City of Wodonga


Frequently asked questions

What is an environmental health officer’s role and responsibilities?

The role of an environmental health officer (EHO) is to provide a professional service that will maximise environmental and public health within a community environment by identifying, preventing and remedying health and environmental related hazards and risks. Their environmental health team also provides immunisation services by qualified nurses and doctors.

They process applications and conduct routine assessments, education and complaint investigation in the following areas:

  • Food safety;
  • Wastewater management systems;
  • Prescribed accommodation;
  • Swimming pools;
  • Waste transporters; and
  • Water (drinking) carriers.

They can conduct complaint investigation for the following issues:

  • Air pollution;
  • Asbestos;
  • Land pollution;
  • Mosquitoes;
  • Noise pollution;
  • Vermin; and
  • Water pollution.

EHOs are authorised officers and have many powers under various state and local laws. These powers are relevant to the investigation/legislation and may allow an officer to:

  • Enter any premises or other place, make an inspection and take samples;
  • Stop, detain and search any vehicle;
  • Require a person to produce any licence, registration, permit, approval, certificate or other documentation;
  • Require a person to state their full name and address and ask for verification;
  • Question any person and require answers;
  • Seize and detain any articles or equipment;
  • Open containers and packages;
  • Take photographs, video, other images and audio; and
  • Request assistance from a competent person.

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What is a food safety supervisor and does my food premise need one?

The Food Act 1984 requires Class 1 and 2 food businesses to provide us with written details of the name and qualification(s) or experience of the food safety supervisor. This information must be provided when first registering, renewing or transferring the registration of a food business.

A food safety supervisor is a person who:

  • Has a certificate or statement of attainment from a registered training authority;
  • Supervises food handling on the premises; and
  • Is able to give directions to ensure safe food handling.

More information about the basic requirements of food handlers and the role of the food safety supervisor is available at

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What food businesses need to be third party audited and what food businesses do not?

Food safety audits of Class 1 and Class 2 premises that have independent food safety programs (FSPs) are a fundamental part of Victoria’s food safety system.

The audit process requires a Department of Health-approved auditor to determine whether the food safety program:

  • Is adequate - that is, does it address the hazards associated with the premises' food handing operations; and
  • Whether the food premises is complying with the program.

Food safety auditors are certified under the Food Act 1984 to ensure they are working in a consistent and reliable manner, thereby safeguarding Victoria’s reputation for safe food.

Audits must be conducted at declared intervals by a Department of Health-approved food safety auditor who is certified as competent to conduct audits.

No audit is required for Class 3 and Class 4 businesses.

This information is provided by the Department of Health.

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What are food safety program templates?

A food safety program (FSP) is simply a written plan that shows what a business does to ensure that the food it sells is safe for human consumption. It is an important tool for helping businesses that handle, process or sell potentially hazardous foods to maintain safe food handling practices and protect public health. These can be found on the Department of Health website.

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If I sell food in a mainly non-food business, do I need food business registration?

If the food is low-risk pre-packaged food, an annual registration is not required, however, you will still need to notify us of your operations. Please complete a notification of a food premises form. This is only applicable for Class 4 food premises.

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Can dogs (or other animals) be taken to food premises?

Yes, due to a change of the law in 2012. The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) found that pet pooches in outdoor settings posed a “low to negligible” risk, with a federal law passed to allow the practice. The laws previously didn’t permit animals, other than assistance pets, in areas where food is handled. Dogs are now allowed in an outdoor dining area that can be entered by the public without passing through an enclosed area. They must be able to enter through a side entrance and not pass through enclosed dining of food preparation areas.

Individual businesses are still entitled to ban dogs from courtyards if they so wish, but it will be their responsibility to enforce the ban and not ours. Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, owners must maintain effective control of their animals at all times. Under our local law, owners must also clean up after their animals.

Assistance animals are allowed only in the customer areas, not in any food preparation or storage areas. Seats and tables set-up on footpaths for customer dining are council land and not part of the food premises. Therefore, there are no Food Act restrictions in relation to the presence of dogs in these areas.

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Who do I contact to make a food or food premises complaint?

Please lodge a request with our community focus team on (02) 6022 9300. An environmental health officer will then investigate.

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What do I need to do to start up a food business?

See 'New food premises' page.

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What do I do if I want to buy an existing food business?

See 'Buying an existing food premises' page.

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Last updated: 02-12-2012

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