Food production


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Guideline review date: 28 October 2021​​

This guideline is provided to support schools in implementing the managing risks in school curriculum activities procedure.

The CARA planner (DOCX, 600KB) must be used for the specific school context in conjunction with this guideline considering additional risks, hazards and controls and including environmental, facility, equipment and student considerations

For activities beyond the scope of this guideline, complete a CARA record using the CARA generic template (DOCX, 488KB).

Activity scope

This guideline relates to student participation in cooking and food handling as an activity to support curriculum delivery.

Depending on the scope of this activity, other risk assessments may be required when planning. Curriculum activities encompassing more than one CARA guideline (e.g. gardening with hand tools, camping) must comply with the requirements of all CARA guidelines appropriate to the activity.

For curriculum activities involving the use of agents or conditions that promote food contamination and/or biological cultures that constitute a hazard (e.g. cheese making), refer to the food experimentation guideline.​

For activities conducted at a non-Department of Education venue, and/or when engaging external expertise, request written risk assessment advice and attach it to this CARA record.

For activities conducted off-site, schools must comply with the school excursions procedure.​

Low risk
Activities involving the use of non-electrical equipment and implements (e.g. whisk) that will not cause injury unless deliberately misused.
Medium risk
Activities involving the use of equipment that could cause injury if sufficient training and supervision is not provided (e.g. electric beaters, cutting or garnishing tools, mandoline slicer).
High risk
Activities involving dry heat (e.g. baking or roasting in an oven); moist heat methods of cooking (e.g. poaching, boiling); heating fat or oil (electric or stove top); using commercial grade equipment (e.g. dishwashers, espresso machines).​

Activity requirements

If any requirement cannot be met, the activity must not occur.

If any other safety recommendation cannot be met, modify the activity (or elements of it) and/or identify and use the hierarchy of controls to implement alternative control measures to meet or exceed the minimum safety standard.

Compliance with the department’s guide to managing electrical equipment in departmental schools and workplaces​ is required when planning this activity.


Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for all activities conducted off-site and strongly recommended for high risk activities conducted on-site.


Principals make final supervision decisions for the activity. Sufficient adult supervision must be provided to manage the activity safely (including emergency situations).

For activities with students with a medical condition or disability that may impact on safety during the activity, consultation with parents is required prior to allocating supervision to determine the impact of students’ medical condition or disability on safety during the activity.

It is recommended that teacher demonstration be used as the principal teaching strategy for medium and high activities.

Before the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be familiar with the contents of the CARA record
  • must inspect the intended location in order to identify variable risks, hazards and potential dangers.

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must closely supervise students for the duration of the activity
  • must comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise
  • must suspend the activity if the conditions become unfavourable.

Supervisor qualifications

Principals make final decisions in determining supervisor capability (competence, relevance and currency) and are responsible for encouraging and enabling school-based activity supervisors to raise their qualifications to improve safety standards.

All adult supervisors must comply with the working with children authority – blue cards procedure and be able to identify, and respond to, risks or hazards that may emerge during the activity.

A registered teacher must be appointed to maintain overall responsibility for the activity.

For low risk activities:

At least 1 adult supervisor is required to be:

  • a registered teacher with knowledge of cooking and safe food handling procedures and the potential hazards; or
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with competence (knowledge and skills) in cooking and safe food handling procedures and the potential hazards.

For medium risk activities:

At least 1 adult supervisor is required to be:

  • a registered teacher with demonstrated competence (knowledge and skills) in cooking and safe food handling procedures and the potential hazards; or
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with qualifications or accreditation in Certificate I in Hospitality or similar.

For high risk activities:

At least 1 adult supervisor is required to be:

  • a registered teacher with qualifications in Home Economics and/or Hospitality (or equivalent demonstrated capability, e.g. Certificate I in Hospitality, or similar); or
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with qualifications or accreditation in Certificate II in Hospitality or similar.

Facilities and equipment

The qualified adult supervisor of the activity, in consultation with the principal, determines the requirements for facilities and equipment appropriate to the local context.

Location must be suitable for the activity being undertaken and have sufficient light and ventilation (e.g. open windows and/or extraction fans). Undertake a reconnaissance of new or infrequently used locations to ascertain suitability.

Consult chemicals in curriculum activities for support in assessing the risks of chemicals used with/by students in curriculum activities.

If a CARA record is required in OneSchool, a summary of chemicals, plant, equipment and/or materials used in the activity must be provided by entering directly onto the CARA record in OneSchool or by attaching a summary. Sample templates are provided on chemicals in curriculum activities and plant, equipment and materials in curriculum activities.

Participants must wear personal protective equipment as relevant (e.g. non-porous enclosed footwear, clean apron, bright coloured waterproof dressings and gloves).

Consumables must be provided as required (e.g. cleaning agents, hand soap, paper towel).

Clean up equipment (e.g. broom, dustpan, breakages bin, and spill kit) must be available.

Ready access must be available to appropriate safety equipment, including fire extinguishers and fire blankets.

Aids for safe handling, lifting and carrying (e.g. oven cloths, guards, safety steps and mobile trolleys) must be available.

Preparation surfaces and equipment (e.g. serving plates and dish cloths) must be sanitised with commercial cleaning agents used at the minimum necessary strength.

Workspace must be large enough to prevent overcrowding (recommended 900mm bench space per student; maximum of 3 students per stove).

Benches must be appropriate height and accessible for all students (recommended height is 800mm to 1 metre).

Hand washing, washing-up facilities, laundry and garbage disposal facilities must be available.

Adequate facilities for food storage (cold and dry) must be available to ensure there is no risk of food contamination.

Adequate and easily accessible power outlets that are clear of water sources must be available.

All equipment must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

A process for checking for damage for all equipment used in the activity must be established and employed.

A maintenance schedule (e.g. checking for damage, repairing, sharpening) must be established and enacted for all equipment used in the workspace. Consult Equipment Maintenance Records (EMR) template.

A retirement schedule must be developed to replace plant and equipment by manufacturers' nominated expiry date or when significant wear causes a hazard.

If privately owned equipment is being used, principal approval and owner consent/insurance details must be obtained prior to the activity.

 Common hazards and controls

Further to those listed, include any additional hazards and control measures considering the local context of the activity.

Environmental hazards Control measures

Biological material

Ensure all food items used comply with Food Standards Australia New Zealand and are not subject to any current food recalls when providing ingredients.

Provide explicit instruction in preventing food poisoning: handling and hygiene.

Adhere to the Infection Control Guideline regarding sickness (e.g. vomiting, diarrhoea), contamination (e.g. blood, saliva) and hand hygiene (e.g. hands and nails washed thoroughly with warm running water and liquid soap, and dried thoroughly using a single use towel or disposable paper towel).

Do not allow tasting equipment to be shared.

Environmental conditions

The school’s sun safety strategy must be followed if participating outside.

Follow the managing excessive heat in schools guidelines when participating in very hot or extreme heat conditions.

Ensure drink breaks occur regularly. Make water available for individual participants between drink breaks.

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures

Control the environment for pests (e.g. use fly screens and food covers).

Ensure ready access and vision to work areas.

Use appropriate equipment to handle food safely (e.g. tongs, serving spoons) and to heat or cool food (e.g. ovenproof dishes).

Equipment and implements stored safely and securely when not in use.

Extreme temperatures sources

Provide explicit instruction in heating oil, including:

  • dangers of overfilling a fryer or leaving unattended
  • using a temperature controlled deep fryer rather than a saucepan for deep frying
  • ­use only suitable fats and oils
  • ­consequences of spills of other liquids into oil.

Sharp implements or objects

Keep blades (e.g. knives, food processors, mandolin, peelers) sufficiently sharp to allow for easy cutting and store in a way that allows safe selection.

Slips, trips, falls

Procedures must be in place to immediately manage the removal of all spilt substances (e.g. breakages bin, mop, spill kit for large spills).

Student considerations Control measures


Students aware of the location of emergency and first-aid equipment.

Student issues

Remove accessories (e.g. jewellery, lanyards) before participating.

Ensure fingernails and hair do not pose a hazard.

Monitor and enforce the correct use of equipment.

Maintain close supervision of students.


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Last updated 13 July 2022