About Us

Who is Safe Food?

Safe Food regulates the primary production and processing of meat, eggs, dairy, seafood and horticulture (seed sprouts) in Queensland, Australia.

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.

See how we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary.

Find out more about regulation in Queensland.

Our funding

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

At Safe Food Production Queensland, we:
  • 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:

The Safe Food Production Queensland Board

The Board provides strategic leadership and direction to enable the response to food safety issues to be prioritised and for the development and implementation of food safety initiatives.

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

    Mrs Best currently serves as Chair of the Queensland Heritage Council, Chair of the Audit Committee of the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, a member of the Audit and Risk Committee for the Electoral Commission of Queensland and a member of the State Award Committee for the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme.

    Mrs Best has more than 36 years of executive leadership experience in Queensland in areas ranging from education, indigenous policy and programs, multicultural affairs, environmental management, community engagement and natural resource management.
    She has previously held positions of Director-General, Deputy Director-General, Assistant Director-General, Regional Director, and secondary principal. She is also a former Board member and Trustee of QSuper.

  • 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.

  • Sophie Dwyer, Director

    Ms Dwyer is the Executive Director of the Health Protection Branch in Queensland Health. The Branch is responsible for health risk assessment and regulation in environmental health (including food safety, poisons, radiation safety and water and general risks to public health). Her career has covered a wide range of public health responsibilities, including the management of local public health units and Queensland Health’s health promotion programs and was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2008. She has a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons), a Bachelor of Social Work, a Graduate Diploma in Management and a Masters of Public Health.

  • 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.