Fundraising events

Sale of food at charitable events

Sausage sizzles, cake stalls and other food-related events are great ways for charities and non-profit community groups to raise funds and highlight their cause.

Charity and non-profit organisations share the same responsibilities and obligations as commercial food businesses to comply with the national food safety standards and only sell safe and suitable food.

A non-profit organisation is an organisation that is not carried on for the profit or gain of its members. The purpose of their activities are:

  • charitable
  • cultural
  • educational
  • political
  • social welfare
  • sporting
  • recreation.

For the purposes of the Food Act 2006, a non-profit organisation is still considered to be a food business.

Do non-profit organisations need a food licence?

A non-profit organisation does not need a food business licence unless they are selling meals on 12 or more occasions per financial year. A meal is food that is meant to be eaten at a table with cutlery.

Examples of a meal are:

  • casserole
  • roast meat and vegetables
  • curries and stir-fry salad.

Examples of food that is not a meal are:

  • pie and sausage roll
  • hot dog
  • sausage sizzle
  • hamburger and hot chips
  • soup in a cup.

For example, a barbeque sausage sizzle is not considered to be a meal and is exempt from licensing. However, a sporting club that also operates a restaurant to raise money for the club does need a food business licence.

An annual school fete would also be exempt as it does not occur on 12 or more occasions per year.

Meals pre-prepared by others at another place can be sold if any food handling is limited to the manufacturer’s instructions. For example, heating a frozen meal purchased from a supermarket.

You do not need a licence if you sell a simple breakfast of fruit, cereal, toast or similar.

You do not need a licence if the people eating the food have also helped to prepare it or if you are selling meals as part of an organisation’s education or training activities. For example, a cooking class or catering or hospitality course.

Donation of food

Food prepared in the home and then given away to a non-profit organisation for sale is exempt from compliance with the Food Act 2006. For example, baking a cake at home to give to a sporting club for sale at a fundraising event. Under common law the person making the cake still has a duty of care to provide safe food.

We recommended non-profit organisations only accept quantities of high risk foods which can be safely produced in the home with limited equipment. If there is any doubt how the food has been handled, it is better to dispose of the food.

Safe handling of food

Temporary food stalls can pose a higher risk to food safety, due to their temporary nature and lack of permanent cleaning, storage, refrigeration and heating facilities.

The main issues to consider are:

  • temperature control of potentially hazardous foods (keep food either below 5 or above 60 degrees Celsius)
  • clean/potable water supply
  • hand washing facilities
  • protecting food from contamination.

To find out if your charitable event needs a food business licence, you can find more information on the Queensland Health website's Food safety in non-profit organisations.

You may not need a licence for some activities but all non-profit organisations still need to comply with the Food Act 2006.