Food Business Licence
Under what circumstances is it required ?
A food business that conducts the following activities requires a licence from Council (unless non-profit organisation see below). NB: If you are unsure if your business requires a licence, contact Council.
An entity, other than not for profit involving the sale of unpackaged food by retail
Manufacture of food
Licensable food businesses examples:
• Restaurant or delicatessen
• Catering business
• Takeaway pizza shop.
• Motel providing meals with accommodation
• Unpackaged food from a vending machine
• Child care centres/services
• Private residential facilities
• Bed and breakfasts
• Preparing and selling meals to homeless persons at a homeless persons’ hostel
• Preparation of meals by Meals on Wheels.
Non-profit organisations are considered licensable food businesses if they provide meals at a particular place on at least 12 days each financial year.
• A restaurant, open daily to the public, operated by a sporting club to raise revenue for the club
• A non-profit organisation preparing and selling meals to homeless persons at a homeless persons hostel
• The preparation of meals by Meals on Wheels
• Mobile food van (providing meals) at a sporting ground
NOTE: If the non-profit organisation is not deemed to be preparing a ‘meal’ as outlined below, then it is not considered a licensable food business. This definition exempts sausage sizzles from being licensable activities.
Who does not need an approval:
Even though a licence may not be required, you still have a responsibility to ensure the sale of safe and suitable food and an obligation to comply with the Food Standards Code. This includes the design, construction and fit out of your premises.
A food business that consists ONLY of one or more of the following activities does not require a food licence from Council but may need approval from another Government agency:
• Production of primary produce under an accreditation granted under the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000, Part 5. eg, abattoir or dairy farm.
• The processing or sale of fisheries resources under the provisions of the previous buyers licence now incorporated within the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000.
• Food business conducted by the State or a government owned corporation.
• Tuckshops 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.
• Sale of unpackaged snack food that is not potentially hazardous. Examples:
- Corn chips or potato chips.
- Biscuits or cakes (however the business where the biscuits/cakes are made needs to be licensed).
- Dried or glazed fruit.
• Sale of whole fruit or vegetables.
• Sale of seeds, spices, dried herbs, tea leaves, coffee beans or ground coffee.
• Grinding of coffee beans.
• Sale of drinks, other than fruit or vegetable juice processed at the place of sale.
- Tea or coffee.
- Soft drinks.
- Alcoholic drinks.
• Sale of ice including flavoured ice such as snow cones or bags of party ice.
• Provision of meals by a non-profit organisation if:
- the meal consists only of fruit, cereal, toast, or similar food, or
- the consumer of the meal helps to prepare it.
• Sale of unpackaged food, not considered to be a meal, by a not-for-profit organisation. Example, BBQ sausage sizzle.
• Provision of meals by a non-profit organisation that:
- are pre-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 manufacture.
Example: The provision of a frozen meal, at the canteen of an independent school, after the meal is microwaved in accordance with instructions on the meal’s packaging.
• Provision of a meal prepared by a non-profit organisation as part of an educational or training activity conducted by the organisation involving food preparation, hospitality or catering.
Definition of Terms
Please note that definitions are taken directly from legislation.
Means a business, enterprise or activity that involves:
(a) the handling of food intended for sale; or
(b) the sale of food;
regardless of whether the business, enterprise or activity concerned is of a commercial, charitable or community nature and whether it involves the handling or sale of food on one occasion only.
Food safety program:
Means a documented program that identifies and controls food safety hazards in the handling of food in a food business.
Food safety supervisor:
For a food business, means a person who-
(a) knows how to recognise, prevent and alleviate food safety hazards of the food business; and
(b) has skills and knowledge in matters relating to food safety relevant to the food business; and
(c) has the authority to supervise and give directions about matters relating to food safety to persons who handle food in the food business.
Handling of food:
Includes the making, manufacturing, producing, collection, extracting, processing, storing, transporting, delivering, preparing, treating, preserving, packing, cooking, thawing, serving or displaying of food.
In relation to food, includes the following-
(a) making food by combining ingredients;
(b) significantly changing the condition or nature of food by any process;
(c) bottling or canning food, including, for example, bottling water or canning fruit;
(d) packing unpackaged food, other than unprocessed primary produce;
(e) making ice.
However, manufacture, in relation to food, does not include the following-
(a) preparing food at a particular place for retail sale at the place, including sale for immediate consumption;
(b) preparing food for a food business that involves off-site catering;
(c) making ice at a particular place for use at the place;
(d) changing the condition of food merely by changing its temperature.
Meal means food that-
a) is, or is intended to be, eaten by a person sitting at a table, or a fixed structure used as a table, with cutlery; and
b) is of adequate substance as to be ordinarily accepted as a meal.
Gross Floor area:
Gross Floor area includes all food preparation, handling, storage and serving areas. Does not include areas used solely for dining or parking.
For a food business, means:
(a) premises that are a vehicle from which a person sells unpackaged food by retail; or
(b) premises that are a food vending machine.
Means an organisation that:
(a) is not carried on for the profit or gain of its individual members; and
(b) is engaged in activities for a charitable, cultural, educational, political, social welfare, sporting or recreational purpose.
In relation to a food business, means preparing and serving potentially hazardous food at a place other than the principal place of business for the food business.
Off-site catering does not include:
(a) merely delivering food under an arrangement with, or on the order of, a consumer (e.g. delivering pizzas from a takeaway pizza shop); or
(b) the sale of food from mobile premises or temporary premises (e.g. the sale of ice- creams from a mobile ice-cream van).
In relation to a food business, means preparing and serving potentially hazardous food to all consumers at the premises from which the business is carried on, under an agreement under which the food is:
(a) of a predetermined type;
(b) for a predetermined number of person;
(c) served at a predetermined time; and
(d) for a predetermined cost.
On-site catering does not include:
(a) preparing and serving food at an eating establishment; or
(b) merely preparing and displaying food for self-service by consumers (e.g. preparing food for consumption from a buffet at a restaurant).
(a) a building or other structure; and
(b) a part of a building or other structure; and
(c) land where a building or other structure is situated; and
(d) a vehicle; and
(e) a food vending machine
For a food business, means premises other than fixed premises or mobile premises, and includes, for example, a stall or a tent.
Relevant Act, Regulation and Section
Food Regulation 2006
Brisbane City Council
What fees apply ?
You can obtain a schedule of fees from your local government.
How long does this authority remain in effect ?
The Food Business Licence is renewed annually and attracts an annual fee.
▪ Renew your licence online at www.brisbane.qld.gov.au
- You will need your renewal notice
- Click on Online Services under the Payments and eServices tab
- Select Pay a Bill
- Select Permit Renewals and follow the prompts
▪ You can also renew your licence by phone on 3403 8888 or in person at any Brisbane City Council Regional Business Centre.
What are the pre-requisites to obtaining this authority ?
• Development (town planning) approvals from Council (fixed premises only)
• Building approvals from a Building Certifier, if constructing or fitting out the premises, or making changes to the fitout that involve any building work (fixed premises only)
• Plumbing approval from Council if installing or altering plumbing work (fixed premises only)
• Trade waste approval from Council if discharging waste to sewers/drains, e.g. grease traps
• Standing vehicle licence from Council (mobile vehicle only, if vehicle will be selling from a fixed location, e.g. by the roadside or on a footpath, where Council controls the road)
If any of the following approvals are applicable to your situation, you must obtain them before you start operating.
• Advertising sign permit/s from Council
• Footway Dining licence from Council if you wish to use the footpath area for serving food and/or drink to customers, e.g. placing tables and chairs on the footpath
• If serving alcohol, a Liquor Licence from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation www.olgr.qld.gov.au.
Attach the required documentation with your application providing your eligibility to receive the discount or exemption (contact the Brisbane City Council for more information).
How do I obtain it ?
The steps for licensing a food premises or vehicle are:
1. Obtain all the prerequisite approvals listed above that apply to your situation.
2. Apply for this licence (Food Business Licence Application).
3. If design is approved, construct and/or fit out your premises and/or vehicle.
4. Apply for any additional approvals required for your situation.
5. Council will inspect the premises and/or vehicle before issuing the licence.
6. Once the licence has been issued, you can start operating.
Legislation requires that final Council approval must be obtained within 60 days of lodging a Food Business Licence application. If your construction and/or fitout will not be completed well within this time frame, you should lodge a Plan Assessment Design Requirements application only (at step 2 above), then lodge the licence application at a later stage.
▪ Attach the following plans to your application
1. site plan (1:200 scale), including the car park, refuse area and adjacent land uses (not required for a mobile food vehicle
2. floor plan (1:50 scale), including layout of benches, tables, storage and exhaust canopies and details of finishes to floors, walls and ceilings
3. sectional elevations of all benches, equipment & fixtures (1:50 scale)
4. other relevant plans, e.g. hydraulic, mechanical ventilation
▪ Plans must include the following details:
- name, address and phone number of the draftsperson
- proposed name of premises
- real property description
- drawing scale
▪ Amendments must be lodged by mail or in person at your nearest Council Regional Business Centre. Plan Assessment Design Requirements applications can be lodged at your nearest Council Regional Business Centre. It is recommended you contact Council on 133 BNE (133 263) and ask to speak to an Environmental Health Officer to discuss requirements before lodging this type of application.
▪ Council may inspect the premises and/or vehicle during or shortly after the licensing process.
You must supply all mandatory information and documentation when making an application. If you submit an application that is substantially incomplete or incorrect, Brisbane City Council will not be able to process the application. Council will not refund fees in this case. You may need to pay a resubmission fee if you resubmit an application that has previously been refused for this reason. If you have any questions about your application, contact the Brisbane City Council Call Centre on 133 BNE (133 263).
Food safety supervisors
The Food Act 2006 requires every licensable food business in Queensland to have a food safety supervisor. Licensees are required to notify the local government that issues the licence of the name and contact details of the food safety supervisor for the food business within 30 days of the licence being issued. Refer to food safety fact sheet 18 Food safety supervisors www.health.qld.gov.au/foodsafety/documents/fs-18-supervisor.pdf for further information about food safety supervisors.
Can it be transferred ?
A food business licence cannot be transferred.
Description of food business categories:
▪ Accommodation meals: Accommodation premises such as motels, hostels, boarding houses, etc where meals are prepared and served to guests but the dining areas are not open to the general public.
▪ Bakery/patisserie: Preparing (with or without packing) bread, biscuits, cakes, pastry or other flour products
▪ Beverage manufacturer or bottler: Preparing or packaging cordials, soft drinks, fruit juices, fruit juice products, brewed soft drinks, mineral or carbonated waters
▪ Café/restaurant: A place where meals and light refreshments are prepared, served and consumed, including a cafeteria, tea room or coffee lounge (called by any name) furnished or fitted with tables, counters, chairs, benches or like facilities designed or adapted for use in serving and consuming food.
▪ Care facility meals: Level 3 Residential Services or other accommodation premises for people with a disability, infirmity, illness, disease, incapacity or other personal care needs, where meals are prepared and served to residents.
-On site: Preparing and serving potentially hazardous food of a predetermined type to a predetermined number of persons served at a predetermined time for a predetermined cost.
-Off site: Serving potentially hazardous food at a place other than the principal place of business for the food business.
-Not for Profit: Preparing of food either on site or off site by religious or charitable organisation.
▪ Child care centre meals: Preparing and serving of snacks and meals as part of a service to a child at the centre.
▪ Delicatessen: Sale of smallgoods, cheeses, antipasto and the like.
▪ Food manufacturer or packer: Making food by combining ingredients, processing or packaging food
▪ Food Shop: Preparing, storing, handling, serving or selling unpackaged food.
Food shop does not include the following types of premises:
- Beverage manufacturer or bottler
- Takeaway food premises
- Mobile food vehicle
▪ Fruit and vegetable processing: Peeling, cutting or combining ingredients to make fruit and vegetable salads and the like.
▪ Hospital meals: Supply of food together with accommodation or service at a Private Hospital; or a State Hospital where the food service is operated by a private food business.
▪ Mobile food vehicle: A vehicle from which meals or light refreshments are prepared and sold in a state ready for immediate consumption, including a snack bar or similar (called by name)
▪ Takeaway food: Preparing and selling meals or light refreshments in a state ready for immediate consumption, including a snack bar or similar (called by any name), not furnished or fitted with tables, counters, chairs, benches or like facilities designed or adapted for use in consuming food.
Further information is available on the Council’s website www.brisbane.qld.gov.au.
Food safety programs
The following food businesses are required to have a food safety program accredited by the local government:
• the food business involved off-site catering
• the primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at the premises stated in the licence
• the primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at part of the premises stated in the licence to cater for 200 or more people on 12 or more occasions in any 12 month period. The food business is carried on as part of the operations of a private hospital or otherwise processes or serves potentially hazardous food to six or more vulnerable persons (e.g. a child care centre or aged care facility).
Food businesses that are required to have an accredited food safety program are required to have an audit conducted by an appropriate auditor approved by the Department of Health within the first six months of accreditation, then at a frequency determined by the local government.
If you operate any other type of food business (other than mentioned above) and you wish to have a food safety program accredited, you may submit your program to your local government.
Please note that licence fees may vary between local governments.
A copy of the Food premises design, Construction and fit-out guide is available for download at http://www.lgtoolbox.qld.gov.au/EH%20Document%20Uploads%20-%20Customer/Food%20Fixed%20Premises%20Fitout%20Guide.pdf. This guide applies to all businesses used or intended to be used for the sale of food for human consumption including existing premises, new premises, domestic premises used for commercial purposes and mobile food vehicles. It aims to provide users with minimum requirements and best practice options to assist in producing food that is safe to eat and free from contamination.
Please contact your local government for further information.
There are a variety of food safety fact sheets available from the Department of Health food safety website www.health.qld.gov.au/foodsafety
All Department of Health food safety resources: www.health.qld.gov.au/foodsafety
Local governments: www.dlg.qld.gov.au/local-government-directory/
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (including the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and Food Safety Standards) www.foodstandards.gov.au
Safe Food Production Queensland www.safefood.qld.gov.au
Queensland Acts and Regulations: www.legislation.qld.gov.au
Local Government Toolbox: www.lgtoolbox.qld.gov.au
Brisbane City Council Food Business Licence Toolbox: www.lgtoolbox.qld.gov.au/BrisbaneCC/EH/FoodBusinessFixed/Pages/Overview.aspx
Contact List (Brisbane & Regional Offices)
Please dial the prefix +61 7 instead of (07) when calling from outside Australia. Please note that you cannot dial 13, 1300 or 1800 numbers from outside Australia.
Brisbane City Council
Library & Customer Centre
266 George Street
Brisbane Q 4000
(GPO Box 1434 Brisbane Q 4001)
Brisbane City Council Call Centre
Ph: (07) 3403 8888
Fax: (07) 3403 9982
Sunnybank Hills Shopping Town
661 Compton Road
Sunnybank Hills Q 4109
Ph: (07) 3403 8888
Fax: (07) 3407 0660
2 Millennium Boulevard
Carindale Q 4152
Ph: (07) 3403 8888
Fax: (07) 3407 1551
70 Station Street
Indooroopilly Q 4068
Ph: (07) 3403 8888
Fax: (07) 3407 0158
960 Gympie Road
Chermside Q 4032
Ph: (07) 3403 8888
Fax: (07) 3407 0750