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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.

Licences

Approximately 15,000 businesses in the food industry need to hold a Food Authority licence to operate in NSW.

Licensing is used to ensure that a business has the capacity to produce safe food before it is supplied to the market.

Businesses that need to hold a licence with the Food Authority include:

  • eggs – producers (other than 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 (other than small poultry meat farms) for humans or animals.  Includes retail butchers 
  • seafood - businesses that handle and wholesale seafood excl. 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.

Apply for a licence

You can apply and pay for a licence online.

Or you can download a form, print and post it with your payment to:  NSW Food Authority, PO Box 6682, Silverwater NSW 1811.

Dairy

Application for a food premises to produce, process or store dairy products (LIC001)

online
print

Eggs

Application for a business to produce/process/store eggs & egg related products (LIC004)

online
print

Meat

Application for a food premises to process/store meat (LIC003)

online
print

Poultry

Application for a business to produce poultry (LIC009)

online
print

Plant products

Application for a food premises to process/store plant products (LIC002)

online
print

Seafood

Application for a seafood business (excluding shellfish) (LIC006)

online
print

Shellfish

Application for shellfish cultivation or harvest (LIC008)

online
print

Vulnerable persons

Application for food preparation and service to vulnerable persons(LIC005)

online
print

Transport

Application for food transport vehicles (LIC007)

online
print

You must not commence operations until you are informed that your licence application has been processed.

If the premises are found to be operating without a licence, enforcement action may be taken.

Licensing process

Businesses need to:

  1. submit a licence application form, online or by post 
  2. pay a one-off application fee and first annual licence fee
  3. be ready to meet relevant food standards, as set out for each industry sector
  4. be ready to be audited or inspected.

When the Food Authority has reviewed the application and is satisfied the business can meet food safety standards, it will issue the licence and any appropriate stamps and brands.

In some cases a licence can be issued pending completion of the audit or inspection.

If the result of the audit or inspection is unacceptable, the licence may not be approved and the licence application may be rejected.

A Food Authority licence is not transferable from one person or business to another.

Processing times

We will assess your application and write to you within 10 working days to let you know if we need any more information.

In that letter we will also let you know a timeframe for any audit or inspection that is needed.

We aim to finalise your application within 4 weeks after the audit or inspection. 

Permissions and conditions

When the licence is issued, it will set out the specific food activities and processes which are permitted.

There may also be conditions applied to the licence. These can be varied by notice in writing from the Food Authority.

Display

On every premises to which the licence relates, a copy of the licence needs to be displayed.

For food transport vehicles which need a Food Authority licence, we will send a label or sticker which needs to be displayed on the vehicle at all times.

Fees & payment

Calculation

The licence fee applied to your business is calculated based on the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) food handlers involved in food handling.

The number of FTE food handlers is used as it also accommodates businesses who use part-time food handlers in their operations. For the purposes of this calculation, an FTE working week is 38 hours.

To calculate the number of FTE food handlers your business has, add up all the hours that the food handlers are undertaking food handling activities during a working week and divide by 38 hours (average working week).

For example, if a facility had 4 food handlers to handle food for 25 hours per week, this would equate to approximately 3 FTE food handlers.

Fees are set out in Schedule 4 of the Food Regulation 2015.

Fees are indexed each year with the change in the Consumer Price Index.

Payment

If you are applying online you will be asked to make a credit card or BPAY payment at the end of the application.

If you are posting your application you can pay by:

  1. Credit card:
    • To pay by MasterCard and Visa card, please fill in the card details on the licence application form
    • A 0.4% merchant surcharge will occur on credit card transactions
    • Please note: We do not accept American Express.
       
  2. BPAY, internet banking or telephone:
    • submit your completed application form without payment to the Licensing Unit by
      • Fax to 02 6552 7239
      • Post to PO Box 232, Taree NSW 2430
      • Email to food.licensing@dpi.nsw.gov.au
      • An invoice will then be forwarded to you for payment.
         
  3. Cheque or money order:
    • Mail money order or cheque, crossed ‘Not negotiable’ and made out to NSW Food Authority, with completed application form to:
      NSW Food Authority
      PO Box 6682, Silverwater NSW 1811.

Licence holders can apply to pay the annual fee by installments - contact the Licensing Unit on 02 6552 3000. 



Notification

Oversight of the approximately 40,000 food businesses in NSW is enabled by businesses notifying their details to the appropriate body.

Notification is usually free.  

Which organisation to notify depends on the type of food business: 

Local council

Businesses that need to notify to local council operate at the retail level and include:

From 1 September 2015, you do not need to notify your business details to the Food Authority. 

The Food Authority accepts that business applications to local council for services, permits and approvals, and rates notice registrations satisfy the requirement for food businesses to notify to local council. 

Contact your local council.

Food Authority

Businesses that need to notify to the Food Authority include:

You need to keep your notification up to date if any details change after you have notified, so it's a good idea to keep your reference number and password.

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.

To notify now visit www.foodnotify.nsw.gov.au

If any of your details change you need to update them by contacting the NSW Food Authority at food.licensing@dpi.nsw.gov.au or on 1300 552 406, option 2.

Exempt from notification

Businesses that do not need either to notify their business and activity details nor hold a Food Authority licence include:

  • not-for-profit fundraising events and charities, as long as any food that requires temperature control will be consumed immediately after thorough cooking
  • primary production food businesses such as farms other than dairy, egg or poultry meat farms, fishing or shellfish production are not exempt and need either a licence or to notify.
     

Changes to notification requirements

From 1 September 2015, most retail food businesses no longer need to notify their business and food handling details to the Food Authority.

The Food Authority recognises that business details supplied by retail food businesses to councils meet legal requirements and the notification outcome intended under the Food Standards Code.

This change benefits retail food businesses such as restaurants, cafes, caterers, supermarkets and mobile and temporary food vendors. These businesses now only need to give their business details once – to their local council.

For more see notification requirements for food businesses (pdf 205kb).