Risk classification in food businesses

Registered food businesses in the Northern Territory (NT) are classified into three risk categories – low, medium or high. 

The classification depends on the food safety risks that exist in your food business. 

The fee to register your food business depends on how your business is classified. 

How your business is classified

An Environmental Health Officer will classify your business after an assessment of the risk factors.

These include all of the following:

  • food type and intended customer use
  • activity of the business
  • method of processing
  • customer base. 

Risks from certain foods

The type of food provided by your food business affects the risk classification.

Some foods are more likely to become contaminated than others.

If your business handles unpackaged food, the risk of contamination is increased.

If your business provides pre-packaged food, the risk of contamination is reduced. 

Risks during food preparation

The number of staff potentially exposed to a food hazard helps determine the risk to your food business.

Food contamination with bacteria is more likely if:

  • food is extensively handled during preparation
  • or the number of staff required for production is high.

Risks from pathogens

You can reduce your risk score if you take steps to reduce pathogens during processing.

Processing steps that can reduce pathogens include:

  • cooking
  • or pasteurisation.

Risks to certain customers

Your business is at higher risk if you cater directly to customers who are more likely to become ill from food contaminated by bacteria, including:

  • children under the age of five
  • elderly people
  • pregnant women
  • people with compromised immune systems.

Last updated: 13 October 2017