A market food stall is a common way to start a food business or a way for existing food businesses to reach new customers.

When you need a licence

Any food business wanting to run a stall temporarily to prepare or handle unpackaged food for retail sale generally needs a food business licence. Even if the food business has a food business licence for a fixed premises or manufacturing facility, a separate temporary food stall licence is needed for the market stall if the food is unpackaged or if further handling occurs.

Examples of unpackaged food or handled food that needs a licence include:

  • cutting fruit or vegetables
  • fruit or vegetable juice processed at the place of sale
  • sausage sizzle or barbecue
  • cakes or biscuits with dairy fillings or icings
  • unpackaged takeaway foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, pizzas, hot chips or curry
  • unpackaged cooked pasta or lasagne
  • unpackaged yoghurt
  • unpackaged food for taste testing
  • any other unpackaged food, unless included in the exemptions

If you are a non-profit organisation, different rules may apply.

If you are going to be preparing ingredients or food at another location to sell at the market stall then this location must be licensed as a food manufacturer.  If you plan to do this at home, find out more about getting a food licence for a home based food business.

Examples of food preparation at another location requiring a food manufacturing licence includes:

  • preparing ingredients for use at the stall, for example:
    • cutting vegetables and meat
    • making dough or batter
  • preparing food for sale at the stall, for example:
    • baking cakes
    • making fudge
    • making jam or chutney
  • repackaging food for sale at the stall, for example:
    • packing bulk coffee, herbs, spices or nuts into packages for sale.

When no licence is needed

You do not need a licence for your temporary food stall if:

  • only packaged food is handled
  • only unpackaged snack food is sold, including:
    • croissants, friands, doughnuts, muffins, churros, biscuits or cakes without dairy fillings or dairy icings
    • carob, chocolates, chocolate bars, confectionery or muesli bars
    • dried vegetable chips, corn chips, potato chips, popcorn, crackers or nuts
    • pretzels, puffed rice, soy chips or toasted corn
    • meat jerky, dried or glazed fruit
  • only whole fruit or vegetables are sold
  • the sale of the following, unless it forms a potentially hazardous food:
    • whole, crushed, puffed or toasted nuts, grains and seeds
    • quinoa, spices, dried herbs, tea leaves, coffee beans, cereals or cocoa
    • coconut, couscous, edible oil, flour, legumes, lentils, noodles, oats or pasta
    • preparations for spreading on bread such as honey, peanut butter, hazelnut spread, vegemite, marmalade and jam
    • sugar and syrups such as golden syrup, maple syrup, rice syrup, malt syrup glucose syrup and coconut syrup
  • the only preparation carried out involves the grinding of coffee beans
  • only drinks are sold (other than fruit or vegetable juice processed at the place of sale), including:
    • tea or coffee
    • soft drinks
    • alcoholic drinks
  • only ice or flavoured ice is sold, for example:
    • shaved ice or snow cones
    • slurpees
  • primary produce such as seafood not sold by retail; meat and dairy is produced under an accreditation granted under the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000, part 5

If you are selling pre-packaged food, you must make sure the labelling complies with Queensland Health food labelling requirements.

Licence options and fees

One-off licence

If you want to operate a food stall only occasionally, you can apply for a one-off licence.

This allows you to operate a stall on one occasion only, for up to four consecutive days or up to 12 consecutive days. One-off licences cannot be renewed so you need to lodge a licence application and fees each time you operate. As a general guide, fees that may apply for the 2017-18 year include:

One-off categories Up to four consecutive days Up to 12 consecutive days
High Risk
Full preparation where stalls are preparing, storing, handling or cooking unpackaged food, including cooking food on-site for taste testing
$287.60 $346.35
Low Risk
Applies to all other food stalls which do not meet the Level 1 category. Examples include:

  • cutting fruit or vegetables
  • taste testing that only involves the opening of a pre-packaged food
  • selling raw meat, seafood, poultry and dairy
  • sale only of potentially hazardous foods (i.e. no preparation)
$249.80 $287.60

These fees do not attract GST.

Annual licence

If you want to operate a food stall regularly, an annual licence costs $751.50 during the 2017-18 financial year and is recommended for convenience and to save you money. An annual licence requires only one application and fee to be made and you can operate your stall a number of times in that year. You will need to list the individual markets or events that you wish to operate at.

Note that the licence covers one site at a time. If you wish to operate at several markets or events at the same time, an individual licence is needed for each stall.

The annual licence is renewable and renewal notices are issued 60 days before expiry.

How to apply

Applications must be submitted at least 14 days before the event, and can be submitted to Council up to 30 days before. There are two parts to the application:

  1. Temporary Food Stall Licence Application
    • prepare a plan detailing the equipment you will be using and how the stall is to be set up. The plan needs to include where your cooking storage and hand washing facilities are to be placed, however a basic plan is usually sufficient
    • complete the Temporary food stall licence online application and make payment with Visa or Mastercard
  2. Food Safety Supervisor Notification (for annual licences only)
    • all licensable food businesses in Queensland must have a Food Safety Supervisor. You can nominate this person when you make your Temporary food stall licence online application
    • otherwise you can nominate a Food Safety Supervisor by phone to the Business Hotline Team on 133 BNE (133 263) within 30 days of the licence being issued
    • find out more about Food Safety Supervisors

Alternatively you can apply by completing the hard copy forms.

Other requirements to consider

Setting up a market stall is more than just applying for a food business licence. Council has developed a checklist to assist in starting and operating a market stall in Brisbane:

Application Assessment

Prior to the food business licence being issued, Council will conduct a full Eat Safe audit of the premises. Find out more information about Eat Safe Brisbane.

More information

The Local Government Toolbox provides helpful tools and resources for temporary food stalls.

For further information phone Council’s Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263).

Potentially hazardous food

Potentially hazardous food needs to be kept below 5°C or above 60°C to minimise the growth of bacteria in the food.

Examples of potentially hazardous food include:

  • raw and cooked meat or foods containing meat, such as casseroles, curries and lasagne
  • dairy products, for example milk, custard, and dairy based desserts
  • seafood excluding live seafood
  • processed fruits and vegetables, for example salads
  • cooked rice and pasta
  • foods containing eggs, beans, nuts, or other protein rich foods, such as quiche and soy products
  • foods that contain these foods such as sandwiches and rolls.

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