Market food stall

Use this page to find out Brisbane City Council's requirements for market food stalls.

When you need a licence

If you want to run a stall temporarily to prepare, or handle unpackaged food, for retail sale, you will generally need a food business licence. Even if your food business has a food business licence for a fixed premises or manufacturing facility, you will require a separate temporary food stall licence for the market stall if the food is unpackaged, or if further handling occurs.

Examples of unpackaged food or handled food that needs a licence include:

  • cutting fruit or vegetables
  • fruit or vegetable juice processed at the place of sale
  • sausage sizzle or barbecue
  • cakes or biscuits with dairy fillings or icings
  • unpackaged takeaway foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, pizzas, hot chips or curry
  • unpackaged cooked pasta or lasagne
  • unpackaged yoghurt
  • unpackaged food for taste testing
  • any other unpackaged food, unless included in the exemptions.

If you are a non-profit organisation, different rules may apply.

If you are preparing ingredients or food at another location to sell at the market stall, then this location must be licensed as a food manufacturer. If you plan to do this at home, find out more about getting a food licence for a home-based food business

Examples of food preparation at another location requiring a food manufacturing licence includes:

  • preparing ingredients for use at the stall, for example:
    • cutting vegetables and meat
    • making dough or batter
  • preparing food for sale at the stall, for example:
    • baking cakes
    • making fudge
    • making jam or chutney
  • repackaging food for sale at the stall, for example:
    • packing bulk coffee, herbs, spices or nuts into packages for sale.

When a licence is not needed

You do not need a licence for your temporary food stall if:

  • handling packaged food only
  • selling unpackaged snack food only, including:
    • crosissants, 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, popcorn, crackers or nuts
    • pretzels, puffed rice, soy chips or toasted corn
    • meat jerky, dried or glazed fruit
  • selling whole fruit or vegetables only
  • the sale of 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 such as honey, peanut butter, hazelnut spread, vegemite, marmalade and jam
    • sugar and syrups such as golden syrup, maple syrup, rice syrup, malt syrup glucose syrup and coconut syrup
  • the only preparation carried out involves the grinding of coffee beans
  • selling drinks only (other than fruit or vegetable juice processed at the place of sale), including:
    • tea or coffee
    • soft drinks
    • alcoholic drinks
  • selling ice or flavoured ice only, for example:
    • shaved ice or snow cones
    • slurpees
  • primary produce such as seafood not sold by retail; meat and dairy produced under an accreditation granted under the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000, part 5.

If you are selling pre-packaged food, ensure labelling complies with Queensland Health food labelling requirements.

Licence options and fees

One-off licence

If you want to operate a food stall only occasionally, you can apply for a one-off licence. This allows you to operate a stall on one occasion only, for up to four consecutive days or up to 12 consecutive days. You cannot renew one-off licences. You must lodge a licence application and fees each time you operate. As a general guide, fees that may apply for the 2021-22 year are outlined below.

Table showing one-off licence categories, and fees for up to 4 consecutive days and 12 consecutive days.
One-off categories Up to four consecutive days Up to 12 consecutive days
High Risk
Full preparation where stalls are preparing, storing, handling or cooking unpackaged food, including cooking food on-site for taste testing
$328.90 $396.15
Low Risk
Applies to all other food stalls which do not meet the Level 1 category. Examples include:
  • cutting fruit or vegetables
  • taste testing that only involves the opening of a pre-packaged food
  • selling raw meat, seafood, poultry and dairy
  • sale only of potentially hazardous foods (i.e. no preparation)
$285.65 $328.90

These fees do not attract GST.

Annual licence

If you want to operate a food stall regularly, Council recommends this licence for convenience and to save you money. An annual licence requires only one application and fee to operate your stall a number of times in that year. You will need to list the individual markets or events that you wish to operate at.

Note: the licence covers one stall at a time. If you wish to operate multiple stalls at several markets at the same time, a separate licence is needed for each stall.

The annual licence is renewable. Council issues renewal notices 60 days before expiry.

Type Fees
Annual licence $859.50

How to apply

Council has introduced a free advisory service for new and existing businesses. Contact Council for more information. The advisory service allows you to speak with one of Council’s Environment Health Officers to provide advice on meeting the requirements of the food safety standards and ensure any future application is properly made. To book a meeting with an Environmental Health Officer, please contact Council’s Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263). 

Applications will be assessed between 5 and 10 business days. There are two parts to the application:

Mandatory inspection

Council’s Environmental Health Officers are required to conduct an inspection of your food business prior to issuing you with a food licence. This inspection can only take place once settlement and lease agreements have been finalised and are in force. Additionally, all equipment used for food storage and food preparation, as well as probe thermometers and chemicals such as food grade sanitiser must be present on site prior to assessment of suitability occurs. If you are applying for an annual temporary food business licence, your marquee with floor cover, three walls and a roof will need to be sourced prior to this inspection occurring.

Please consider the above requirements prior to selecting the intended date to start trade.

  1. Temporary food stall licence application:
    • prepare a plan detailing the equipment you will be using and the stall set up. The plan needs to include where you place your cooking storage and hand washing facilities (a basic plan is usually sufficient)
    • complete the temporary food stall licence online application (pay with Visa or Mastercard).
  2. Food safety supervisor notification (for annual licences only):

Alternatively, you can apply by completing the hard copy forms.

Other requirements to consider

Setting up a market stall is more than just applying for a food business licence. Council has developed a checklist to assist in starting and operating a market stall in Brisbane. Download the:

Application Assessment

Prior to the food business licence being issued, Council may require you to set up your stall within the Brisbane City Council area to conduct a full Eat Safe audit of the stall and issue you with your first star rating. Find out more information about Eat Safe Brisbane.

Potentially hazardous food

You must store potentially hazardous food below 5 degrees centigrade or above 60 degrees centigrade to minimise the growth of bacteria in the food.

Examples of potentially hazardous food include:

  • raw and cooked meat or foods containing meat, such as casseroles, curries and lasagne
  • dairy products (e.g. milk, custard, dairy-based desserts)
  • seafood (excluding live seafood)
  • processed fruits and vegetables (e.g. salads)
  • cooked rice and pasta
  • foods containing eggs, beans, nuts or other protein rich foods, such as quiche and soy products
  • foods that contain these foods such as sandwiches and rolls.

More information

The Local Government Toolbox provides helpful tools and resources for temporary food stalls.

For further information, phone Council's Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263).

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Last updated: 1 August 2022

Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.