This audit found that agricultural food safety in Victoria - encompassing farming, transporting, handling and processing raw agricultural products - is being effectively managed.
This is supported by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV) and PrimeSafe actively monitoring and enforcing compliance with regulations and food safety standards, and by the Department of Health (DOH) as the lead agency across the whole food safety system.
As with any aspect of public sector activity, there are areas for improvement. DPI, DFSV and PrimeSafe do not have clear performance measures or benchmarks defining what they expect effective performance to achieve. This limits their ability to attribute their regulatory work to positive food safety outcomes in Victoria. There are also opportunities for DPI to strengthen its risk-based approach to compliance monitoring and for DOH to improve its planning for incident response.
The agencies are members of the Committee of Food Regulators, which provides an effective coordinating role for the food safety system. However, the system’s effectiveness in driving improved food safety outcomes is weakened by a narrowly focused draft strategic plan, unclear accountability for achieving the plan, and an absence of information about the performance of the food safety system.