Compliance Mechanisms and Penalties:
The department is responsible for regulation of provisions of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) in relation to the composition, labelling, packaging and advertising of food.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is an independent statutory agency which is part of the Australian Governments Health and Ageing portfolio, responsible for developing standards for inclusion or amendment to the code. The code is the official legal document that is given legal force (in full or in part) via State/Territory, Commonwealth and New Zealand food legislation.
The department and local governments have a role to play in investigating alleged foodborne illness outbreaks and complaints relating to foreign matter in food. Non-compliance with the Act carries significant penalties of up to $110,000 and two years imprisonment.
Local governments have responsibilities for enforcement of the food safety standards and can issue improvement notices to food businesses found not complying. Failure to comply with an improvement notice is an offence and can result in the food business being prosecuted.
Authorised persons (department and local government officers) have powers to enter, inspect, investigate, serve notices, open products, take and remove samples, seize and detain evidence. Provisions exist for officers to mark, fasten, seal and secure food to remove it from circulation while an investigation occurs and to direct removal or ensure the recall of products where a health risk exists.
Local governments can suspend or cancel food business licences or apply for an injunction which may involve a food business having to cease operation.
The department and local governments can issue infringement notices, also known as 'on-the-spot' fines, for certain offences under the Food Act 2006. Offences may be prosecuted in the magistrates court.
Biosecurity Queensland is responsible for Queensland's primary industries, which includes animal and plant biosecurity.
Safe Food Production Queensland (SFPQ) is a statutory authority that is responsible for the regulation of the production and processing of primary produce where a food safety scheme applies, under the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000. Currently, there are food safety schemes for:
- egg and egg products
- dairy produce
- meat and particular meat products
Review or Appeal Mechanisms:
The Act provides for the review and appeal of decisions made in the administration and enforcement of the Act. For details regarding appeals and reviews of decisions, see Chapter 9 of the Act.