Food regulation and safety

​​​​​The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources​ Food Regulation Policy Section works with industry and other Australian government agencies - particularly the Department of Health and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to ensure Australia's food regulations protect public health and safety.

The department contri​butes to policies designed to:

  • minimise regulatory costs to industry
  • encourage innovation, and
  • align domestic and international food standards.

The department encourages industry and the community to participate in developing food regulatory policy and food standards.

FSANZ maintains a listing of Applications and Proposals to amend the code for which public comment is sought.

Who is responsible for food safety in Australia?

Australia has comprehensive controls in place that protect Australians from exposure to unsafe food.

These controls include the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, which is enforced by state and territory governments and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources for imported food.

There are three levels of government in the food regulatory system and each level of government plays a role in protecting public health and safety through regulating food (including imported food) for human consumption.

[expand all]

The Commonwealth Government

Through the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation, the Commonwealth Government works collaboratively with the New Zealand government and state and territory governments to develop food regulation policy.

The Department of Health sets policy on food in consultation with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and Australian state and territory governments.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) develops food standards in line with this policy, which are then published in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources administers relevant legislation at the border. All imported food must meet Australia's biosecurity requirements (under the Biosecurity Act 2015​) and is then subject to the requirements of the Imported Food Control Act 1992. Labelling on imported food is assessed for compliance with the requirements under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.

State and territory governments

The state and territory governments develop and administer food legislation, which gives legal force to the requirements of the Food Standards Code. Regulation of food production at the farm level is typically covered by primary production legislation. State or territory food acts usually cover food processing requirements through to retail sale requirements.

Local government

Along with the state and territory governments, local governments are responsible for monitoring the compliance of food in their jurisdiction.