Licensing and notifying
Food businesses in NSW must either hold a licence from the NSW Food Authority or notify their business details to the relevant body.
A range of producers and food businesses must hold a Food Authority licence to operate in NSW. Licensing ensures businesses can produce safe food before it is supplied to the market. Businesses requiring a licence include:
- eggs – producers (except small egg farms), graders, processors and storage facilities
- dairy - dairy producers, factories, stores and vendors
- meat - businesses that handle, process, pack or store red meat or poultry (except small poultry meat farms) for humans or animals. Includes retail butchers
- seafood - businesses that handle and wholesale seafood (excluding shellfish)
- shellfish - businesses that cultivate, harvest or depurate shellfish
- plant products - businesses producing products such as seed sprouts, vegetables in oil or unpasteurised juices
- vulnerable persons - food service to vulnerable persons in hospitals and aged care facilities
- transporters – businesses that transport any of the foods above.
Find out more and apply for a Food Authority licence
Food businesses that do not need a Food Authority licence must notify their details to either their local council or the Food Authority, depending on the type of business.
Notification is usually free. Which organisation to notify depends on the type of business.
Local council notification
All retail food businesses must notify their local council before they begin to trade. These businesses include:
- restaurants, cafés and takeaways
- mobile food outlets
- food stall holders at regular, temporary or one-off events
- grocery stores and supermarkets
- businesses which sell food as a smaller part of their business such as chemists, cinemas, corner stores, petrol stations and sporting facilities
- childcare providers that provide food
- school canteens
- importers of food or ingredients that retail the product from their business premises
- seafood retailers (unless they hold a Food Authority licence).
Notification means advising the local council of your business details, including trading name, contact details, location(s), owner details and information indicating the nature of your food business.
Councils collect this information in different ways. You may need to apply for a service, permit or approval, or complete a notification form. A good place to start is your local council’s website. Contact them if you are unsure.
- Contact your local council.
Food Authority notification
Businesses that need to notify to the Food Authority include:
- home-based food businesses that do not retail their product from the home premises
- food manufacturers or wholesalers that do not hold a Food Authority licence
- importers that do not retail their product from their business premises
- small egg farms (fewer than 20 dozen eggs/week)
- small poultry meat farms (growing fewer than 100 birds)
- businesses that transport live poultry
- retail food businesses in areas not governed by a local council, such as NSW waterways (waterborne businesses), Sydney Harbour Trust sites, Lord Howe Island, Kosciusko National Park, and the unincorporated far west.
You need to keep your notification up to date if any details change after you have notified. If your details change contact the NSW Food Authority at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 1300 552 406.
Notification records are private for each food business, so if you purchase an existing business you need to notify the business again with your details.
Exempt from notification
Businesses that do not need to notify their business and activity details or hold a Food Authority licence include:
- one off not-for-profit fundraising events, and food operations that provide food free to the community
- primary production food businesses, such as beef cattle, sheep, and vegetable enterprises (except dairy, egg and/or poultry meat farms, and seafood, fishing or shellfish production, which require a food licence).