Licences

Businesses in the Cairns Regional Council area that sell or handle food may require a licence and follow regulations set down in the Food Act 2006 and the Food Standards Code.

Please note that significant penalties apply for food businesses operating without a food business licence. 

For more information on what businesses require licences see the table below. 

To make an application for a Food Business Licence please choose from the types of businesses listed below the table. 

Do I need a licence if I.... Yes No
Only sell hot coffee, hot tea, water*, soft drinks   No
Sell packaged snack foods   No
Sell freshly prepared juices Yes  
Manufacture cakes, biscuits, bread or confectionery, or snack foods* Yes No, sale of unpackaged snack food made by licensed manufacturer
Repack spices, tea, confectionery, snack food**   Yes, for retail distribution No, if packaged at the place of retail sale
Run a mobile food van Yes No, if only selling pre-packaged and labelled food
Run a restaurant, cafe or takeaway outlet Yes  
Run a bakery Yes  
Have a home-based food business Yes  
Run a market stall or temporary food stall Yes  
Roast coffee Yes  

*Water carriers selling potable water by retail and manufacturers of bottled water are required to have a food business licence. The sale of bottled water and water by the glass does not require a food business licence.

**Snack food is defined as any of the following food that is not potentially hazardous, a) biscuits or cakes; b) confectionery, corn chips, potato chips or nuts; c) dried or glazed fruit; d) other food prescribed under a regulation. 

If you are still unsure if you require a licence, please contact an Environmental Health Officer on 4044 3044 or at LicensingandApprovals@cairns.qld.gov.au

Fixed premises

A fixed premises is a building or other structure, or part of a building or other structure, that has a permanent address.

Apply for a licence for a new business (including information and forms for submitting plans for your food business)

Apply for a licence to take over an existing business

Renew, update, restore or amend an existing licence

Mobile food van

A mobile food van is any vehicle that sells unpackaged food on a retail basis or a food vending machine.

Read about requirements for operating a mobile food van ( PDF, 0.43 MB ).

Apply for a licence for a new business (including information and forms for submitting plans for your food business)

Apply for a licence to take over an existing business

Renew, update, restore or amend an existing licence

Market food stall

A market food stall is a temporary premise. Food preparation is limited to low-risk foods. No cooking or reheating is permitted.

Read the guide for market food stalls ( PDF, 0.19 MB ) for more information about operating a temporary food premises at a market site.

Apply for a licence for a Market Food Stall ( PDF, 0.06 MB ).

Temporary food premises

Food sold at events held over a limited time period (a few days) from temporary premises, such as tents or stalls, also require a licence. Events include festivals, concerts, outdoor performances, sporting events.

Read the guide for temporary food premises ( PDF, 0.25 MB ) for more information and application forms.

For non-profit organisations, please read the guide and submit the notification form ( PDF, 0.26 MB ) at the end of the guide.

Home-based food businesses

Thinking of cooking a few cakes for a market stall, wedding etc, then you need town planning approval and a food business licence.

Read about requirements for preparing food at home ( PDF, 0.03 MB )

Apply for a licence for a new business (including information and forms for submitting plans for your food business)

Apply for a licence to take over an existing business

Renew, update, restore or amend an existing licence

Last updated: 16 December 2016