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Dogs in food premises

28 November 2023

With the summer busy trading period ahead, it is important to know where your food business legally stands in relation to customers wanting to bring their favourite pooch into your premises.

What information do food businesses need to know?

The following information is from the National Food Safety Standards and applies to all food businesses:

Which animals are allowed and where?

Assistance animals must be allowed into dining and drinking areas and any other areas used by customers, but they are not allowed in non-public areas, such as the kitchen. An assistance animal is a guide dog or other animal trained to help a person with a disability (defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992).

Pet dogs may be permitted, but only in outdoor dining areas that are not enclosed. If you enclose an outdoor open dining area, even for a short time (for example if in winter you use café blinds and a retractable awning), then dogs are not allowed in it while it is enclosed.

Do I have to allow pet dogs?

It is up to you as the business owner to decide whether or not you let customers have their dogs in outdoor dining areas. You can also say under what circumstances the dogs are allowed. For example, you could tell customers their dogs must be kept on the ground and on a lead.”

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 provides further guidance on the definition of an assistance animal. The Human Rights Commission web site has links to some case law: Assistance animals and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 | Australian Human Rights Commission

For any questions the Environmental Health Team is able to assist,  phone 5950 1373 or email via the link below.

Regulations and permits

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