Who requires a food licence?
Licensable food businesses include:
- Businesses manufacturing food
- Making biscuits or cakes for retail sale for profit
- Making food for wholesale, i.e. producing frozen meals in a factory or producing cake mixes
- Changes the condition or nature of food by any process such as milling, peeling, cutting or freezing
- Bottling or canning food
- Packing unpackaged food (other than unprocessed primary produce), i.e. packing bulk coffee for wholesale
- Making ice.
- Businesses that sell unpackaged snack food by retail
- Restaurant or delicatessen
- Catering business
- Takeaway food outlets
- Motel providing meals with accommodation
- Unpackaged food from a vending machine
- Child care centres/services
- Private residential facilities
- Bed and breakfasts
Who does not require a food licence?
Even though a licence may not be required, these businesses still have a responsibility to ensure the sale of safe and suitable food and an obligation to comply with the Food Safety Standards. This includes the design, construction and fit out of the food premises.
Businesses not requiring licence include:
- Production of primary produce, i.e. abattoir or dairy farm
- The processing or sale of fisheries resources
- Food businesses conducted by the State or a government owned corporation
- Tuck shops operated by a parents and citizens association at a State School
- Handling of food at a person’s home that is intended to be given away to a non-profit organisation for sale by the organisation, e.g. cakes made for fundraising parents and citizens association at a school fete
- Sale of unpackaged snack food that is not potentially hazardous food, i.e. corn chips, potato chips, confectionary, nuts, dried or glazed nuts, biscuits and cakes (however the business where the biscuits and cakes are made needs to be licensed)
- Sale of whole fruit or vegetables
- Sale of drinks, other than fruit or vegetable juice processed at the place of sale, i.e. tea, coffee, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks.
- Sale of ice including flavoured ice
- Provision of meals by a non-profit organisation if the meals consists only of fruit, cereal, toast or similar food or the consumer of the meal helps prepare it
- Sale of unpackaged food, not considered to be a meal, by a non-profit organisation, i.e. BBQ sausage sizzle
- Provision of meals by a non-profit organisation that are pre-pared by an entity other than the organisation and are stored and heated or otherwise prepared by the organisation in accordance with directions of the meal’s manufacturer.
Food vehicles that prepare and sell food within their vehicles are subjected to the same requirements as commercial food premises. Food vehicles that only sell pre-packaged food items are exempted from licensing requirements.
Non-profit organisations are required to be licensed if they provide meals at a particular place on at least 12 days each financial year.
- A restaurant, open daily to the public, operated by a sporting club to raise revenue for the club
- A non-profit organisation preparing and selling meals to homeless persons at a homeless persons hostels
- The preparation of meals by Meals on Wheels
- Mobile food van (providing meals) at a sporting ground.
The definition of “meal” under the Food Act 2006 includes food that:
- Is or is intended to be eaten by a person sitting at a table or fixed structure used as a table with cutlery and
- Is of adequate substance as to be ordinarily accepted as a meal.
If a non-profit organisation is not deemed to be preparing a “meal” outlined above, then it is not considered a licensable food business. This definition exempts sausage sizzles from requiring a licence.
Illegal Operation of a Food Business
The primary reason for licensing requirements is to ensure that businesses produce safe and suitable food. Unlicensed businesses:
- Have reduced operating costs and therefore create an uneven playing field for businesses that are licensed; and
- Increase the risk of food borne illness if there is improper food handling practices.
If you believe a business is operating without a licence, contact council and advise us with as many details as possible including the trading name, address, types of foods sold and the day or time they were operating.
Council follows up on any unlicensed food businesses by ensuring they apply for appropriate licensing and taking enforcement action where necessary. Penalties for operating a food business are up to $100,000 or two years imprisonment.