Food manufacturing

If you are planning on manufacturing food, you will need a food business licence from Brisbane City Council.


The Food Act 2006 defines food manufacturing as:

  • making food by combining ingredients, such as producing frozen meals in a factory and producing cake mixes
  • significantly changing the condition or nature of food by any process, such as milling flour and peeling, cutting and freezing vegetables
  • bottling or canning food including for example, bottling water or canning fruit
  • packing unpackaged food, other than unprocessed primary produce
  • making ice.

It does not include preparing food at a particular place for retail sale at the place, including sale for immediate consumption for example:

  • preparing food at a restaurant for sale to a person dining in the restaurant
  • preparing and packing sandwiches in a package at a cafe for retail sale at the cafe
  • preparing food for a food business that involves off-site catering
  • making ice at a particular place for use at the place
  • changing the condition of food merely by changing its temperature.


As a general guide, for a new food manufacturing premises, fees that may apply for the 2018-19 financial year include:

Table showing size of premises, design application fees, food licence fees and food safety supervisor fees.
Size of premises Design application Food licence
Less than 250 square metres $380.85 $770.30
250 square metres to 1000 square metres $622.95 $1052.15
Over 1000 square metres $826.25 $3287.80

These fees do not attract GST.

If a Food Safety Program is required for the business, an additional fee will be incured.

How to apply

The application process includes a number of steps. You can complete them all online using the Application for Food Business Approvals online form.

Before submitting an application, review helpful hints about preparing an application and common application problems to avoid.

The food business licence roadmap (PDF - 61kb) follows two stages. Stage 1 is a design assessment and stage 2 is the food business licence assessment.

Step 1: Design assessment

Application for design assessment

  • this application must be lodged first, and will take approximately 20 business days to be assessed
  • make sure you have design plans ready, then you can lodge a design assessment using the Application for Food Business Approvals online form and pay with a Visa or Mastercard
  • further requirements for a licensed kitchen are detailed in the design and fit-out guide for food businesses located on the application process and assessment page of the Local Government Toolbox website.

Step 2: Food Business Licence Assessment

Application for Food Business Licence

  • after the design assessment is approved and fit-out has started, an application for a food business licence must be submitted no more than 30 days before the desired start date of operation
  • you can lodge the food business licence application using the Application for Food Business Approvals online form and pay with a Visa or Mastercard
  • before you can start operating, an Environmental Health Officer will conduct a final site inspection
  • the Food Business Licence will be issued when the completed fit out has been approved.

Food Safety Supervisor Notification

  • all licensable food businesses in Queensland must have a Food Safety Supervisor. You can nominate this person when you make your licence application using the Application for Food Business Approvals online form
  • otherwise you can nominate a Food Safety Supervisor by phone to the Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263) within 30 days of the permit being issued
  • find out more about Food Safety Supervisors.

Alternatively you can download the hard copy forms.

Other approvals

You may require planning approvals for industry or home business.

Council has developed a food business checklist (Word - 110kb) to assist in considering approvals that may be required to start and operate a food business in a fixed location.

Preparing for Council inspection

Before you start trading, a Council Environmental Health Officer will conduct a final inspection of the food premises to ensure it is constructed in accordance with the approved design plans. To arrange your final inspection, contact Council approximately one week before construction is due to finish to schedule a suitable date and time.

To limit delays, use the Food Business Final Inspection Checklist (Word - 134kb) to confirm that essential works have been completed before the date of your final inspection.

Application assessment

Prior to the food business licence being issued, Council will conduct a full Eat Safe audit of the premises.  Find out more information about Eat Safe Brisbane.

More information

The Local Government Toolbox provides helpful tools and resources.

For more information phone Council's Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263), 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Last updated:13 May 2019