Health & Safety Food Sampling Obligations Onsite

Health & Safety Food Sampling Obligations

Click here to read the City of Melbourne Temporary Food Premises Guidelines. These guidelines will assist food business and community groups to operate a temporary food premises within the City of Melbourne. It outlines the registration process and the minimum requirements for the setup of your temporary premises

Exhibitor Onsite Obligations

Whilst cooking on site all exhibitors must follow the guidelines stipulated below:

  • All exhibitors and workers must comply with Work Health and Safety legislation and follow safe work practices to ensure the health and safety of all persons
  • The operator is to be present at all times during cooking. Cooking equipment is not to be left unattended when in use
  • Where appropriate domestic appliances to be used for sampling. The only exception, is where exhibitors are showcasing their core commercial equipment product.
  • Cooking that produces high amounts of smoke might require a separate extraction system
  • A powder fire extinguisher ABE type rated 3A-40B minimum 2.5kg, distinguished by a white band around the top of the cylinder and fire blanket, 1.8m x 1.8m must be located at the booth with staff trained in its use. All equipment must be tested and tagged as per AS/NZS 3760 and maintained in good working order.
  • Any naked flame or hot surface must be positioned so that it cannot be knocked over or come into contact with any person or flammable item
  • Signage is to be displayed adjacent to cooking surfaces when in use to notify public of hazards (e.g hot surface)
  • Food preparation tools such as knives, scissors etc. to be kept out of reach of public
  • Equipment to have safety mechanisms in place as appropriate (such as safety switches)
  • Cooking equipment to be maintained in good working order and to be tagged and tested
  • Cooking must take place in a well-ventilated area. If cooking is likely to create large volumes of smoke, further information is to be supplied
  • Spills must be cleaned up immediately. Non slip flooring to be used in cooking areas
  • Sufficient and appropriate waste bins must be provided and emptied regularly
  • All food safety standards must be adhered to at all times including hygiene and sanitation
  • No fats or oils to be poured into the venue’s drainage system. Fats and oils to be disposed of in oil bins located in wash areas
  • All council permits are the responsibility of the exhibitor
  • Equipment must be emptied of fuels and liquids before being moved around the site. It is the responsibility of the stall holder to arrange the removal of used cooking fuels
  • Details of the ingredients in food and beverage products are to be available including the presence of any allergens

Food Safety Obligations

A new standard has been introduced in Australia (Food Standards Code Standard 3.2.2A). Businesses are defined as either a Category 1 or Category 2 business for the purposes of 3.2.2A.

  • Category 1 business – exhibitors that undertake full cooking at their stand that process unpackaged potentially hazardous food into food that is both ready-to-eat and potentially hazardous. The food is then served to a customer to eat without any further processing. These businesses are deemed higher risk and must implement all 3 management tools.
  • A Category 2 business – exhibitors sampling unpackaged foods of potentially hazardous, ready-to-eat food, where the food was handled unpackaged, but not made or processed onsite (other than slicing, weighing, repacking, reheating or hot-holding). These businesses must have a food safety supervisor and food handler training.

The Food Safety Management Tools are:

  • Food handler training

Requires all food handler to complete a food safety training course or have appropriate skills and knowledge before handling high risk food. Please find the Do Food Safely course to broaden food safety knowledge.

  • Food safety supervision

Requires food businesses to appoint a food safety supervisor (FSS) and ensure that the supervisor is reasonably available to advise and supervise. The FSS must have obtained a formal certification within the past 5 years. An FSS who received their certification prior to 8 December 2023 will have a grace period until 8 December 2028 to re-certify. For anyone certifying from 8 December 2023 onwards, their qualification will be valid for five years.

  • Substantiation of critical food safety controls

Requires business to keep records demonstrating that they are meeting the ‘prescribed provisions’ in relation to key food safety controls. The ‘prescribed provisions’ include safely receiving, storing, processing, displaying and transporting potentially hazardous food, and for cleaning and sanitising the premises.

  • Temperature records to be kept daily for chilled / frozen foods
  • Temperature records to be kept daily of cooked foods (demonstrate accurate temperature – above 75C at least 2-3 times per day)
  • Cleaning and Sanitation – ability to ensure area is cleaned regularly with hot soapy water, then rinsed with hot water before applying a food grade bench sanitiser.

Cleaning & Sanitising

You must have food grade surface sanitiser on your stand. We recommend the following products:

Temperature Control

A digital calibrated probe thermometer accurate to +/- 1 ºC to take the temperatures of high risk foods must be readily accessible at your premises. Digital temperature displays on equipment are not considered sufficient.

You will need to wash and sanitise the probe thermometer in between use. Single use alcohol swabs are the usual method which can be purchased from a pharmacy store.

The following product is recommend: Thermometer

Hand Washing Facilities

Food handlers are required to have easily accessible handwashing facilities for handling unpackaged food for the exclusive use of washing hands. Handwashing facilities must be provided even if food handlers are using tongs and gloves. There are several options for handwashing facilities:

Option 1
A sealed container with a tap which can be purchased from hardware or camping stores. 

  • Sealed container with a tap outlet at least 10 to 20 litre capacity
  • Filled with warm potable water
  • Bucket for collection of waste water
  • Liquid soap and single use paper towels

Option 2
A self-contained portable handwashing unit. This can be hired either through F Wood & Son or Caterhire. 

  • Connected to power to heat the potable water
  • Exhibitor to supply liquid soap and single use paper towels

Note: For Option 1 & 2, an exhibitor is required to top up the containers of potable water and empty waste water container throughout the event in the Exhibitor Wash Areas. Also for option 1, the exhibitor must ensure the water in the container is warm so they will need to frequently top up the warm water when it has become cool. It is encourages exhibitors have an urn or kettle on their stand.

Option 3 
A plumbed sink. This can be hired through F Wood & Son.

  • Hot and cold running water through a single outlet
  • Connected to existing plumbing for potable water and for the disposal of waste water
  • Exhibitor to supply liquid soap and single use paper towel
  • Note: If cooking on your stand, you must have a double sink. One for hand washing and one for equipment/utensil washing.

COVID-19: Safe Food Handling

In light of the pandemic and the increased health and safety risks of Covid-19, Additional requirements will be required on your stand.

For all exhibitors who will be sampling prepared food on their stand, it is now mandatory to have:

Exhibitors must have adequate protocols and processes in place to show that they are protecting the food from potential contamination; this includes: 

  • Installing a sneeze guard or using food covers
  • Unpackaged food must be handed out in a manner that avoids direct handling by the public.
    • Designate a staff member to hand out samples directly (tongs, gloves, etc) to the consumer. Do not leave out on the bench free to take.
    • Condiments should be contained in squeeze dispensers or individual packs and must be handed out to the general public
    • Cups and utensils must be disposable /single use.


Please ensure that you have labels stating what allergens may be in the foods you are sampling.

Ensure staff working at your stand understands where to look for the key ingredients and assist any customer who may ask if there are allergens in the food.

Ideally if displaying foods – note the key allergens in the food items.


Further Support

Please contact Mary Whelan, Food Services Advisor on 0408 039 964 or email: [email protected]