Do I need a licence?

Do I Need a Food Business Licence?

If you handle or prepare unpackaged food, you generally will require a licence. Examples of unpackaged foods that require a licence are:

  • fruit or vegetable juice that is processed at place of sale
  • cakes, muffins or biscuits with fresh cream or custard in the filling or icing
  • takeaway food such as hot chips and hamburgers
  • making food by combining ingredients such as jams, sauces, curries or soup
  • bread and bread rolls
  • sandwiches, including toasting sandwiches at a cafe
  • bulk coffee that is repackaged into smaller containers
  • any other unpackaged food that is not exempt.

This is not an exhaustive list and if you still have queries about the type of product you are going to prepare and sell, contact Council.

Find out more about the licensing requirements for child care and the licensing requirements for outside school hours care.

You do not need a licence for these activities:

  • Selling pre-packaged food only.
  • Selling whole fruit and vegetables only.
  • Production of primary produce such as milk or meat at a butcher, with accreditation. Refer to the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000 for more information.
  • Selling drinks such as tea, coffee and soft drinks.
  • Selling alcohol. A liquor licence may be required to sell alcohol.
  • Selling pre-packaged fruit or vegetable juice. You do not need a food business licence for fruit and vegetable juice not prepared at the place of sale (e.g. ginger juice manufactured elsewhere), but you will need to comply with labelling requirements, and you may need a food manufacturer licence.
  • Selling snack foods that are not potentially hazardous
  • Selling seeds, spices and dried herbs.
  • Selling tea leaves.
  • Selling coffee beans and ground coffee.
  • Grinding coffee beans.
  • Selling ice and flavoured ice.

You may not need a food business licence for the activities listed but you still need to comply with the Food Act 2006 regarding keeping a clean and sanitary business and providing safe food.

More information on Licensable Food Businesses.

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).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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.