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Home-based and mixed businesses

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Home-based food businesses can be a hobby for extra income or the start of something much larger. They are manufacturing and wholesaling enterprises but at a smaller scale.

Handling food for sale at an address which is also a domestic premises means there are special food safety issues to consider.

Preparing or storing food at home for later sale (including in-kind rewards) is considered a food business. Requirements to be met are the same as for other retail food businesses.

Examples of home-based food businesses include:

  • preparing food for sale at markets or school canteens in a domestic kitchen
  • bed and breakfast accommodation
  • home-based childcare for a fee involving provision of food
  • home-based catering businesses.

Some of the requirements below also apply where the food premises are mostly commercial and people live at the premises, such as restaurants with accommodation for the restaurant owner, family or staff.

It is the responsibility of each food business to understand relevant food safety requirements and comply with them. Some food businesses engage consultants for expert food safety advice and to help them meet compliance obligations. 

Changes for home-based and mixed businesses

Recent changes to the Food Standards Code introduced new food safety requirements for businesses that handle and serve unpackaged, potentially hazardous, ready-to-eat food. The requirements are outlined in each of the sections below.

See also:

Notification, licensing

Before starting, make sure your proposed activities are allowed by your local council. Some councils may not approve operations involving high-risk foods.

Businesses are encouraged to contact the NSW Food Authority at or on 1300 552 406 before notifying to ensure the correct procedure is followed.

When a food business sells direct to the final customer (e.g. from the premises or from a market/school canteen etc.), local councils will regulate these home-based businesses (unless manufacturing high risk foods, see note below). The business needs to notify the local council of their business and food activity details. Notification is satisfied via applications to local council for services, permits and approvals.

When businesses do not retail food direct to the customer (i.e they sell to another party such as a cafe or restaurant to on-sell), they need to notify the NSW Food Authority of their business and food activity details. Some businesses may also be required to be licensed with the Food Authority.

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.

If manufacturing high-risk foods, you may also be required to hold a licence with the Food Authority to ensure that your business has the capacity to produce safe food before it is supplied to market. These are determined on a case by case basis.

Food Safety Supervisors

Home-based food businesses may be required to appoint a Food Safety Supervisor if they handle and sell food that is:

  • ready-to-eat
  • potentially hazardous (requires temperature control), and
  • not sold in the supplier's original packaging.

For more information see Food Safety Supervisors.

Food businesses that hold a NSW Food Authority licence are not required to appoint a Food Safety Supervisor.

Food handler skills

The owners of food businesses are responsible for making sure that all people who handle food or food contact surfaces in their business, and the people who supervise this work, have the skills and knowledge they need to handle food safely.

Food handlers have specific hygiene obligations which apply to them as individuals and which they must comply with. For further details on handling requirements see health and hygiene requirements for food handlers.

Businesses selling unpackaged, potentially hazardous, ready-to-eat food, must also ensure their food handlers have appropriate skills and knowledge in food safety and hygiene under Standard 3.2.2A of the Code.  This is different to the Food Safety Supervisor requirement.

Businesses can choose how food handlers are trained. They may use or recognise free online food safety training programs, past experience, internal training tailored to suit their own procedures, or courses from vocational training providers.  

Additional training is not needed if food handlers can already demonstrate adequate skills and knowledge for their duties. 

For food businesses that hold a NSW Food Authority licence, these requirements will be met as part of their Food Safety Program.

Showing food is safe

Businesses that undertake higher risk food handling need to be able to demonstrate safe food practices under Standard 3.2.2A of the Code. This requirement ensures the business is actively monitoring and managing key risks related to food temperature control, food processing, and cleaning and sanitising, which are critical for food safety.  

It applies to businesses that process potentially hazardous food into a food that is ready-to-eat and potentially hazardous, and serve it to consumers. “Process” is defined as chopping, cooking, drying, fermenting, heating, thawing and/or washing.

Specific risks relating to potentially hazardous food must be controlled,  including for:  

  • food receipt  
  • storage  
  • display  
  • transport  
  • pathogen reduction (cooking)  
  • minimising time during food processing  
  • cooling food  
  • reheating food  
  • cleaning and sanitising.  

Businesses can meet this requirement by:

  • demonstrating safe food practices, and/or
  • keeping records. 

For more information, including templates for recording keeping, see Showing food is safe.

See also Standard 3.2.2A – Frequently asked questions.

For food businesses that hold a NSW Food Authority licence, these requirements will be met as part of their Food Safety Program.

Food safety controls

There are a number of aspects to safe and hygienic food handling that need to be considered in a home-based food business. These include:

  • avoiding cross contamination between ready-to-eat food and raw food or ingredients – including from food contact surfaces, utensils, sinks, taps, splash areas, tea towels and so on
  • cooking food thoroughly without overloading the oven
  • keeping hot food hot then cool as quickly as possible for storage
  • keeping cold food at or below 5°C
  • monitoring temperature with thermometers in the oven and refrigerator
  • controlling temperatures during transport
  • not re-using food containers and other materials if they are not rated for multiple uses by the manufacturer
  • maintaining hygiene with frequent, adequate hand washing
  • using single-use towels for drying hands and not tea towels
  • having an adequate cleaning regime in place
  • preventing other people living at or visiting the premises from accessing food preparation areas
  • preventing young children and pets from access to food preparation or storage areas.

People operating a domestic food service business should also consider how to keep the operation running if the usual food handlers are sick. People who are sick must not prepare or handle food for sale.

Cleaning and sanitising

Food premises, including fixtures, fittings and equipment must be maintained in a clean condition and all food contact surfaces be cleaned and sanitised.

Cleaning and sanitising are two separate and important tasks.  These critical processes help prevent the growth and spread of organisms that cause food poisoning and help reduce the activity of pests.

A food business must also ensure that eating and drinking utensils, and food contact surfaces of equipment, are clean and sanitised. Garbage and recycled matter needs to be stored in appropriate containers.
The factsheet Cleaning and sanitising in food businesses outlines requirements.


If you are packaging food for sale there are various labelling requirements which include:

  • name of the food
  • production 'lot' of the food prepared under the same conditions during a span of time
  • name and street address in Australia or New Zealand of the supplier of the food
  • list of ingredients
  • ‘best before’ or ‘use-by’ marking as appropriate to the product
  • directions for use and storage
  • a Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) - there is an online calculator to help generate complying NIPs
  • the country of origin of the product and its ingredients
  • warning and advisory statements and declaration of allergens.

Our Labelling fact sheet outlines the requirements.

For further guidance on labelling requirements see FSANZ' user guides and labelling pages, and our labelling resources.


All businesses that manufacture food need to be able to recall or withdraw a product if a problem is detected.


Food safety officers from the Food Authority and environmental health officers (EHOs) from the local council are entitled to visit and inspect premises involved in a food business. Inspection fees may be charged by either agency.

Councils regulate home-based businesses when a food business sells direct to the final customer and may conduct inspections for food standards and other council environmental regulations.

If a food business does not sell direct to the final customer, the business will be regulated by the Food Authority.

The Food Authority’s inspection program across food industries is limited to higher risk operations. Ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous foods such as sandwiches, salads, non-preservative sauces would be routinely inspected, whilst non-potentially-hazardous foods like jams, chutneys, biscuits or chocolates would not.

Whether a home-based food business falls within the inspection program will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Reports of food-borne illness may also require inspections.

The Food Authority will inspect premises for compliance with the Food Standards Code requirements, in particular Food Safety Standards 3.2.2 and 3.2.3. The availability of hand washing facilities is of particular importance.

For packaged foods labelling compliance will be assessed.

The Food Authority will inspect home-based businesses based on risk-based criteria. It does not inspect businesses on request to meet market access conditions required by some councils.

Premises construction

Dedicated food premises are built to meet minimum standards and must be easy to clean. In the case of domestic premises, there may be certain exemptions granted based on practicality and frequency of the business food handling.

Exemptions are not granted for standards relating to flooring in kitchens and storerooms or requirements for personal hygiene areas, amongst others.

Operators of domestic premises need to ensure:

  • adequate hand washing facilities are available - check with local council on what is considered adequate
  • food is kept protected from pests and vermin at all stages, including storage of ingredients
  • premises are designed to exclude pests where practical
  • adequate refrigeration capacity is essential - overloading domestic refrigerators and constantly opening the door means food takes longer to cool and harmful microorganisms have more chance to grow
  • refrigerate foods in small portions to allow proper cooling
  • refrigerated foods should be kept at or below 5°C.

For more on construction requirements see Standard 3.2.3.

Legislation and standards

Like all food businesses, those based at home must meet the same food safety requirements as other retail food businesses.

This includes:

Additional guidance for home-based food businesses on complying with Chapter 3 of the Food Standards Code can be found in the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand Home-based food business guide (PDF 135 KB).

Operators should also consider if requirements set out for manufacturers and wholesalers apply to their business.

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