Food Business Requirements

Food licence for business header 2024

Do I need a licence for my food business?

Weipa Town Authority (WTA) is responsible for licensing certain food premises under the Food Act 2006 and the Food Safety Standards.

The main purpose of the Food Act 2006 is to make sure that food that is prepared and served for sale is safe to eat. 

WTA will make regular checks to make sure that you are complying with the licence.

  • Complete the food business licence application form to seek approval for your food business. An application processing fee and an annual licencing fee will apply. A food business licence is granted for up to 12 months and is renewed every year from 1 October.

    For information on fees see Fees and Charges. A food business licence is granted with a list of operating conditions.

    Allow at least 20 business days for your application to be processed. We will contact you should additional information be required to process your application.

    Before commencing operation, you must contact WTA for an approval inspection.

  • If you are planning on selling or buying a food business there are a few items you need to ensure are completed at the point of sale:

    The intended new operator must have completed an Application for Food Licence and submitted it to WTA with the relevant fees. Note: this must be completed prior to the new owners operating a business as it is an offence under the Food Act 2006 to operate a food business with a food licence.

    The intended new operator must complete a Trade Waste Application Form to apply for a trade waste permit and submit to the WTA with the relevant fees. Note: this must be completed prior to the new owners operating a business as it is an offence under the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 to discharge trade waste to sewer without a permit from the local authority.

    If you intend to refurbish the existing premises you may also require fit-out approval from WTA.

    You may apply for a search for information on the current food business and the conditions of approval. This is where an Environmental Health Officer can perform a desktop audit of previous inspections and licensing records or conduct a physical inspection to identify any compliance issues.

  • A business or organisation may need a food licence under the Food Act 2006 if they sell unpackaged food or handle, prepare, cook, serve or manufacture food.

    Types of businesses include:

    • cafe
    • takeaway food bar
    • restaurant
    • bakery
    • mobile food vehicle
    • market food stall
    • home based business
    • food manufacturer
    • supermarket
    • water carrier
    • childcare centre
    • aged care facility
    • caterer

    Examples of unpackaged foods that need a licence

    If you are preparing any of the following types of unpacked foods, you need a food business licence:

    • fruit or vegetable juice that is processed at place of sale
    • cakes, muffins or biscuits with fresh cream or custard in the filling or icing
    • takeaway food like hot chips and hamburgers
    • making food by combining ingredients like jams, sauces, curries or soup
    • bread and bread rolls
    • sandwiches, including toasting sandwiches at a cafe
    • bulk coffee that is repackaged into smaller containers

    This could include the taste testing of foods. This is not an exhaustive list and if you still have questions about the type of product you are going to prepare and sell, contact us.

  • You do not need a licence for these activities.

    • You only handle pre-packaged food.
    • You only sell whole fruit and vegetables.
    • You produce primary produce such as milk or meat at a butcher, with accreditation. Refer to the Safe Food Production Queensland for more information.
    • You only sell  drinks such as tea, coffee and soft drinks.
    • Selling pre-packaged fruit or vegetable juice. You do not need a food business licence for fruit and vegetable juice not prepared at the place of sale (e.g. ginger juice manufactured elsewhere), but you will need to comply with labelling requirements, and you may need a food manufacturer licence.
    • You only sell snack foods that are not potentially hazardous. For example: 
    • biscuits and cakes (without fresh cream or custard in the filling or icing)
    • chocolates
    • churros
    • confectionary
    • croissants
    • doughnuts
    • muffins (without fresh cream or custard in the filling or icing)
    • popcorn
    • you only sell ice and flavoured ice.

    You may not need a food business licence for these activities listed but you still need to comply with the Food Act 2006.

  • Charity and non-profit organisations share the same responsibilities and obligations as commercial food businesses to comply with the national food safety standards and only sell safe and suitable food.

    A Non-profit organisation does not need a licence unless they are selling meals 12 or more times in a financial year. A meal is food that is meant to be eaten at a table with cutlery. Examples of a meal are:

    • casserole
    • roast meat and vegetables
    • curries and stir-fry

    Examples of food that is not a meal:

    • pie and sausage roll
    • hot dog
    • hamburger and hot chips
    • sausage sizzle
    • soup in a cup.

    You may not need a licence for these activities but all non-profit organisations still need to comply with the Food Act 2006. You can find more information in Queensland Health's Food safety in non-profit organisations.




  • You may be able to obtain a home based food business licence for your home kitchen in the following limited circumstances.

    Where you make only one line of non-potentially hazardous food (PHF). A non PHF is food that does not require to be kept under temperature control to ensure its safety, for example, cakes (without cream) or biscuits, fudge or chocolate, jams, chutneys and preserves, roasting or salting nuts, popcorn, AND

    Where the sale of food being made is not associated with a wholesale business. (i.e. Is not made for supply to other retailers).

    Weipa Town Authority offers a free prelodgement meeting for those who may be interested in applying for a licence to operate a home-based food business. Prelodgement discussions are recommended for both food licence and planning scheme requirements. Please discuss your proposal before you submit an application.

    Simply email us with the following information:

    • What food do you want to make?
    • What are the main ingredients?
    • What is involved in the preparation e.g. baking, frying, mixing, grinding, steaming?
    • The address from which you will be preparing the food?
    • The location from which you propose to sell the food?

    Send your email to and an officer from WTA will contact you to discuss your proposal further.

    For more information see the Home Based Food Business fact sheet



  • The temporary nature of outdoor events and markets means that all of the structural requirements of the food laws cannot be applied. However, certain minimum requirements are necessary to ensure a high standard of food handling and safe food. If food sold at a market stall is not prepared at the stall, you must ensure the premises where it was prepared meets the minimum requirements of the Food Act 2006 and has a licence if needed. This includes food that is prepared at home. 

    A food business licence may be required for your market food stall. A food business licence can be approved for a one off event or for an event over 3 days at the same location.

    Temporary Food Stall Application (Profit)

    Temporary Food Stall Application (Not for Profit)

    For information on minimum standards for a market food stall refer to the Artists impression – minimum standards for the operation of a temporary food stall. You can print off and use labels to mark your waste water, hand washing and utensil containers. The market stall equipment checklist can help you check if you have the right equipment for your market stall.

  • You will need to prepare plans of your food business and submit these to WTA. For mobile and fixed premises, your plans should include:

    • site plan
    • floor plan
    • sectional elevations
    • mechanical exhaust ventilation plan (if applicable).

    Market food stalls need to provide plans detailing equipment (including hand wash facilities) and storage.

    Queensland Health's design and fit-out guide for food businesses provides detailed information and can help you understand the requirements of fixed and mobile food business.

    For further information see:

    Your application will be assessed for compliance with the Food Act 2006 and the Food Safety Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment.

    If you have a fixed or mobile food business or a water carrier, after your design is approved by WTA, you can begin construction.

    Contact WTA to arrange a date and time for final inspection at least one week prior to your opening date. 

How do I run a food business safely

  • Find cleaning and sanitising information from Queensland Health's Food Pantry here.

  • Find temperature control information from Queensland Health's Food Pantry here.

  • Find transporting of food information from Queensland Health's Food Pantry here.

  • Find maintaing records information from Queensland Health's Food Pantry here.

  • Weipa Town Authority takes food safety very seriously. All food businesses have food safety training obligations and the WTA is supporting food businesses to meet these obligations by providing free access to the I’m Alert food safety training course.

    This training will assist food handlers in developing the required skills and knowledge to ensure food is handled in a safe and hygienic manner.

    The program is easy to follow, includes an entertaining presentation as well as interactive quizzes and the ability to view Chinese text and captions. A training acknowledgement form can be printed upon completion and be kept as a part of your staff records.

    About the I'M ALERT food safety training course:

    • Its free
    • has no limit on numbers that can sign up
    • is all online
    • includes interactive quizzes
    • covers over 20 food safety topics
    • provides a training acknowledgement upon completion.

    Click here to commence the training.

  • Find food safety supervisors information from Queensland Health's Food Pantry here.

    Food safety supervisor nomination form


    Limit the time that potentially hazardous food is in the temperate danger zone (between 5°C and 60°C) and comply with the 2 hour/4 hour guide.

    2Hr 4hr rule


  • Find cooling and reheating information from Queensland Health's Food Pantry here.

  • Find food handler hygiene information from Queensland Health's Food Pantry here.

  • Taste testing or sampling of foods can be a great way for your potential customers to ‘try before they buy’. However, if not done properly and hygienically, samples can be a source of food contamination and could spread diseases. Food that is not protected from contamination can make your customers sick.

    There are many potential risks associated with taste testing:

    • people - if people contaminate your food samples by breathing, coughing or touching, diseases can be spread. Someone sneezing nearby could easily contaminate samples that are unprotected
    • bacteria - some bacteria and viruses can survive for hours on the surface of food. Bacteria contamination can occur if samples are not kept at correct temperatures or not separated from other foods that may cause contamination
    • the surrounding environment - animals, dust, foreign objects and chemicals can also cause contamination.

    While taste testing can be an effective way to sell your product, it is in your best interest, and in the interest of your customers' health, to keep your food samples free from all types of contamination.

    Preparing or manufacturing the food

    If you provide taste testing for your customers, you need to ensure that the food has been properly prepared. You need to ensure that the food has been prepared at a premises that complies with the Food Act 2006 and the Food Safety Standards, and is licensed under the Act, if required. If you are cooking, preparing or displaying food samples on site, for example at a market, you may need to hold a licence to operate a temporary food stall. Even if you are offering samples for taste testing of certain pre-packaged foods you may still require a licence to operate a temporary food stall.  All temporary food stalls (regardless of if a licence is needed or not) will need to meet the minimum requirements of the Act and the Food Safety Standards.

    Transporting the food

    All food must be protected from contamination during transport. It should be kept totally sealed and transported in a clean vehicle.

    • If the food is potentially hazardous (that is, required to be kept hot or cold), careful consideration must be given to how you are going to transport the food and maintain correct temperatures.
    • Cold food must be kept at 5°C or less. Use refrigerated vehicles or, for shorter time periods, an esky packed with ice.
    • Hot food must be kept at 60°C or higher. Use vehicles that are equipped to keep food hot or, for shorter time periods, insulated hot bags.
    • You must have a food thermometer with you to ensure that food is kept at the required temperatures at all times.
    • Where potentially hazardous food has not been kept under temperature control for a period exceeding 4 hours, for example during transporting or display, this food must be discarded. It must not be sold, given away or offered for sampling.

    Serving the food

    When serving, it is important to keep the food protected from all the different types of contamination.

    Ways to protect food from contamination

    • Provide single serves of your product. Use disposable cups, spoons, toothpicks or other implements to minimise the amount of handling by the customer.
    • Provide a physical barrier, such as Perspex between the customer and the food.
    • Display small quantities, so that food samples have less time to become contaminated.
    • If required, keep the food samples hot (above 60ºC) or cold (below 5ºC). Some samples may be able to be kept without temperature control, provided that time and temperatures are carefully monitored.
    • Signage must be displayed adjacent to the taste testing stating ‘No double dipping, single serve only’. Supervise the samples to ensure that customers do not contaminate by re-dipping spoons or other items.
    • Provide litter containers so that customers can dispose of single use items, leaving the area clean and tidy.
    • Use tongs and gloves when you handle samples.

    Food samples that are manufactured, prepared, transported and served correctly will have much less risk of contamination and will help you present a quality product for taste testing. 

  • Find Potentially hazardous foods and processes information from Queensland Health's Food Pantry here.