Who needs a Food Business Licence

The Food Act 2006 defines a licensable food business as a food business that:

  • Involves the manufacture of food
  • Involves the retail sale of unpackaged food and is not a non-profit organisation
  • Is carried on by a non-profit organisation and involves the sale of meals prepared by the organisation at a particular place, on at least 12 days each financial year  

Licensable food businesses include (but are not limited to):

  • Businesses manufacturing food
  • Making food by combining ingredients eg. producing frozen meals in a factory, producing cake mixes
  • Significantly changing 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) eg. packing bulk coffee for wholesale
  • Making ice
  • Businesses that sell unpackaged 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
  • Bed breakfasts
  • Hostels
  • Private hospitals and nursing homes

Some licensable food businesses are also required to have an accredited Food Safety Program.

Who does not require a Food Business Licence?

Even though a food business licence may not be required, the business still has 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 a licence include:

  • Production of primary produce eg. abattoirs, dairy and egg farms (accredited by Safe Food Queensland)
  • 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 eg. cakes made for fundraising
  • Sale of unpackaged snack food that is not potentially hazardous food (does not contain dairy, eggs or meat products) such as corn chips, potato chips, popcorn, confectionary, nuts, dried or glazed nuts, muffins, churros
  • Sale of whole fruit or vegetables
  • Sale of drinks, other than fruit or vegetable juice processed at the place of sale eg. 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
  • Provision of a meal by a non-profit organisation if the consumer of the meal helps prepare it
  • Sale of unpackaged food, not considered to be a meal, by a non-profit organisation eg. barbeque sausage sizzle
  • Provision of meals by a non-profit organisation that are prepared 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

The definition of a meal is food that:

  1. Is, or intended to be, eaten by a person sitting at a table, or a fixed structure used as a table, with cutlery
  2. Is of adequate substance as to be ordinarily accepted as a meal

It is an offence under the Food Act 2006 for a person to carry on a licensable food business without holding a licence to carry on the business (1,000 penalty units).