People who order catering services (eg working lunches, food for events or meetings on University premises, field trip catering) are responsible for taking reasonable care to ensure that the caterer will provide safe food and complies with Food Safety Standards for Australia.

As a guide you should verify the following:   

  • does the caterer have public liability insurance?
  • does the caterer have a registered business name with an Australian Business Number (ABN)?
  • is the caterer registered with their local council (or for the Northern Territory, with Environmental Health section of the Department of Families & Environment)  as required under the Food Safety Standards?
  • does the caterer use appropriate food transport methods to deliver or transport food to your event?


Ready-to-eat food delivered to University premises

Ready to eat food which is delivered to University premises (eg for meetings, events) must be stored at the correct temperature in accordance with the 2 hour/4 hour rule to ensure that *potentially hazardous foods are safe for consumption. This means:

  • chilled foods must be kept at 5°C or colder
  • hot foods must be kept at 60°C or hotter

If it is not possible to keep these foods at the appropriate temperature, the 2hr/4hr rule can be applied. The 2 hour/4 hour rule is as follows:

The 2 hour/4 hour rule

If any ready to eat high risk food has been at a temperature of between 5°C and 60°C:

  • for a total time of less than 2 hours, it must be refrigerated or used immediately.

  • for a total of longer than 2 hours but less than 4 hours, it must be used immediately.

  • For a total of 4 hours or longer, it must be thrown out.


For further information download a Food Safety Fact Sheet 2 hour 4 hour guide explained 



Further information

The following Fact Sheets from Food Safety Standards Australia provide further information about the requirements of the food safety legislation:  


Potentially hazardous foods are cooked meat , poultry and fish and foods containing meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, prepared fruits and vegetables, cooked rice and pasta and cooked or processed foods containing eggs.