You will require a food business licence under the Food Act 2006 if your business:
- manufactures food (refer to the definition of manufacture)
- sells unpackaged food by retail (excluding non-profit organisations)
- is a non-profit organisation that sells meals prepared by the organisation on at least 12 days each financial year.
Mobile food businesses
Mobile food businesses are only required to have one food business licence, issued by council for any of the areas in which they intend to operate. The licence allows the business to sell food from the mobile premises anywhere in Queensland. However, you may also require an itinerant vendors licence and/or standing stall/vehicle licence from the council local to each area in which you intend to operate (these licences are separate from the licensing requirements under the Food Act 2006).
A licence defines the need to obtain recognition / certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity.
The Act does not apply in any of the following situations, and therefore a food business a licence is not required:
- state or government owned corporations
- the handling or sale of food at a tuckshop operated by a parents and citizens association at a state school
- the handling, at a persons home, of food intended to be given away to a non-profit organisation for sale by the organisation.
A food business that consists of one or more of the following activities is not required to be licensed under the Food Act 2006:
- the production of primary produce under an accreditation granted under the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000 - including meat, dairy, egg and seafood schemes
- the sale of unpackaged snack foods that are not potentially hazardous (e.g. food such as biscuits, cakes, confectionery, corn chips, potato chips, nuts or dried or glazed fruit)
- the sale of whole fruit or vegetables
- the sale of seeds, spices, dried herbs, tea leaves, coffee beans or ground coffee
- the grinding of coffee beans
- the sale of drinks (other than fruit or vegetable juice processed at the place of sale) including, for example, tea, coffee, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks
- the sale of ice, including flavoured ice (e.g. Slurpees? and snow cones or bags of party ice)
- the sale of meals by a non-profit organisation if
- the meal consists only of fruit, cereal, toast, or similar food; or
- the consumer of the meal helps prepare it
- the sale of meals by a non-profit organisation that are prepared by an entity other than the organisation and are stored and heated or otherwise prepared by the organisation in accordance with the directions of the meal's manufacturer
- the sale of food, by a non-profit organisation, that is prepared as part of an educational or training activity conducted by the organisation involving food preparation, hospitality or catering
- the sale of meals by a non-profit organisation, if
- the organisation is a surf lifesaving club; and
- a member is involved in the preparation of the meal; and
- the meal is sold to a member of the club for a nominal amount.
Definition of terms
- Food business
means a business, enterprise or activity that involves:
the handling of food intended for sale; or
the sale of food; regardless of whether the business, enterprise or activity concerned is of a commercial, charitable or community nature and whether it involves the handling or sale of food on one occasion only.
- Food safety program
means a documented program that identifies and controls food safety hazards in the handling of food in a food business.
- Food safety supervisor
for a food business, means a person who
knows how to recognise, prevent and alleviate food safety hazards of the food business; and
has skills and knowledge in matters relating to food safety relevant to the food business; and
has the authority to supervise and give directions about matters relating to food safety to persons who handle food in the food business.
- Handling of food
includes the making, manufacturing, producing, collection, extracting, processing, storing, transporting, delivering, preparing, treating, preserving, packing, cooking, thawing, serving or displaying of food.
In relation to food, manufacture includes the following:
making food by combining ingredients
significantly changing the condition or nature of food by any process
bottling or canning food including, for example, bottling water or canning fruit
packing unpackaged food, other than unprocessed primary produce
However, in relation to food, manufacture does not include the following:
preparing food at a a particular place for retail sale at the place, including sale for immediate consumption
preparing food for a food business that involves off-site catering
making ice at a particular place for use at the place
changing the condition of food merely by changing its temperature.
means food that:
is, or is intended to be, eaten by a person sitting at a table, with cutlery; and
is of adequate substance as to be ordinarily accepted as a meal.
- Mobile premises
for a food business, means:
premises that is a vehicle from which a person sells unpackaged food by retail; or
premises that are a food vending machine.
- Non profit organisation
means an organisation that:
is not carried on for the profit or gain of its individual members; and
is engaged in activities for a charitable, cultural, educational, political, social welfare, sporting or recreational purpose.
- Off site catering
in relation to a food business, means preparing and serving potentially hazardous food at a place other than the principal place of business for the food business. Off site catering does not include:
merely delivering food under an arrangement with, or on the order of, a consumer (e.g. delivering pizzas from a takeaway pizza shop); or
the sale of food from mobile premises or temporary premises (e.g. the sale of ice creams from a mobile ice cream van).
- On site catering
in relation to a food business, means preparing and serving potentially hazardous food to all consumers at the premises from which the business is carried on, under an agreement under which the food is:
of a predetermined type;
for a predetermined number of person;
served at a predetermined time; and
for a predetermined cost.
On site catering does not include:
preparing and serving food at an eating establishment; or
merely preparing and displaying food for self service by consumers (e.g. preparing food for consumption from a buffet at a restaurant).
a building or other structure
a part of a building or other structure
land where a building or other structure is situated
a food vending machine.
- Temporary premises
for a food business, means premises other than fixed premises or mobile premises, and includes, for example, a stall or a tent.
Food safety supervisors
The Food Act 2006 requires every licensable food business in Queensland to have a food safety supervisor. Licensees are required to notify the local government that issues the licence, of the name and contact details of the food safety supervisor for the food business within 30 days of the licence being issued.
There are requirements that must be met for the design and fit-out of the food premises to ensure it is appropriate for the operation of a food business.
There are also requirements for all food handlers for the food business to have a level of skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene appropriate for their work activities at the food business.
This licence remains in effect for a period of no greater than 3 years as determined by council.
In addition to the completed application form, you must submit the appropriate fee as well as two sets of plans drawn to scale and which provide an accurate representation of the layout of the food premises. A copy of the plans will be kept by council on file and the other copy will be returned to you if your application is approved.
You may be required to include:
a site plan
mechanical exhaust ventilation plans (if applicable)
transport vehicle plan (if applicable).
All applications and associated documentation for the licence must be directed to council for the area in which you intend to operate your food business.
A site inspection may be undertaken by the council environmental health officer to determine compliance with design and fit-out requirements for the food premises.
This licence cannot be transferred.
Food safety programs
The following food businesses are required to have a food safety program accredited by the local government:
- the food business involves off-site catering
- the primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at the premises stated in the licence
- the primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at part of the premises stated in the licence to cater for 200 or more people on 12 or more occasions in any 12 month period
- the food business is carried on as part of the operations of a private hospital or otherwise processes or serves potentially hazardous food to six or more vulnerable persons (e.g. a child care centre or aged care facility).
Food businesses that are required to have an accredited food safety program are required to have an audit conducted by an appropriate auditor approved by the Department of Health within the first six months of accreditation, then at a frequency determined by the local government.
If you operate any other type of food business (other than mentioned above) and you wish to have a food safety program accredited, you may submit your program to your local government.
Please note that licence fees may vary between local governments.
Please contact your local government for further information.
Health Protection Unit
Food Safety Standards and Regulation
Food Act 2006 (Queensland)
Food Regulation 2016 (Queensland)
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