Who is Safe Food?
Our role is to ensure that:
- Queensland’s food production systems meet national food safety standards
- Businesses along the food supply chain know and understand their responsibilities
- Potential threats to the integrity of food supply are identified and dealt with decisively
- Consumers maintain their confidence in the food produced in Queensland
We have been operating in the challenging environment of managing food safety risk since 2000. Collectively, we have hundreds of years of experience in dealing first hand with the business of food, the people, the processes and products and how these elements fit together to make food safe.
Safe Food funding comes from two sources: a shared funding agreement with the Queensland Government and charges for accreditations and other services.
What we do
- Regulate, under food safety schemes, the production of primary produce to ensure primary produce is safe for human and animal consumption
- Advise, or make recommendations to, the Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries about food safety matters relating to the production of primary produce and the development or implementation of food safety schemes
- Monitor the hygiene and operating procedures of premises, vehicles, plant and equipment used for the production of primary produce
- Encourage businesses engaged in the production of primary produce to:
- minimise food safety risks by developing and maintaining food safety programs
- develop and adopt quality assurance measures for primary produce
- approve or audit quality assurance measures
- Approve food safety programs
- Grant accreditations
- Approve and train individuals to carry out audits to monitor compliance with food safety schemes
- Review audits
- Commission research relating to food safety matters for primary produce
Safe Food has a range of powers under the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000 that include:
- developing food safety arrangements
- accrediting primary production and processing businesses
- establishing auditing systems
- registering approved auditors
- conducting investigations into food safety offences
More information about Safe Food is available:
Work for us
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Safe Food's Board
It ensures the effectiveness of planning processes and governance practices and the integrity of reporting systems. It is also responsible for ensuring the organisation operates according to sound financial management strategies and practices.
The Board maintains an overview of the administration and policies of the organisation but it has no direct management responsibility nor does it play a regulatory role.
The Board has a specific role to:
- decide the strategies and operational, administrative and financial policies to be followed by Safe Food Production Queensland
- receive advice or recommendations from Food Safety Advisory Committee and make recommendations to the Minister about the level and structure of fees proposed to be included in a food safety scheme
- ensure Safe Food Production Queensland performs its functions in a proper effective and efficient way
- review annually the performance of Safe Food Production Queensland’s Chief Executive Officer
Debra-Lee Best, Chairperson
Debra-Lee (Debbie) Best was appointed as Chair in 2019. Debbie has more than 36 years of executive leadership experience in the Queensland State Government in areas ranging from education, indigenous policy and programs, multicultural affairs, environmental management, community engagement and natural resource management.
Debbie currently serves as Chair of the Queensland Heritage Council, the Audit and Risk Committee for the Department of Resources, and the Electoral Commission of Queensland. Debbie is an independent member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee for the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water.
Debbie is a member of the State Awards Committee for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award and has previously held positions as Director-General, Deputy Director-General, Assistant Director-General, Regional Director and secondary Principal. She is also a former Board member and Trustee of QSuper and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Lynne Sutherland, Director
Ms Sutherland is a senior executive who works with major auto manufacturers, banks, universities, travel companies and insurance companies in Australia to negotiate and provide assistance services for their customers in their times of need. She has extensive experience in leading large financial services teams, including store networks, financial planning, business banking, agribusiness banking, migrant banking and business partners across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
Lynne joined the Board of Safe Food in July 2019 as a Non-Executive Director. She has previous directorships and board governance experience with Suncorp and ANZ NZ subsidiary Boards. She has completed the AICD’s Company Directors Course, holds a Bachelor of Horticulture Science, a Graduate Diploma in Management and has completed the INSEAD Advanced Management Program.
Elizabeth Homer, Director
Mrs Homer has a strong background in primary production and manages the operations of a grazing property in Central Queensland. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Science in Medical Microbiology from the University of Queensland. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has been named in the Top 100 Women in Agribusiness.
John Piispanen, Director
John Piispanen is currently the acting Executive Director of the Health Protection Branch of Queensland Health. For the 10 years previous, he was the Director of the Metro North Public Health Unit and has worked with Queensland Health for over 36 years. Prior to this, John spent much of his time working in far North Queensland as the Director of Environmental Health.
John is a qualified environmental health officer and has a Master of Public Health from James Cook University where he was awarded the Sidney Sax Medal for outstanding academic achievement. He has an Adjunct Appointment as Associate Professor with the University of Queensland.
John’s interests in public health include, food safety and standards, health risk assessment, regulatory interventions and also disaster and emergency response. He is a member of the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AusMat) and has also had the opportunity to undertake numerous international deployments including his contribution to the Ebola response in West Africa and COVID-19 response in Papua New Guinea.
Bernadette Ditchfield, Director
As Deputy-Director General of Agriculture in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Bernadette Ditchfield is responsible for leading the development of policies, research and initiatives that lift the productivity of Queensland’s food and fibre businesses. Bernadette has an extensive background in policy development and service delivery, coupled with a strong industry development focus. Bernadette has over 20 years’ experience in both the private and public sectors, holding senior roles in the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Queensland Treasury and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.