Under the Food Act, councils are required to report data on food safety regulatory activities to the department. In turn, the department is required to report publicly on regulatory activities under the Food Act by councils and the department in Victoria.
The purpose is to help improve food safety understanding across the state. For example, having a statewide picture of administration of the Food Act will enable policymakers and regulators, including councils, to better target their regulatory efforts to businesses with the highest food safety risk.
Over time, reports available from the system should encourage consistent application of the Food Act by councils across the state. Businesses, especially those operating in multiple local government areas, will benefit from this.
The reporting system features:
- quarterly reporting by councils using standard data definitions
- local area information to allow councils to focus their prevention and enforcement efforts in areas where improvements are most needed, such as food businesses that may not be complying with the law and pose the most risk to public health
- potential to identify emerging trends and influence statewide policy and enforcement approaches, to enable appropriate action on common problems across councils, through initiatives such as educational campaigns targeted towards specific business types
- capacity for councils to benchmark their food regulatory activities against similar councils and state trends and averages, with the sharing of information across councils that will encourage ongoing improvement.
The department has published annual reports for 2010, 2011–12 and 2013 on statewide food regulation.