Under the Food Act 2001, persons intending to operate a food business must notify their local council prior to commencing business. Notification is required to ensure councils are aware of food businesses in their area and to obtain contact information for businesses to facilitate regular inspections.
A food business is any business or activity that sells food or handles any type of food for sale (with the exception of some primary food production activities). This includes schools, charities, community groups, sporting groups, and general businesses such as chemists, cinemas, or petrol stations if selling packaged or any other type of food. It also includes food provided under "a contract of service" such as supper served at a dinner dance or food at a staff canteen.
Since 1 December 2003, all businesses have been required to notify their council.