Schedule to the Memorandum of Understanding
- Dairy Food Safety Victoria
- Department of Health
- Municipal Association of Victoria
This Schedule may be varied or updated at any time with the agreement of all parties.
Licensing and registration
Dairy Food Safety Victoria (under the provisions of the Dairy Act 2000) is responsible for licensing and supervision of:
- Dairy farms
- Dairy distributors
- Bulk milk transport vehicles
- Dairy manufacturers
- Dairy processors
PrimeSafe (under the provisions of the Meat Industry Act 1993 and the Seafood Act 2003) is responsible for licensing and supervision of:
- Retail butcher shops,
- Retail fresh poultry shops,
- Smallgoods manufacturers,
- Boning rooms,
- Poultry processors (incl. abattoirs),
- Meat processors (red meat),
- Game meat processors,
- Meat wholesalers,
- Meat transport vehicles.
- Retail fresh seafood shops (where the main activity
is selling uncooked fish),
- Retail seafood vans (mobile facilities where the main
activity is selling uncooked fish),
- Retail seafood boats,
- Seafood processors,
- Seafood wholesalers,
- Wild catch (harvesters)
- Live seafood storage facilities (where the seafood is
intended for sale for human consumption),
- Retail shops selling fresh pet food,
- Pet food manufacturers making pet meat products,
- Meat rendering facilities (edible/inedible),
Local Government (Councils) is responsible for the registration and supervision of all other food businesses, including supermarkets (under the provisions of the Food Act 1984). Local Government is represented by the Municipal Association of Victoria in this Memorandum of Understanding.
Government policy is that a food business activity at a site may only be licensed or registered by one food regulator. Where a food business undertakes a range of activities that could potentially be licensed by a Council or PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria the licensing body is determined by the applicable legislation, based on the activities conducted on site. This applies to food manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Where it is difficult to determine the principal activity the licensing responsibility in each instance shall be determined by negotiation between the food regulators.
The food regulator that licenses or registers a mixed business premises shall be responsible for managing compliance with food legislation for the entire premises.
PrimeSafe is responsible for licensing all meat, poultry and seafood wholesaling activities. Where a business wholesales meat, poultry or seafood in addition to other activities PrimeSafe is the responsible licensing authority. In these cases PrimeSafe will supervise both the wholesale and retail operations of the business under a single licence. PrimeSafe will apply Standards consistent with the requirements of the Food Act to the retail operations of the business.
Note: Meat, poultry and seafood wholesaling includes premises that sell food by methods other than over the counter to other food businesses. Accordingly any direct sale of meat or seafood to restaurants, hotels, etc. is considered to be wholesaling.
PrimeSafe will negotiate with Councils who the responsible licensing authority will be where:
- A wholesale distributor distributes meat and/or seafood products as part of its total product range.
Dairy Food Safety Victoria will negotiate with Councils about who the responsible licensing authority will be in the case of mixed businesses, such as:
- the manufacturing or packing of lower risk dairy foods where this is a minor
part of the activities on site;
- a wholesale distributor distributing dairy products as part of its total product
Appendix A outlines whether the regulator is Dairy Food Safety Victoria or Council in the case of businesses manufacturing and selling ice-cream and/or frozen yoghurt.
Application and interpretation of standards and the food act
The principal food regulator is responsible for the interpretation of the Food Standards Code and any other relevant regulatory Code of Practice in premises it licenses or registers.
Where PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria issue an interpretation of Standards that apply to meat, poultry, seafood, or dairy products, that affects premises registered under the Food Act, the Department of Health will communicate that interpretation to Councils. PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safety Victoria will inform the Department of Health when they issue interpretations.
For Standards that are not the responsibility of PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria, the Department of Health will interpret Standards on issues of statewide or national significance as necessary. Where an interpretation is considered significant the Department should notify all Councils of the interpretation and publish it on the Department's food safety website.
Councils will interpret the Standards for issues of local significance, whilst taking into account any guidance provided by the Department of Health under the Act.
Once an interpretation has been given by a principal state regulator, all food regulators who supervise the Act, regulation or standard in question should apply the interpretation.
All parties recognise that each Standard must be applied in accordance with its own wording. However, each Standard also forms part the Food Standards Code. The parties will therefore endeavour to interpret and apply the Code in a consistent manner, where possible.
If there is a disagreement about the interpretation of a standard, the relevant parties will endeavour to resolve this disagreement by undertaking analysis, and obtaining appropriate advice.
In preparing guidance advice to councils about the Food Act, the Department of Health will have regard to any relevant information provided by councils about their experience in administering the Act.
Councils will take into account guidance provided by the Department of Health about the interpretation of the Food Act, and endeavour to carry out their role under the Act of ensuring, to the extent appropriate, that the administration of that Act by the council is consistent with the administration of this Act throughout Victoria.
Food-borne illness and complaint investigations
The Department of Health will coordinate investigations of outbreaks of suspected food-borne illness and provide Councils with clear directions and support. In the case of individual reports of illness it is the responsibility of the Councils to undertake investigations, in consultation with the Department
of Health as required. The Department's guidelines for the investigation of gastroenteritis outline the roles and responsibilities of the Department and Councils in
the investigation of infectious diseases causing gastroenteritis.
Where, during the course of any council investigation, a Council officer observes poor practices or a breach of the Food Standards Code in a Dairy Food Safety Victoria or PrimeSafe licensed business the Council should notify their observations to Dairy Food Safety Victoria or PrimeSafe. It is then the responsibility of Dairy Food Safety Victoria or PrimeSafe to follow up the observations and decide whether any corrective actions are required.
Where the Department of Health has determined, in the course of an investigation, that corrective actions are necessary at a Dairy Food Safety Victoria or PrimeSafe licensed business to prevent transmission of food-borne illness, the Department should advise Dairy Food Safety Victoria or PrimeSafe. This will take into account any protocols between the parties. It is the responsibility of Dairy Food Safety Victoria or PrimeSafe to ensure that the corrective actions identified by the Department of Health have been implemented or that agreed alternative measure(s) to ensure the safety of the food are implemented.
Where another government authority notifies the Department of Health of a food complaint or a mandatory report alleging illness after consumption a food which has originated from a premises licensed by Primesafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria, the Department will notify Primesafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria as appropriate. The Department will refer consumer complaints directly to Primesafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria as appropriate.
PrimeSafe, Dairy Food Safety Victoria and the Department of Health are mutually responsible for informing each other as soon as possible of any information affecting the safety of meat, poultry, seafood, or dairy products that may potentially cause an outbreak of food-borne illness, or cause injury, or lead to a food recall or other action to protect public health
Where a Council receives a complaint regarding a food produced or supplied by a business licensed by PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria the Council may make an assessment of whether or not it involves a breach of the Standards before forwarding the complaint to PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria, or it may refer the complaint directly to the relevant regulator. PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safety Victoria will investigate all complaints referred by Councils and take any necessary action under the relevant Acts (the Dairy Act, the Meat Industry Act, the Seafood Safety Act or the Food Act).
Where a Council receives a complaint regarding meat, dairy or seafood products that have been on-sold to a business registered by the Council, the Council will advise PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria if a breach is found. It is then the responsibility of Dairy Food Safety Victoria or PrimeSafe to follow up and decide whether any corrective actions are required of the business producing the goods. If the Council detects other food safety concerns at the Council registered premises, the Council will take appropriate action in relation to that premises.
In order to undertake an investigation PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safety Victoria need sufficient information to be supplied by Councils. In matters of potentially serious public health risk, an investigation can commence with limited information. In each case PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safety Victoria will assess the potential public health risk and the information available in deciding their response.
PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safety Victoria will report back to the Council on conclusion of the investigation that:
- the complaint has been investigated and resolved; and
- the complainant has been advised.
Where a Council, PrimeSafe, or Dairy Food Safety Victoria, in the course of their investigation, forms a view that a food recall or other urgent action to protect public health may be required, they should notify the Department of Health immediately and seek advice.
In order to assess risk and consider potential responses, the Department of Health needs sufficient information to be supplied by the Council, PrimeSafe, or Dairy Food Safety Victoria.
Note: It is the responsibility of the Department of Health to decide whether or not a food recall or other urgent action to protect public health is required. However, in making this determination about a Primesafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria licensed premises, the relevant licensor will provide all necessary information to the Department of Health as requested.
Misleading and deceptive conduct investigations
Complaints alleging misleading or deceptive conduct for a product advertised or distributed on a statewide or national basis shall be discussed by Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Department of Health on a case-by-case basis to determine which organisation will undertake the investigation. Where food safety implications arise from misleading or deceptive conduct the Department of Health will generally investigate; however there may be circumstances where local government is best placed to investigate when the conduct is from a Food-Act-registered premises and is contained within a municipal boundary.
Sampling of food
Where the Department of Health has received a notification of a pathogen under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 that relates to a sample of food manufactured or processed at a PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria licensed premises, the Department will provide PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria with the results of the analysis.
Where the outcome of a Council investigation implicates a PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria licensed premises, the Council will forward any unsatisfactory analytical results to PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria.
Where sampling of products originating from a PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria licensed business is contemplated as part of a survey (statewide or national) the Department of Health should, as a courtesy, notify PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria about the proposal.
It may be necessary to take samples from Dairy Food Safety Victoria or PrimeSafe licensed premises as part of an incident response. The Department of Health should inform PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria of the need to take samples and an agreed decision should be reached on whether the sampling should be undertaken by PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria, as the case may be, or by Councils. If the sample is to be taken by PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria, it will have regard to any guidance provided by the Department of Health about the sampling process. Where there is a potential risk to public health (i.e., the product is in the marketplace), the Department of Health should be notified so that a decision regarding the need for recall can be made.
Councils are responsible for the investigation of all nuisance complaints under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008. They also may require action by food businesses to better manage waste under the littering provisions of the Environment Protection Act 1970 or local laws.
When a Council receives a complaint concerning a business licensed by PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria it should be treated in the same way as a nuisance complaint about any other rateable property in the first instance.
If the Council investigation reveals a breach of the Food Standards Code the breach should be referred to PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria for action.
If a nuisance is caused by a process directly related to the food operations of a business (e.g. waste disposal, odour from operations, etc.) that matter should be notified to PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria for appropriate follow up with the business concerned.
Note: PrimeSafe and Dairy Food Safety Victoria are not responsible for noise nuisances.
The Department of Health is the central coordination point with Victoria Police for incidents of deliberate contamination.
Instances or complaints of deliberate contamination should be referred to the Department of Health by all other food regulators in all cases. This includes investigations where it is considered that deliberate contamination is the most likely explanation for the contamination even where no claim or assertion has been made by anyone. As much information as is practical should be gathered and passed on to the Department.
The Department of Health will then immediately refer all such reports to the Victoria Police and will be the liaison point from then on. Victoria Police may need to contact the relevant regulator in the course of its investigation.
Regulator of ice-cream and/or frozen yoghurt manufacture
- Retail only
- Ice-cream and/or frozen yoghurt is retailed by a business; AND
- the proprietor of the business does not manufacture at any location.
- Council registers the retail sites – shops, stalls or vans.
- Manufacture and wholesale (with or without retail)
A business manufactures ice-cream and/or frozen yoghurt for wholesale to other proprietors.
- The manufacturing site is licensed by Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV).
- Any retail from this manufacturing site will also be covered by the DFSV licence.
- Any retail of this ice-cream and/ or frozen yoghurt by the manufacturer from any other sites (such as another shop or van or stall) is not covered by the DFSV licence. These premises are registered separately by council.
- "Smaller scale" manufacture using pasteurised milk with associated retail by
the same business
The only dairy product manufactured by a business at a premises is ice-cream and/or
frozen yoghurt which:
- is manufactured from milk received from a supplier that is already pasteurised;
- is for retail sale by the manufacturer from:
- van(s) or stall(s); and/or
- one permanent site. (This may be the manufacturing site or a separate shop.)
Council registers all sites, including the manufacturing site.Under the recent amendments to the Food Act, a combined registration will be
available for the manufacturing site and any vans or stalls.
- is manufactured from milk received from a supplier that is already pasteurised;
- "Larger scale" manufacture & associated retail, or manufacture involving unpasteurised milk
Ice-cream and/or frozen yoghurt is manufactured at the site by the business, and is
- sold at 2 or more fixed premises. (This might be the manufacturing site and
another shop, or retail at two separate shops); and
- made from milk which is pasteurised by the manufacturer.
- The manufacturing site is licensed by DFSV.
- Any retail from this manufacturing site will also be covered by the DFSV
- Any other retail sites are registered by council.
- sold at 2 or more fixed premises. (This might be the manufacturing site and
In all of these scenarios, non-dairy foods may also be manufactured or sold on site
under the applicable licence/registration.