Food safety for non-profit organisations

Council recognises the valuable work non-profit organisations do in providing or selling food for charitable purposes. To help make sure these organisations can continue their valuable work in the community their role has been recognised in our food legislation, the Food Act 2006 (the Act).

What is a non-profit organisation?
Under the Act a non-profit organisation is defined as 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. For the purposes of the Act, a non-profit organisation is still considered a food business.

Do non-profit organisations need a food business licence?
A non-profit organisation does not require a food business licence unless they are selling meals on
twelve or more occasions per financial year. Examples of exempt activities are:
• BBQ sausage sizzle
• an annual school fete
• cake and biscuit stalls
• sale of snow cones
• chocolate, lamington or pie drives
• raffles

A sporting club that also operates a restaurant to raise money for the club does require a food
business licence.

What about donating food?
Food that is prepared in the home and is then given away to a non-profit organisation is exempt
from requiring a food business licence, for example baking a cake at home to give to a school for
sale at a school fete. Nevertheless the person making the food still has a duty to provide safe food.

What are my obligations?
Even though a food business licence may not be required, you have a responsibility to ensure the sale of safe and suitable food, and an obligation to comply with the Act and Food Safety Standards.

What safe food handling practices do I need to consider?
Temporary food stalls can pose a higher risk to food safety due to their temporary nature and lack of permanent storage, refrigeration and heating facilities. The main issues to consider are:
• temperature control of potentially hazardous foods (keep cold food at or below 5°C or hot food at or above 60°C)
• food handling and hygiene
• hand washing facilities
• protecting food from contamination

Do I need to label the food?
Contact Queensland Health for advice of labelling requirements for food for donation or sale including food which may contain an allergen or download the Label Buster Guide.

Where can I get further information?
Council’s Food Business Licence Temporary Premises Fit-Out Guide and Licensee Guide provide information on the set-up of a temporary food business and general information to assist people in preparing safe and suitable food for sale. Although the guides have been developed for food businesses that require a food business licence, they can still be used to inform non-profit organisations and volunteers on safe food handling practices.

Another source of information is Queensland Health’s Food Safety for Fundraising Events booklet. This booklet has been produced to assist charities and community organisations meet their legal obligations under the food safety laws.

The Temporary food stall equipment checklist is useful to ensure all aspects of safe food handling has been considered.

For more information about food safety for non-profit organisations please contact the Environmental Health Unit of Livingstone Shire Council.