Food service, licensing and safety for community organisations

Use this page to find out about food service, licensing and safety for community organisations including kitchen/canteen management, food safety, serving healthy food and drink options and more.

Providing safe food to your customers is not only good for you operationally, it is also required by law. Queensland legislation ensures food businesses sell food that is safe and suitable for consumption.

Do I need a food business licence?

The Food Act 2002 (Qld) requires certain food businesses where food is prepared, packed, stored, handled, served or supplied to be licensed with Brisbane City Council. A not-for-profit community organisation that involves the sale of meals prepared by the organisation at a particular place, on at least twelve days each financial year, is considered to be a 'licensable food business'. So, if you are regularly preparing and selling meals (i.e. that is food that is eaten at a table and is of adequate substance to be considered a meal), you need a food business licence. Mobile food vans or food trucks providing meals at a sporting ground must also have a food business licence.

There are several instances where a not-for-profit organisation does not require a food business licence such as providing cereals, toast, pre-prepared meals that are stored and heated according to instructions, whole fruits and vegetables, packaged chips and nuts, shelf-stable bakery items such as banana bread and muffins and foods that do not constitute a meal (e.g. sausage sizzle).

Visit the non-profit organisations page in Council's food business licences content for more information.

Kitchen and canteen management options

If your organisation is wanting to provide food services, you should consider your kitchen and/or canteen management options and select the option best suited to your customers, facilities and operations.

Kitchen and/or canteen management options may include:

  • contracting out the kitchen and/or canteen (requires a usage agreement approved by Council as landlord)
  • employing a caterer to provide a catering service for your organisation as a fee for service
  • employing and managing staff to provide the desired catering services for your organisation
  • hiring out the kitchen for commercial purposes, with the food to be sold off site (requires Council approval as landlord and may also required development assessment approval).

For further advice on your kitchen and/or canteen management options and the approvals required, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Food Safety Program

All food businesses can apply to be a Food Safety Program (FSP) accredited with Council; however, a licensable food business must have an accredited FSP if the primary activity of the food business is onsite catering at the premises.

An FSP is designed to help you to:

  • identify food safety hazards
  • identify control measures for these hazards
  • provide systematic monitoring of food safety hazards.

Find out more about Coucnil's Food Safety Program.

Food Safety Supervisor

All licensable food businesses in Queensland must have a Food Safety Supervisor.

Food trucks

If you are wanting to have food trucks at one of your events, you may require a permit. Contact Council's Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263) to find out if you need a permit and if so, how to apply.

If you want to find food trucks to attend your next event, search Brisbane Food Trucks app for a list of Brisbane food trucks, their profiles and contact details.

Serving healthy food and drink options

Serving healthy food and drink options helps your organisation provide a healthy, safe and family-friendly environment for members and guests. It can also increase your organisation's reputation in the local community and with sponsors and lead to increased revenue streams.

Introducing healthier food and drink options can be simpler than you think. Visit the Queensland Government's Food for Sport page for advice about how to provide and promote healthier food and drink options. While the information is targeted at sporting organisations, it can easily be applied to any community organisation.

The Good Sports Healthy Eating Program also provides advice and support to sports organisations to introduce healthier food and drink choices.  The program focuses on increasing the range of healthy food and drink options your offer, safe food handling, promoting healthy habits (e.g. water being the drink of choice), supporting healthy fundraising activities, and creating a healthy food and drink policy. The program can be tailored to the needs of each organisation and applies to all types of community organisations.

Visit the Australian Government's nutrition and healthy eating information for more advice and resources on healthy eating.

Resources and support

  • Queensland Health - find information on understanding your legal responsibilities, how to comply with relevant food safety standards and guidance on specific events such as sausage sizzles and fundraising activities

More information

For more advice about food service and licensing requirements, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Related links

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