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Markets and temporary events

Businesses that sell food at temporary events such as fairs, festival, markets and shows are considered retail food businesses as they sell food to the public, and need to meet a range of requirements.

Mobile food vendors who sell food at temporary events should visit the mobile food vendors section for further information.

Changes for markets and temporary events

The advice on this page is current. From 8 December there are new food safety requirements for some businesses.

Notification, licensing

Markets, temporary events, food stalls and similar retail food outlets need to notify the local council of their business and food activity details.

From 1 September 2015, notification is satisfied via applications to local council for services, permits and approvals.

Council approvals

Local councils are generally responsible for the approval of temporary events.

Some councils require development consent for temporary events, so you may be required to lodge a development application.

Some councils require the temporary site itself to be registered/approved. For example, they may require s68 approval to operate issued under the Local Government Act 1993.

It is important to check specific requirements with the relevant local council well before the event.

Food safety supervisors

Food businesses operating mobile food vending vehicles may need to appoint a Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) if the food they prepare and serve is:

  • ready-to-eat
  • potentially hazardous (ie needs temperature control)
  • not sold and served in the supplier's original package.

The business needs to ensure an FSS is appointed and the FSS certificate is available in the vehicle before commencement of operation.

Please see the Food Safety Supervisor section of the website for information on how to obtain a certificate.

Food safety controls

Operators of temporary food stalls also need to practice safe food handling including:

  • storing potentially hazardous foods at the correct temperature
  • avoiding cross contamination
  • storing raw food separately from ready to eat food
  • keeping food handling areas clean
  • ensuring food handlers have the appropriate food safety skills and knowledge
  • not handling food when ill
  • practicing effective handwashing
  • checking that packaged food is appropriately labelled.

Further information on what is required is available in the Guidelines for food businesses at temporary events document and includes a self checklist for businesses, based on the requirements in the Food Standards Code.


The inspection of retail food businesses trading at temporary events is conducted by council environmental health officers (EHOs) who are authorised officers under the Food Act 2003.

They check that good food safety practices are in place such as temperature control, cleanliness, hand washing and labelling.

Inspections at all temporary food events may not be possible. Small events where low risk foods are sold may not require inspection.

Large events, particularly where high risk food is sold, or those that have had a poor compliance history are likely to be inspected.

Councils adopt a risk-based approach when inspecting food businesses at temporary events to determine which businesses to inspect. The risk factors considered are:

  • number of food businesses trading at the event
  • type of food being sold at the event (potentially hazardous food vs non potentially hazardous food)
  • estimated number of visitors to the event
  • duration of the event
  • any complaints made against food businesses trading at the event
  • compliance history of the event
  • access to facilities and services such as potable water, sewer etc.

Premises construction

Temporary food stalls need to ensure the stall is:

  • located in a dust free area
  • away from toilets and garbage bins
  • supplied with sufficient potable water
  • is suitably constructed (ie. floor, walls and ceiling)
  • fitted with food handling facilities for storage, cooking, hot/cold holding, preparation and serving, including handwashing facilities.

See also: Guidelines for food businesses at temporary events

Legislation & standards

Temporary food stalls need to practice safe food handling and preparation to meet the same food safety requirement as other retail food businesses.

This includes: