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
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.
Markets, temporary events, food stalls and similar retail food outlets need to notify the local council of their business and food activity details.
How you notify your details will depend on the council. It may involve applying for a service, permit or approval, or completing a food business notification form. Checking their website is a good place to start.
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 businesses operating at markets and temporary events will need to appoint a Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) if the food they prepare and serve is:
- potentially hazardous (needs temperature control), and
- not sold and served in the supplier's original package.
One FSS needs to be appointed for each premises (such as the tent or stall structure). If you have more than one premises at the event, then a different FSS needs to be appointed for each premises.
You must keep a copy of the certificate at the stall.
See Food Safety Supervisors for information on how to obtain a certificate.
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.
Businesses selling unpackaged, potentially hazardous, ready-to-eat food, must 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.
- See Food Handler Basics training for more information and to access the NSW Food Authority’s free training course.
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
- 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.
Operators of temporary food stalls 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, etcetera.
See also, inspections.
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.
Temporary food stalls need to practice safe food handling and preparation to meet the same food safety requirement as other retail food businesses.
- notifying the local council of their business and food activity details
- appointing a Food Safety Supervisor
- meeting the requirements of the Food Standards Code