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Licensable food businesses

A licensable food business is a food business that:

  • involves the manufacture of food (making food by combining ingredients)
  • is carried on by an entity other than a non-profit organisation and involves the sale of unpackaged food by retail. For example:
    • restaurant, cafĂ© or bar
    • take away food shop
  • is carried on by a non-profit organisation and involves the sale, on at least 12 days each financial year, of meals prepared by the organisation at a particular place. For example:
    • 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.


If your food business meets one or more of the following criteria, you do not require a licence.

  1. the production of primary produce under an accreditation granted under the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000, part 5 (for example the Meat Scheme, Seafood Scheme, Dairy Scheme and Egg Scheme). The regulation of this Act is the responsibility of Safe Food Production Queensland.
  2. the sale of unpackaged snack food
  3. the sale of whole fruit or vegetables
  4. the sale of seeds, spices, dried herbs, tea leaves, coffee beans or ground coffee
  5. the grinding of coffee beans
  6. the sale of drinks (other than fruit or vegetable juice processed at the place of sale) including, for example, tea, coffee, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks
  7. the sale of ice including flavoured ice.

Exemption criteria for non-profit organisations

  1. the sale of meals if—the meal consists only of fruit, cereal, toast, or similar food—or the consumer of the meal helps to prepare it.
  2. the sale of meals 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 manufacturer. (For example the sale 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).
  3. the sale by a non-profit organisation of a meal prepared as part of an educational or training activity conducted by the organisation involving food preparation, hospitality or catering.
  4. the sale of meals by a surf lifesaving club that is a non-profit organisation, when a member is involved in the preparation of the meal and the meal is sold to a member of the club for a nominal fee.

Non-profit organisations

Non-profit organisations have a number of exemptions under the Food Act 2006. These are listed above.

Find documents that outline the requirements that will affect non-profit organisations

Mobile food businesses

A mobile food business is only required to have a food business licence in one of the local government areas within which they intend to operate.

Details of the licence must be displayed at mobile premises, in a prominent position so the details are easily visible to customers

A mobile food premises is one that includes:

  • a vehicle from which a person sells unpackaged food by retail
  • a food vending machine.

It does not include:

  • a food transport vehicle that is only used to transport food for a business for off-site catering
  • a food delivery vehicle.

Food businesses operating from mobile premises are required to comply with the provisions of the Food Act 2006 and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, and are subject to the same licensing requirements as a food business operating from fixed premises.

A register of mobile food businesses is publicly available and contains licence details of each mobile food business.

More information

Types of businesses that need licencing for food handling

Food safety- information sets and resources

Last updated: 26 July 2019