Fun happens where children gather

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Childcare centres and the food code Childcare centres and the food code

"Only where children gather is there any real chance of fun,""

Mignon McLaughlin
American journalist

Childcare businesses and facilities that provide food as part of their service have a need to meet requirements as set out in the Food Standards Code and Food Act 2003.

Any children's services that prepare and serve meals, snacks (eg cut fruit, cheese and crackers), celebration food like birthday cakes are covered by these standards.

NSW introduced the National Standard 3.3.1 - Food Safety Programs for Vulnerable Persons in 2008 as the Vulnerable Persons Food Safety Scheme and then updated in 2012. However NSW children’s services are exempt from the additional requirements of this Scheme.

You can download a version of this Standard

While the NSW Food Authority does not require NSW childrencare businesses to be licensed with them, they do require that these businesses:

  • • notify your business and food activity details to your local council
  • • meet general food safety requirements
  • • prepare for and be regularly inspected by your local council

The construction and layout of any food handling areas must be designed to minimise the opportunity for food contamination.

As such, childcare services need to ensure that their food premises, fixtures, fittings, and equipment are designed and constructed so they can be easily cleaned and, where necessary, sanitised.

Typically, operators of children's services need to ensure:

  • • adequate hand washing facilities are available - check with local council on what is considered adequate
  • • food is kept protected from pests and vermin at all stages, including storage of ingredients
  • • premises are designed to exclude pests where practical
  • • adequate refrigeration capacity is essential - overloading domestic refrigerators and constantly opening the door means food takes longer to cool and harmful micro-organisms have more chance to grow.
  • Requirements are set out in the Food Standards Code, Chapter 3, Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment.

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