Food Safety and Hygiene

Here are some tips for consumers and businesses on food safety. Information on Scores on the Doors, I'M ALERT training for food handlers and our food sampling program

Food Safety

Food safety and good food practices are important, as every year it is estimated that there are 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia.

Stay safe while at home and out by following these simple top tips:

Hand Washing

Wash you hands regularly with hot soapy water especially:

  • Before starting handling food
  • Between handling raw and cooked food
  • After visiting the toilet
  • After handling the rubbish bin
  • After handling pets
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose

Temperature Control

Keep cold food below 5ºC, as bacteria grow more slowly below this temperature. If you are cooking food that you intend to keep and serve later or on another day, make sure you place the food in the refrigerator as soon as possible after cooking. This usually means as soon as the food has stopped steaming, cover loosely and place into the fridge.

Do not leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours

When cooking food make sure the food is steaming hot all the way through and when cooking mince or chicken that the juices run clear.

Cross Contamination

Store cooked and raw foods separately so that juices from raw foods do not drop onto cooked foods. If you store them in the same fridge make sure that raw foods are stored below cooked foods. Do not use the same chopping boards and plates to put cooked foods on if you have used them for raw food.

Food Poisoning or Food Complaints

If you feel you have become ill from dining or food purchased within the City, please contact the Environmental Health Team on 1300 635845 so we can investigate.

If you have any of the food left, please keep it and place it in the fridge or freezer until we can collect it from you.

Food Businesses

Where food is handled or prepared for sale, regardless of whether it is done for commercial, charitable or community purposes, the business must be registered with us.


Starting a New Food Business

When building a new food premises or making structural alterations to an existing food business you need to apply to Environmental Health Team to construct / alter a food business by completing an application form.

A building licence may be required from Building Services for any structural work you are planning. You also need to make an application to register the business.

Guidance on the design and construction.

You must comply with the Food Act and the Food Safety Standards Code.

Prior to opening your business you will need to arrange for an inspection of the premises by an Environmental Health Officer. If they are satisfied that the premises complies with the Food Act and the Food Safety Standards Code a certificate of registration will be issued to you allowing you to trade.

Operating a Food Business

You must comply with the Food Act and the Food Safety Standards Code.

Environmental Health Officers will visit your premises regularly to ensure that food is being stored, handled, cooked and served safely. How frequently officers visit will depend on the type of food you are serving, who your customers are and how high your food hygiene practises and records are.

If you are wishing to open an existing fixed food business you are required to complete an application.


Scores on the Doors

The City operates a hygiene recognition scheme and awards businesses that meet and exceed food safety requirements with a star rating system out of five.

Score on the Doors is free and those who agree to participate receive a certificate they can display informing customers how good their food hygiene is.

Businesses who meet the requirements of food safety legislation will receive a certificate with three stars and are categorised as good.

Businesses who exceed legal requirements will be awarded four or five star certificates and are categorised as very good or excellent.

See which of your local businesses have already joined the scheme!

Food Safety Practices

This is concerned with how food is stored, prepared, cooked and served. We will consider factors such as temperature controls and handling practices to prevent cross contamination between raw and cooked foods

Food Premises and Equipment

This is about the current level of compliance of the structure of the premises; including cleaning, layout, condition of the structure, lighting, ventilation and washing facilities.

Management and Records

This is concerned with the management controls and records that are in place to ensure the safety of food and how well these controls are implemented. We will consider the track record of the business as well as the attitude and level of understanding of food handlers.

The assessments are carried out during routine inspections by City Environmental Health Officers. Advice will be given on areas that can be improved to increase star ratings.

Businesses interested in participating will be given the opportunity to sign up for Scores on the Doors at the end of their annual assessment.


I'M ALERT is an interactive, online training programme that provides crucial skills and knowledge required to ensure safe food for your customers.

Staff who prepare food must have knowledge on how to do so safely. This free online training resource helps businesses ensure their staff have the necessary knowledge.

This resource has been developed by qualified and experienced Environmental Health professionals, is equivalent in scope to a two-day consultant-delivered course and complies with obligations set out under the Food Safety Standards for Australia and New Zealand.

Operating a Food Business from Home

The Department of Health advises that only low risk food activities can be carried out from domestic premises.

Low risk food activities – includes the production of:

  • Jams, marmalades;
  • Contain potentially hazardous foods such as cream and custards;
  • Nougats, fudges, meringues, Turkish delights;
  • Food activities such as cake decorating, repacking of bulk packaged low risk confectionery products;
  • Pickled onions;
  • Herb vinegars with a pH of less than 4.5;
  • Chutneys, relishes and sauces that are heat treated by boiling or cooking;
  • Dry Curry powder mixes if ingredients are purchased from an approved food business and the same rule applies for all other spices and spice mixes.

For more information on operating a food business at home check out the Department of Health website.

Before starting your business please contact our Environmental Health Team to discuss your plans on 1300 635845.

If what you are proposing is suitable then you will need to complete a registration form.

Food Trucks, Mobile Food Businesses and Food Stalls

If your business is based outside of Melville but you are intending to operate a mobile food business within the City of Melville, you will need to submit a notification form and send a copy of your certificate of registration from your local government.

If you are thinking of starting up a new business as a mobile trader within Melville you will need to register with us as a mobile or temporary food business.

In addition you will need to submit an application under our local laws for either a stall holders permit, if you will be attending organised events, or a traders permit if trading as a mobile vehicle or from a specific location within the City.

Food Sampling Program

Environmental Health Officers regularly take samples from food outlets within the City of Melville to ensure food safety standards are being maintained

The City of Melville has over 300 cafes, restaurants and take-away premises registered as food service outlets. The City’s Environmental Health Officers conduct routine Health Inspections to observe hygiene, cleanliness and procedure standards. As well as carrying out food safety assessments our officers also conduct food sampling to monitor microbiological and chemical standards. Officers may also take swabs from surfaces in food premises to monitor the effectiveness of cleaning practices.

Ready to Eat Microbiological Sampling Program

This provides an opportunity to identify issues with food safety and hygiene.  Microbiological sampling is conducted to test primarily for pathogens in food which may cause ill health effect for consumers.

Detection of pathogens will result in swift action to prevent the spread of pathogenic illness.

Tests are also completed to identify the standard plate count level (all of the microorganisms on the surface of the food product).  These microorganisms are not pathogenic but their presence in high numbers can suggest issues such as inadequate temperature control or insufficient hand washing. When results are returned with high numbers an officer will provide education and identify procedures that can be improved.

Chemical Food Sampling

The City of Melville Chemical surveys are chosen to identify products which may not comply with the Food Standards Code. Previous surveys include Sulphur dioxide levels in minced beef and sausages, imported goods labeling compliance, Bread - ingredients list accuracy and an undeclared allergen survey.

The City of Melville actively takes part in coordinated sampling programs which are run by a number of different agencies for the Department of Health and the Department of Fisheries and Forestry. These surveys are WA wide and cover a broad range of products. These surveys have included sampling for Trans fatty acids (breads and cakes), chemical residues (fruit and vegetable), fat content in pizzas, Fluoride content (infant milk and WA Water) and compliance of locally produced goods.

Surface Swabbing

Environmental Health Officers may also take swab samples during routine hygiene assessments. Although there are currently no legal total plate count limits for swabbing sampling, the results along with other sampling and inspection observations within a food premises, will give a good indication of food safety standards.

Contact the Environmental Health Team

If you have any questions about anything we do, contact us!

Phone: 1300 635 845