Food licence information

Do I need a licence for my food business?

A business or organisation may need a food licence under the Food Act 2006 if they sell unpackaged food or handle, prepare, cook, serve or manufacture food. The type of business could be:

  • cafe
  • takeaway food bar
  • restaurant
  • bakery
  • mobile food vehicle
  • food stall
  • home based business
  • food manufacturer 
  • supermarket
  • water carrier
  • childcare centre
  • ged care facility
  • caterer

A licence may not be required if: 

  • you only handle packaged food
  •  you only sell unpackaged snack food, including:
    • croissants, friands, doughnuts, muffins, churros, biscuits or cakes without dairy fillings or dairy icings
    • carob, chocolates, chocolate bars, confectionery or muesli bars
    • dried vegetable chips, corn chips, potato chips or nuts
    • meat jerky, dried or glazed fruit
    • pretzels, puffed rice, soy chips or toasted corn
  • you only sell whole fruit or vegetables
  • the only preparation carried out involves the grinding of coffee beans
  • you only sell the following, unless it forms a potentially hazardous food:
    • whole, crushed, puffed or toasted nuts, grains and seeds
    • quinoa, spices, dried herbs, tea leaves, coffee beans, cereals or cocoa
    • coconut, couscous, edible oil, flour, legumes, lentils, noodles, oats or pasta
    • preparations for spreading on bread like honey, peanut butter, hazelnut spread, vegemite, marmalade and jam
    • sugar and syrups like golden syrup, maple syrup, rice syrup, malt syrup, glucose syrup and coconut syrup
  • you only sell drinks (other than fruit or vegetable juice processed at the place of sale), including:
    • tea or coffee
    • soft drinks
    • alcoholic drinks (you may still need a liquor licence from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation)
  • you only sell ice or flavoured ice, for example:
    • shaved ice or snow cones
    • slurpees.

How do I apply for a food licence?

You can lodge online, or  download and complete the food business licence application form and return it to us with the payment fee. The fees that apply to each licence are on the application forms. You can submit your application in person at our customer service centres, by post or email. We will make a decision and contact you within 30 days of receiving your licence application.

If you have any questions, please see connect with us for our contact details. 

I want to do a new fit-out to the kitchen.  What should I do?

If you are doing a new fit-out or making major changes to an existing kitchen we will need to assess your design to make sure it complies with the Food Standards Code. You can refer to our food business quick reference fit-out guide for more information.

Things to include with your application:

  • floor plan and elevations
  • equipment schedule
  • mechanical ventilation certification – Form 15 (design).

Once the design has been approved, you may start the fit-out of your premises. When this has been completed, an Environmental Health Officer will conduct an inspection. Once approved and the food licence is issued you may start trading.

Can I transfer my food licence to a new operator?

If your business has been sold, you should advise us in writing. It is not possible to transfer an existing food licence to a new owner. The new owner will need to apply for a change of food licence ownership. You can download and complete the application form and return it to us with the fees. Please see connect with us for our contact details..

I am taking over an existing food business. What else do I need to know?

You will need to apply for a change of ownership food licence and pay the fees. An inspection of the business will be carried out before your licence is issued.

We  also offer optional searches that provide licence information about the business you are about to take over, like licence database reports and licence inspection reports. For more information, see Property searches.

What is a Food Safety Supervisor?

All licensed food businesses must have an approved food safety supervisor. The food safety supervisor is a person who has undertaken training in safe food handling or has sufficient experience working in the food industry. The food safety supervisor needs to be reasonably contactable by Council when the business is operating. A licensee of the food business may be the food safety supervisor and a business may have more than one food safety supervisor.

Are other Council approvals needed?

Food Safety Programs 

If you are involved in catering or preparation of food for vulnerable population groups (childcare or aged care), you may need a Food Safety Program. You can apply for accreditation by downloading and completing the Application for accreditation of food safety program form.

Trade waste approval

For information about Trade Waste, please see Trade waste.

Plumbing approval

All new premises need a plumbing approval from Council. For more information, please see Plumbing and drainage or call us on 07 3412 4840.

Planning approval

Before submitting your application, you should make sure that the site has the correct land use for the proposed business and if any development approval is needed. For more information, please call us on 07 3412 5269.

Building Approval

All new premises need a building approval (including a Certificate of Classification) from a private certifier before operations begin.