Licensing requirements

Commercial kitchens

Commercial kitchens include businesses with:

  • more than one food preparation area such as a supermarket
  • with one food preparation area such as a restaurant or childcare centre
  • other types of businesses such as accommodation providers or food vehicles.

Non-profit organisations may also need to apply for a commercial kitchen licence.

Food vehicles

Food vehicles that prepare and sell food within their vehicles are subject to the same requirements as commercial food premises. Food vehicles that only sell pre-packaged food items are exempt from licensing requirements. Refer to the Food Vehicle Guideline for further information on the fit-out of your food vehicle.

Domestic kitchens

Standards apply to all household kitchens used for the preparation of food offered for sale to the public at markets, fetes and other similar events. Townsville City Council has a minimum set of standards of operational and structural requirements that domestic kitchens must meet to ensure the production and sale of safe food.

Anyone who sells food must ensure that it is safe to eat and that the Food Standards Code is applied to the operations and construction of the domestic kitchen business.

Temporary food stalls

Temporary food stalls are an important feature at many festivals, fetes and markets. Temporary food stalls can pose a higher risk to consumers than restaurants due to their temporary nature. Therefore, it is important to ensure your stall is setup and operating in compliance with the Temporary Food Stall Guide .

Applications can be granted for individual events or for 12 months.

If you are intending to conduct a temporary food stall, you will be required to complete an Application for Temporary Food Stall form and return the completed application with the appropriate fee to Council.

Non-profit organisations

Non-profit organisations are required to be licensed if they provide meals at a particular place on at least 12 or more days each financial year.

Examples include:

  • 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.

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 your non-profit organisation is preparing meals 12 or more times a year, please contact Council's Environmental Health Team on 13 48 10 to determine which licence fee is applicable.

More information is available on the Planning Approval page.

Standard 3.2.2A – Food Safety Management Tools

Food service, caterer and related retail businesses in Australia need to meet new food safety requirements from December 2023.

For further information on the requirements for your business, visit the Food Standards Australia & New Zealand website or contact Council to speak with an Environmental Health Officer.

Starting, buying or making changes to a food business

Food Safety Program (FSP)

Businesses requiring a FSP

Food businesses are required to develop and implement a food safety program (FSP) if one of the following criteria are met:

  1. It involves off-site catering, as defined in section 17 of the Food Act 2006.
  2. The primary activity is on-site catering, at the premises stated on the food licence, as defined in section 18 of the Food Act 2006.
  3. The primary activity is on-site catering at part of the premises stated on the licence where they are serving more than 199 people on more than 11 occasions per year (e.g. a function room used for on-site catering and situated on the premises of a hotel).
  4. The food business processes or serves potentially hazardous food for six or more vulnerable persons. This includes:
    • private hospital facilities including acute care, psychiatric, hospice, chemotherapy and renal dialysis facilities
    • age care facilities including nursing homes, respite care, same-day aged care and low care aged care facilities
    • child care facilities including long day care, occasional day care and employer-sponsored child care (does not include family day care). This excludes the serving of meals provided by parents/carers or heating of bottles.

Off-site catering means serving potentially hazardous food at a place other than the principal place of business. It does not include merely delivering food (i.e. pizza delivery or delivering a platter of sandwiches).

On-site catering means preparing and serving potentially hazardous food, to all consumers of the food at the premises from which the business is carried on, under an agreement of which the food is of a predetermined type, persons, time and cost. Examples include dedicated wedding reception venues, function halls or large hotels whose primary food business is on-site catering.

Other food businesses that are not required to have a FSP under legislation may apply for accreditation of their FSP if they wish to. If they choose to have an accredited FSP with Council, they must have the program regularly audited by an approved auditor and must comply with the FSP.

For further information regarding FSPs, visit Queensland Health.

Frequently asked food business questions