Non-profit organisations

A non-profit organisation that involves the sale, on at least 12 days each financial year, of meals prepared by the organisation at a particular place is a licensable food business.

When you need a licence

Under the Food Act 2006, a meal is defined as food that:

  • 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
  • is of adequate substance as to be ordinarily accepted as a meal.

Examples that need a licence include:

  • 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 person at a homeless persons hostel
  • the preparation of meals by Meals on Wheels
  • mobile food van (providing meals) at a sporting ground.

When no licence is needed

A non-profit organisation is not a licensable food business if:

  • the meals consist only of fruit, cereal, toast or similar food
  • the meals are prepared as part of an educational or training activity conducted by the organisation involving food preparation, hospitality or catering
  • the meals are pre-prepared by an entity other than the non-profit organisation and are stored and heated or otherwise prepared by the organisation in accordance with directions of the meal's manufacturer
  • it provides only: whole fruit or vegetables, drinks such as cordial, milk, Milo or juice, chips, nuts or dried fruit, croissants, friands, doughnuts, muffins, biscuits, slices or cakes that are not potentially hazardous (that is, they do not contain fresh custard or cream and are shelf stable, for example banana cake, Anzac biscuits, blueberry muffins)
  • if the food does not constitute a meal, for example, a sausage sizzle, therefore a not-for-profit organisation does not need a food licence.

Exemption from fees and charges

Charitable and religious organisations listed in Appendix A of the Schedule of Fees and Charges are exempt from licence fees.

To be eligible for inclusion in Appendix A of the Schedule of Fees and Charges, Charitable Organisations must:

  • hold registration with the Queensland Government Office of Fair Trading as a Charitable Purpose (CH type), registration as a Community Purpose (CP type) is not sufficient; and
  • make an application in writing to the Chief Financial Officer, Brisbane City Council.

How to apply

Although charitable and religious organisations are exempt from licence fees as outlined above, the food business is still required to submit the relevant application forms to hold a licence if one is required. Refer to starting a new food business for details on how to apply for a food business licence.

More information

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


Last updated: 20 July 2022

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