Latest News

20 February 2018

PrimeSafe eNews 3 now available

Read the latest PrimeSafe eNews 3 - February 2018. This edition features articles on allergens and meat and seafood transportation (Meat Transport Vehicles – MTVs).

19 February 2018

PrimeSafe Board Member Vacancies

Suitable candidates are invited to apply for the PrimeSafe Board for appointment from 1 July 2018.

The Selection Committee is seeking well qualified candidates with:

  • Previous board or director experience
  • Experience in regulatory environments and innovative small business
  • Expertise in one or more of the following:
    • Livestock, poultry or seafood production and processing
    • Quality assurance and management
    • Business management, finance and accounting, industrial relations
    • Meat processing for human or other than human consumption
    • Retailing or consumer matters
    • Public health.

Further background information on these appointments, the application process and relevant documentation can be found on the Get on Board website or alternatively please contact the consultants assisting in this process, Kathryn Harper and Robin Billen at Horton International on 03 9650 2555 or

The closing date is 9.00am, 26 February 2018.

23 November 2017

PrimeSafe eNews 2 now available

Click here to read PrimeSafe eNews 2 - November 2017. With the festive season approaching, this edition of PrimeSafe eNews provides guidance on keeping food safe by ensuring temperature control.

16 August 2017

Launch of PrimeSafe eNews

PrimeSafe eNews Banner

Click here to view PrimeSafe's first edition of the eNews for the latest information from PrimeSafe.

To subscribe to future email updates, click here to complete the PrimeSafe eNews sign-up form.

26 April 2017

Support for businesses is a top priority for PrimeSafe
To provide more support for businesses, accommodate structural change within the industries it regulates, and deliver on expectations from Government and licensees, some PrimeSafe licence categories and fees will change from July 1.
A review of licence categories and fees identified that some categories were no longer relevant, the scale of businesses had diverged, and categories and fees had not changed for over a decade. The full licence fee schedules are available below.
The industry is experiencing a consolidation of larger business with increasing complexity. However, the level of food safety risk is not related to the size of a business and there is a dramatic increase in the number of new small businesses that need information about compliance as they establish and innovate. 
The changes will affect the following licence categories:
• Abattoirs;
• Facilities supervised by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources;
• Poultry processing facilities;
• Further meat processing facilities;
• Retail butcher shops; and
• Meat Transport Vehicles.
All revenue to PrimeSafe for regulating Victoria’s meat, seafood and pet food industries comes from licence fees.  PrimeSafe receives no funding from Government. Where fees have increased, they are now closer to the costs of regulating that business. PrimeSafe has consulted with industry and licensees and worked hard to ensure fee changes recognise the different needs of different sized businesses, and support new and smaller operations, especially those investing in higher risk products.
The review of licence and fee changes was instigated in February 2016 when PrimeSafe prepared a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) to fulfil legislative requirements and address the Victorian Government’s Statement of Expectations based on the 2015 Myers Review of the organisation’s performance. The public was invited to comment on the RIS, and the Victorian Government has approved the processes used for PrimeSafe to implement the licence fee increases proposed in the RIS.
The changes will ensure PrimeSafe can meet its regulatory obligations and maintain public confidence in the safety of meat, seafood and poultry in Victoria.  They will also improve equity between licensees through better alignment of regulatory costs and fees paid, as well as support affordability in particular for smaller businesses.
The changes are particularly relevant for Meat Transport Vehicle licences that now have three categories to reflect different sizes of vehicles.  Licence fees are $131 for a commercial van, $199 for a truck or trailer under 4.5 GVM, and $252 for a truck or trailer over 4.5 GVM. The changes impact larger vehicles most significantly. While still less than fees in other states, the fees are now closer to the actual cost of regulating each vehicle, and the level of risk associated with the volume and type of product carried, whilst allowing for the needs of small businesses operating small vehicles. The fees together with a detailed letter to MTV licensees will be forwarded in early May 2017.
Licence categories for processing facilities will also receive formal notification in May 2017, have been rationalised as some were no longer being used, and some will experience a fee increase.
In particular, businesses that manufacture higher risk smallgoods that require increased compliance and information services will have a fee increase, although the majority of that will be delayed for 12 months.
All licence fees for butchers will increase from $273 to $326 with their renewal from 1 November 2017. Those producing smallgoods will increase to $676 from 1 January 2019. 
There are about 200 retail smallgoods manufacturers that will be impacted across Victoria, representing up to 10% of facilities and less than 3% of all 7300 licensees. It costs PrimeSafe over $1,000 per year to support and regulate each of these businesses. These businesses have the largest support and compliance requirements of the sector and generates 40% of all enquires, 32% of consumer complaints, 44% of Listeria notifications from the Department of Health and Human Services and 64% of compliance and enforcement activities.
PrimeSafe recognises this is a significant increase for these licensees. But with increasing demand for information and compliance for this sector, the increased fee in 18 months is considered appropriate to balance the needs of these businesses within PrimeSafe’s full cost recovery and user pays obligations.
PrimeSafe sought direct industry input into this decision, and its implementation over two years was recommended by industry.
Over the past 18 months PrimeSafe has refocused, with the Myer’s Review recommendations and the Minister of Agriculture’s Statement of Expectations now implemented.
Licensees have been engaged throughout these changes, and all were independently surveyed to determine their information and support needs.
While the majority of respondents viewed PrimeSafe’s communication as appropriate and professional, as well as of value to their businesses, survey results show that licensees would like more frequent and easily understood information from PrimeSafe. The importance respondents placed on convenience and efficiency corresponded with a preference for email communication.
Likewise, the majority of licensees expressed confidence in their knowledge of licensing, audit, and compliance and enforcement by PrimeSafe, but many new entrants to the industry seek additional information and support, with only around 30% of all respondents regularly using professional food safety consultants.
PrimeSafe has introduced an additional information and support function and licensees are encouraged to visit the website and review the services and information available.  Of those who have accessed the new information and support service, two-thirds report it as being of value to their business. Other changes include the reduced audit program, with interested licensees able to apply to PrimeSafe.
PrimeSafe is currently reviewing existing guidance material in light of survey respondents asking for more information on other issues such as allergens and ready-to-eat products. These new guides will be tested in upcoming forums conducted in Melbourne and across regional Victoria.
Prospective and current licensees with specific enquires are encouraged to contact PrimeSafe on telephone: (03) 9685 7333 or

6 September 2016

Transition to New Country of Origin Labelling Requirements

The Australian Government has introduced a new country of origin food labelling system.

Implementation of the new system commenced on 1 July 2016. Under the new system, country of origin food labelling requirements will come under Australian consumer law.

The reform will transfer country of origin food labelling obligations to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 will regulate the type and amount of information that businesses will have to provide to consumers about the food they buy.

Businesses will have two years to sell current stock and change their labels to comply with the new law before it becomes mandatory on 1 July 2018.

During the two year transition period, industry may choose to voluntarily adopt the new system or continue to comply with the current requirements.
The Foods Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) website outlines the current country of origin requirements in the Foods Standards Code.

With the introduction of the new system, FSANZ has initiated Proposal P1041 that the Foods Standards Code be amended to remove country of origin labelling requirements at the end of the two year transition period.

The ACCC has information on compliance and enforcement during the transition period.

Information regarding the new labels is available on the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science website (click here).

General information about the new country of origin labelling requirements is available from the ACCC website (click here).

24 August 2016

Electronic identification for sheep and goats

PrimeSafe welcomes the decision by the Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford to implement individual livestock electronic identification for the Victorian sheep and goat meat industries.

PrimeSafe will work with sheep and goat meat processors and Agriculture Victoria to transition to the new electronic identification system that will enhance traceability through the value chain, making it substantially more effective and efficient to manage biosecurity and food safety.

More information about Victoria’s new electronic sheep and goat electronic identification system is available from Agriculture Victoria.