Incident response

Page last updated: 21 November 2016

Who to contact when there is a problem

To assist consumers and industry on who to contact about a food complaint, ISFR has established the Home Jurisdiction Rule. The home jurisdiction is the state or territory in which a food business is based or, in the case of a national chain, where the home company’s head office is located. The home jurisdiction is responsible for investigating potential breaches of food legislation including complaints. They then undertake any necessary compliance or enforcement action in relation to the problem.

Find jurisdiction contact details here:

Within Australia, when a food safety issue is identified, food businesses must be able to quickly remove unsafe food from the marketplace to protect the health and safety of consumers. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) helps food businesses to recall unsafe food in Australia by communicating recall information to the state and territory government agencies and industry groups. Food businesses are responsible for ensuring that the public is notified of a recall. If you are a food business looking to undertake a food recall in Australia contact the FSANZ Recall Coordinator on 02 6271 2610 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or 0412 166 965 (after hours).

In New Zealand, food recalls are coordinated by the Ministry for Primary Industries on 0800 00 83 33 or email.

The Australian State and Territory and New Zealand government agencies are responsible for managing any incidents that relate to food safety. A food incident can be identified through food recalls, investigation across multiple jurisdictions and intelligence from industry, local/state government or international counterparts. When a food incident occurs action is coordinated through the bi-national Food Safety Network which is made up of the Australian state and territory and New Zealand food enforcement agencies and FSANZ.
Please click here for whom to contact in an emergency and more information.

Each jurisdiction undertakes its own surveillance, monitoring and management of potential foodborne disease outbreaks. If there is an outbreak across multiple jurisdictions, a collective response is coordinated. Our bi-national system provides a rigorous framework for all ISFR members to routinely share, and assess information and determine appropriate actions when food incidents occur.

National Food Incident Response Protocol (Word 99 KB)
National Food Incident Response Protocol (PDF 775 KB)

Our system enables early engagement and intervention, as appropriate and can activate the National Food Incident Response Protocol (NFIRP). When a national or bi-national food incident is determined, any food regulatory agency with legislative responsibility for food safety can activate the NFIRP. In New Zealand equivalent response arrangements apply.

FSANZ makes sure agencies are prepared for emergencies, and coordinates the jurisdictions response to national or bi-national food safety incidents. The NFIRP was established by the then Ministerial Council (now known as the Forum) in 2007 to provide clear guidance to Australian food agencies responding to food incidents to ensure a timely, appropriate and coordinated emergency response.

The NFIRP provides guidance on how to respond to national food incidents linked to microbiological, chemical, radiological, physical or unknown hazards. It has documented a stepped response to managing food incidents that provides a logical approach for the smooth escalation and de-escalation of emergency measures and agency involvement as appropriate. The NFIRP does not override or replace the existing response protocols of individual agencies or jurisdictions. During a bi-national incident, Australia’s response will be coordinated by the NFIRP.

Investigations into outbreaks of foodborne illness are coordinated by our public health and food regulatory authorities, along with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and associated sub-committees such as the Communicable Disease Network Australia (CDNA). The NFIRP will assist these food regulatory agencies in their response to incidents where there is a potential or confirmed link to food.

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