You will need a licence to handle or prepare unpackaged food as part of your business. This applies to businesses whether they are in a fixed location, within mobile premises, or a temporary food stall (e.g. food stalls at markets or events).
You do not need a licence to sell:
- pre-packaged food
- whole fruit and vegetables
- snack and other foods that are not potentially hazardous, e.g. chocolates, confectionary, dried fruit, cereals, uncooked pasta and spreads
- drinks, such as tea, coffee, soft drinks and alcohol
- primary produce (accredited producers).
Not-for-profit organisations need a licence only when meals are served at a table with cutlery 12 or more times in a financial year.
Water carriers delivering drinking water must apply for a food licence for mobile premises.
Food safety programs
Some types of licensable food businesses are required to have an accredited food safety program. For example, if the business involves off-site catering, on-site catering, or if the business serves food to vulnerable people. For more information visit Food safety.
Licences are valid until 31 August each year and are renewed annually.
Temporary food licences may be renewed annually and are valid until 31 August of each year, or may be issued for a one-off event (non-renewable).
Taking over an existing business
Food licences can't be transferred, so if you are taking over an existing business, you will need to submit a new licence application. We also recommend you apply for a health licence search to confirm the business' food licence is current and to ensure the current licence holder is complying with food safety regulations.
Complying with regulations
You and your staff are responsible for complying with all requirements of the Food Act 2006 and the Food Standards Code.
To help with food safety training, we offer free basic non-accredited training. For more information, visit Food safety.
For more information, contact our City Standards team on 07 5667 5987.
How to apply
Use one of the options below to apply for a food licence for:
- fixed premises
- mobile premises
- temporary premises.
We recommend you contact our Planning Enquiries Centre on 07 5582 8708 for advice on whether you will need development approval from us. Make sure your site has the appropriate approval before submitting your application.
Depending on the type, size and intended use of any permanent buildings and structures, building approval and certification from a building certifier may also be required.