaints

We also investigate general complaints about food businesses. For example:

  • foreign matter in food

  • dirty premises

  • poor hygiene practices

Skin penetration businesses

This term applies to any business that uses needles that puncture the skin. It includes tattoo parlours, acupuncture, beauty treatments and piercing.

Operators of these businesses must notify Council of their names, the address of any premises where procedures involving skin penetration take place, and exactly what procedures are carried out.

NSW Health has a page dedicated to the Skin penetration industry that includes relevant factsheets based on the Public Health (Skin Penetration) Regulation 2000.

Are you thinking of purchasing or opening a beauty salon or tattoo shop?

Or are you thinking of offering services that involve skin penetration or piercing such as ear piercing, acupuncture, or blood cholesterol and glucose measurement? 

There are some important things you need to know:

  • If it’s a new business or if you are planning a re-fit, you need to submit a development application, even for a home business.

  • Your premises must be inspected by one of our environmental health officers before you can open.

  • If you are purchasing an existing approved business, you need to notify us of the change of ownership.

  • You need to know about hygiene standards and infection control practices to keep both workers and clients safe from infection. For example, even simple treatments can cause serious infections such as HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

See NSW Health’s Fact Sheets for:

Skin penetration legislation and codes of best practice include:

Do you have a concern or complaint about a beauty salon, tattoo shop or chemist?

Hairdressers & barbers

All hairdressing salons and barber shops must be registered with their local council. Council's Environmental Health Officers are also empowered to carry out inspections on these businesses.

Hygiene standards need to be maintained and premises need to be suitably equipped. For full information on the relevant guidelines, you should visit the NSW Health website on hairdressing and barbers hygiene standards. The aims of Public Health Act 2010 and Public Health Regulation 2012 are to minimise the risk of diseases being transmitted and to promote safe work environments.

Are you thinking of purchasing or opening a hairdressing salon or barber shop?

There are some important things you need to know.

  • If it’s a new business or if you are planning a re-fit, you need to submit a development application, even for a home business.

  • Your premises must be inspected by one of our environmental health officers before you can open.

  • If you are purchasing an existing approved business, you need to notify us of the change of ownership.

  • You need to know about hygiene standards and infection control practices to keep both workers and clients safe from infection. See NSW Health’s Fact Sheet for Hairdressing and barbers - hygiene standards

  • You need make sure you comply with the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005

Contact us for more information on starting your business.

Do you have a concern or complaint about a hairdresser or barber?

Public swimming pools

Public pools and spas can represent a major public health risk if not constructed, maintained or managed correctly. It's important to have access to current and reliable information. Both drowning and microbial infections are of major concern.

If you have a pool or spa which is available for public use, or is used by staff, either free of charge or by payment, then it is subject to legislation. Visit the NSW Health website for further detailed information and a clear definition of what constitutes a "public" pool and spa.

If you have installed a new public pool/spa pool, are taking over an established premises with a public pool/spa pool or if previously notified particulars have changed you will need to complete the following form:

We inspect commercial or public swimming pools annually. This helps pool and spa operators ensure their pool water quality is maintained to a high standard.

If you'd like more information about water quality and the requirements for operating a commercial pool or spa, visit the NSW Health Department's website.

Businesses who operate pools and spas are required to provide us with contact details so we can arrange your annual inspection. 

These businesses may include:

  • Motels
  • Caravan parks
  • Resorts
  • Aquatic centres
  • Learn-to-swim centres

Drinking water & rainwater tanks

If you operate a business that uses rainwater for food preparation or as drinking water that can be consumed by the public, you need to ensure that maintenance and testing requirements are met.

The storage and collection of rainwater must be through a well maintained tank and roof catchment system.

An unusual taste or smell may indicate the water is not suitable for drinking. The main causes of rainwater pollution include:

  • Dead animals or animal droppings;
  • Sediment, slime or algae in tank or pipes;
  • Decaying vegetation in guttering;
  • Pollen or dangerous plant material;
  • Smoke, ash or traffic emissions;
  • Pesticides;
  • Roof material - including asbestos, lead, treated timber and paint.

For further information regarding the use of rainwater tanks see:

Underground petroleum storage system (UPSS)

From 1 September 2019 most underground petroleum storage system (UPSS) sites in the MidCoast area became the regulatory responsibility of Council.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority remains the regulatory authority for sites that are:

  • operated by public authorities

  • in the unincorporated areas of NSW

  • subject to an environment protection licence

  • were subject to a notice issued by the EPA before 1 September 2019 for a matter under the UPSS Regulation until the actions in that notice have been complied with.

To assist operators of UPSS sites comply with requirements in NSW, fact sheets and Industry Guidance is available on the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s website.

Leak Notification

In accordance with part 5.7 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, the person responsible* for the UPSS site must, immediately after becoming aware of a pollution incident, notify the relevant authority.  Where notification was verbal, and Council is the relevant authority, a written notification using the UPSS Regulation Leak Notification Form must be submitted within seven days.

A copy of Council’s UPSS Regulation Leak Notification Form is available below:

* the person responsible is the person who has management and control of the system.  If the ‘person’ responsible is a corporation, an individual who is authorised to act on the organisations behalf must be nominated.