Memorandum of Understanding
- Dairy Food Safety Victoria
- Department of Health
- Municipal Association of Victoria
Roles of the Parties to this MoU
For the purposes of this MoU, the roles of the respective parties as they relate to food regulation are as follows:
Department of Health
The Department of Health is responsible for the enforcement and administration of the Food Act 1984 in Victoria directly and through the provision of advice and support to local Government.
Under the Act the role of the Department of Health is to:
- facilitate the exercise of the powers and functions of the Secretary;
- promote the objectives of the Act and the consistent administration of the Act by providing information and guidance to councils, authorised officers and food safety auditors; and
- publish an annual report on food regulation.
Dairy Food Safety Victoria
Dairy Food Safety Victoria is responsible for the maintenance of standards that safeguard public health in the Victorian dairy industry under the provisions of the Dairy Act 2000.
Dairy Food Safety Victoria seeks to constantly improve industry capability and skills through quality assurance.
PrimeSafe is responsible for regulating the safety of meat, poultry and seafood through inspection services under the Meat Industry Act 1993 and the Seafood Safety Act 2003. PrimeSafe is also responsible for the regulatory management of pet meat· and pet food manufactured from meat.
Municipal Association of Victoria
The Municipal Association of Victoria is the peak representative body for Victoria's municipal Councils. Whilst it does not have a statutory enforcement role it works with Government agencies to optimise service delivery by local government. The Municipal Association of Victoria will collaborate with stakeholders within local government as appropriate.
The role of a Council (under the Food Act 1984) is to:
- carry out the powers and functions vested in it under the Act in accordance with the requirements of the Act;
- promote the objectives of the Act;
- cooperate with other Councils and the Department of Health in relation to the administration of the Act; and
- ensure, to the extent appropriate, that the administration of the Act by the Council is consistent with the administration of this Act throughout Victoria by other Councils.
Councils also have obligations to investigate all nuisances as defined under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008. These include investigating nuisances in businesses regulated by other bodies such as PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria.
The MoU sets out the commitment of each of the parties to achieving a cooperative approach to protect public health and apply food regulation in Victoria. The MoU sets out how the parties will support each other to achieve this purpose.
The attached Schedule to the Memorandum of Understanding (the Schedule) sets out the obligations and responsibilities of the respective parties on a range of matters necessary to the effective operation of the MoU.
The Schedule is intended to assist in facilitating:
- a common understanding of the way in which the food safety legislation is to be applied,
- efficient, effective and consistent application of food safety legislation by the parties,
- information sharing between the parties.
The parties to this MoU support the arrangements outlined in the Schedule and seek to ensure that this common approach is applied in all jurisdictions regulating food safety.
To ensure a high level of compliance with food regulation the parties agree to the following principles:
- Support a thorough chain systematic approach to the management of food safety;
- Support addressing misleading or deceptive conduct issues through clear and transparent processes;
- Support regulation that targets outcomes, is proportionate to the risk, and is practical for the food industry to comply with;
- Support reducing administrative duplication between regulatory authorities;
- Acknowledge that different systems may be used, for a variety of reasons, to achieve the same standard of food safety outcome;
- Support consistency in the application of the national Food Standards Code by Victorian food regulators;
- Support sharing of sector knowledge and technical expertise between regulators to improve consistency in risk assessments and risk based approaches;
- Support measures that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the food regulatory system.
Agreement of the Parties
To ensure a high level of food safety regulation compliance the parties will:
- Work together cooperatively to resolve matters of ambiguity or dispute.
- Work together cooperatively to remove regulatory gaps and overlaps.
- Provide technical information to each other to support the management of food regulation.
- Provide information on a reciprocal basis and utilise established networks to disseminate information.
- Advocate and communicate to the respective areas of the food industry the positive contribution made by each party to achieving a high-level food regulation compliance outcome.
If there is a dispute the parties shall meet and work together expeditiously to ensure the issue is resolved and stakeholders are not adversely affected.
Terms of the Memorandum of Understanding
The MoU shall operate for a period of three years from the date of signing of this document.
Variation Terms of the Memorandum of Understanding
The MoU may be amended with the agreement of all parties at any time.
Termination Terms of Memorandum of Understanding
The MoU may be terminated by one or more of the parties for the following reasons:
- One or more of the parties cease to exist;
- The parties agree the MoU is no longer required;
- One or more of the parties giving notice in writing to all other parties of their intention to withdraw.
If one or more of the parties ceases to exist, the intent of the MoU may still be valid for the other parties. In that instance the MoU may be amended to reflect the change in signatories.
The sharing of information between the parties is subject to the provisions of privacy legislation and the principal Acts of the regulators.
No information relating to complainants shall be disclosed to third parties unless this is appropriate, and is authorised by law. Ordinarily the consent of the information provider will be sought. Information relating to complaints may be provided to third parties without consent.