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Food Act Reporting via OSCAR (FARVO): Fixed premises quarterly data submissions

Under Section 7D of the Food Act 1984, all local councils are legally required to report food safety data to the Department of Health. The information required to be reported is outlined in the Victoria Government Gazette No. S 375 available at <>. These data are used to provide information to the department, council, industry and consumers and are published in the department’s Annual Report.

OSCAR provides councils convenient one-stop access to a single department-managed system. In OSCAR councils can:

  1. manage the regulation of temporary and mobile food premises, and
  2. upload their quarterly fixed premises data to the department using FARVO.

For reporting purposes, temporary and mobile food premises data can be accessed directly by the department via OSCAR.

However, fixed food premises data, which are recorded by the systems used at council, need to be submitted quarterly to the department using the reporting tool FARVO (Food Act Reporting via OSCAR). The submission process requires extract of the fixed premises data from a council’s system, before upload of the extract file to FARVO. Full instructions on the use of FARVO are included below.

Councils are responsible for the accuracy of the quarterly Food Act data submitted to the department. Councils should actively check that the data contained in any submission accurately represent those held in their own database, and that any Food Act data in their database have been accurately recorded.

This section of the OSCAR User Guide provides guidance on managing the quarterly reporting process in FARVO.

The Food Safety Reporting Guide is currently under review and a new guide, incorporating updated information related to Food Act changes implemented in late 2022, will be released shortly. In the meantime, the December 2020 version of the guide (available in the Resources section) still provides useful reference to the reporting code sets.

Note: Any xml. files emailed to the Food Safety Unit after December 2023 will not be uploaded to OSCAR by the department. From January 2024, councils must directly upload their xml. files using FARVO (Food Act Reporting via OSCAR).

Council users can access FARVO using their OSCAR login details.

Note: Council users must have ‘admin level’ access to OSCAR to be able to access the reporting functions and upload xml. files. If authorised by your council for ‘admin level’ access to OSCAR, you can click here to upgrade permissions.

The department maintains a list of people who manage food safety reporting at each council.

Updates, guidance and reminder emails about food safety reporting are sent to the members of the mailing list regularly.

To request a change to the mailing list for your council, please email with details.

A set of reporting codes is used by all councils to ensure the data from differing council systems are consistently categorised and can therefore be compared across the state.

It is important that these reporting codes are mapped correctly in a council’s regulatory system to prevent errors or inconsistencies in the data. If you require assistance reviewing or updating the reporting codes used by your council system, please consult your council’s IT team and/or contracted service provider.

Information for use by your council IT team is available in the Resources section of the online OSCAR User Guide.

The Food Safety Reporting Guide is currently under review and a new guide, incorporating updated information related to Food Act changes implemented in late 2022, will be released shortly. In the meantime, the December 2020 version of the guide (available in the Resources section) still provides useful reference to the reporting code sets.

Data must be extracted from council systems in xml. file format for upload to the department’s reporting tool, FARVO.

As councils use a variety of systems (such as Pathway or Health Manager) to record information about food premises’, a council’s IT support should be the first point of contact when requesting support with extraction of the data.

Information for use by your council IT team is available in the Resources section of the online OSCAR User Guide.

Council’s system service provider/vendor can also help in resolving any technical issues.

It is important that the xml. file is named using the correct format to ensure its successful submission to FARVO.

Each file name should be 27 characters long (31 including ‘.xml’) and should be in the following format:


An error in the file name is the most common reason for a submission to fail. If there is a minor error in the name, such as an incorrect number, the file will not satisfy the validation check.

Common examples of incorrect file names are:

Invalid file name examples Issue
foodsafetydata.xml File name doesn’t follow the required format
FOODPR02342020070116300150003.txt File has been saved as .txt format instead of .xml
FOODPRO12342020070116300150003.xml The letter O is used instead of numerical value 0
FOODPR012342020070116300150003.xml(2) Multiple versions have been downloaded so the file name has a number after it

Under the Food Act 1984, councils are required to submit quarterly data to the department within the seven days following the end of each quarter.

All data should be submitted in xml. format using FARVO (Food Act Reporting via OSCAR). This will allow data from each council to be easily compared.

Only OSCAR users with ‘admin’ level access can submit the reporting data.

A user with the correct permissions should submit the data by selecting Uploads from the Food Act Reporting menu section of OSCAR. If you are unable to see this section, you may not have the required access level and will need to update your user permissions to be able to proceed.

To upload xml. files to OSCAR:

  1. Using the navigation menu on the left, select ‘Uploads’ under ‘Food Act Reporting’.
  2. Select the ‘Upload’ button to submit an xml. file.This process is used to submit a new xml. file or to resubmit and overwrite a previously submitted one*.
    *Council’s may choose to resubmit a file where updates made in their system cause changes to the extracted quarterly data and a re-extract, resubmission of that quarter is necessary.
  3. Select the relevant ‘Reporting period’ (e.g., 2023 Q3)
  4. Enter the total number of xml. file(s) under ‘File count’ for your selected reporting period. For instance:
    • if your total quarterly data has extracted in only a single xml. file (i.e., it is reporting on 500 or less premises records), the number entered here will be 1
    • if your quarterly data has extracted as multiple xml. files (i.e., you have over 500 premises records to report on), the number entered here will be equal to the number of xml. file portions extracted
  5. Select ‘+ Add File’ and then ‘Choose’ button to select and upload an individual xml. file. Once the file is uploaded, OSCAR will process the file through a series of validation check and the file will be ultimately be assessed as either ‘valid’ or ‘invalid’.If you have more than one xml file, repeat this step until you’ve uploaded the total number of the file count.

Unsuccessful/Invalid xml. file uploads
If the uploaded file is invalid (i.e., it has failed one or more validation checks) the failed validation checks will display (as per the below screenshot) and an email notification will be sent to the user and to the council email address provided in ‘Council configuration’, detailing the critical errors found in the file. These will each require action before the file can be resubmitted to OSCAR.

Managing errors
Critical errors can be code-related (meaning an anomaly has occurred in the premises data) or filename-related (meaning the xml. filename is not correctly arranged to accurately represent the content of the uploaded file).

For code related errors, the validation checks table displayed will tell you which food premises record/s in the submission has a coding issue and what needs to be corrected. Errors will each require correction through an update to the data in the source (council) system, followed by a re-extract of xml. files once all data has been corrected as required.

For filename-related errors, the filename must be adjusted to satisfy the file format displayed above and to correctly represent the content of the xml. file.

Reupload of xml. file once errors corrected
Once the listed errors in an xml. file have been corrected, to upload the updated file:

  1. Delete the invalid xml. file using the Delete button.
  2. Repeat the upload process using the new/updated file.

NOTE: Selecting Exit during the upload of files, will abandon the entire quarterly submission process. Any valid file uploads will not be recorded and all xml. files for the quarter will need reupload and submission at a later date.

Successful/Valid xml. file uploads
If the uploaded file is valid (i.e., it has satisfied all validation checks), the screen will display the file name and a download icon (as per the below screenshot). Select ‘Ok’ to complete the process and view the file status.

Once complete, another xml. file portion can be uploaded if required.

Successful uploads will continue to be listed here.

NOTE: All xml. file portions for a single quarter must be uploaded successfully and appear on the successful uploads list before the quarterly dataset can be submitted.

Completing the quarterly submission process
A quarterly Food Act data submission can only be finalised once all xml. file portions for that quarter have been successfully uploaded.

Once all required xml. files (based on the previously entered ‘file count’) have been successfully uploaded (i.e., are valid), a ‘Submit Fileset’ button will display as below.

To complete your council’s quarterly Food Act data submission process, select ‘Submit Fileset’.

Note: Only those xml. files contained in completed quarterly submissions are retained by OSCAR.

Councils can view a summary list of all successful quarterly submission(s) by selecting ‘Uploads’ under the ‘Food Act Reporting’ menu section.

To view a list of the xml. files contained in each submission, select the View (eye) icon in the right-hand column.

To download an individual .xml file from the list, select the Download icon.

When selecting a reporting period that has previously had a successful upload, the following text will display as a warning:
‘Please note that City Council has already uploaded files for 2023 Q4. If you upload again this will replace/supersede all prior uploads for this reporting period.’

If you wish to resubmit a quarterly dataset that has been previously submitted successfully (potentially because changes to the premises records have been made in the council system and an updated xml. extract has been actioned), select ‘Uploads’ under ‘Food Act Reporting’ and select the relevant pervious reporting period and follow the usual upload steps.

The previous submission will now show a status of Superseded in the Submission summary list, and all xml. files associated with the superseded submission will be deleted from OSCAR.

Councils are responsible for the accuracy of the quarterly Food Act data submitted. Even if an xml. file upload has been successful, councils should ensure that the data contained in any xml. file accurately represents the data recorded in their database, and that the premises data in their database has been accurately captured.

The reports available in OSCAR can support councils in validating their own data.

Councils have access to several reports in OSCAR that can be used as a tool for analysing and comparing data. It is good practice to run these reports after each submission to identify any potential data discrepancies.

To access Food Act reports:

  1. Select ‘Reports’ under ‘Food Act Reporting’ menu to view Food Act reports.
  2. Select a specific report from the list displayed under ‘Reports Menu’, or select ‘Reports Menu’ to display a page panel of report options for selection.


  1. Once the selected report is displayed, it can be filtered using the top filters panel, the left-hand side filter list or by expanding the right-hand side Filters options.
  2. Select the green refresh icon at the top of the page to reset all filters at any point.

Exporting reports to Excel

  1. Hover over the right top corner of the data table and select ‘…’ to see more options.
  2. Select the ‘Export data’ option.
  3. Select the required format of the exported data and the ‘Export’ button
  4. The data will export to your Downloads folder for access.