Temporary food business

Temporary food businesses are temporary structures that are:

  • used to prepare and sell food at occasional events such as a fete, market or show; AND
  • dismantled after the event, like a stall, tent or barbeque stand.

They can also include parts of structures or land, and permanent structures not owned or leased by the business and used occasionally (eg, a community hall).

A Temporary Food Business operator must comply with the Food Act and Food Safety Standards in order to protect consumers.

Note:  different rules apply for non-profit organisations running a sausage sizzle or barbecue.

Licence requirements

If you want to prepare or handle unpackaged food for retail sale from a temporary structure, you will generally need a Temporary Food Business Licence.  (Different rules apply for non-profit organisations and market stalls selling only fresh fruit and vegetables.)

If you prepare ingredients or food at another location (eg, fixed premises, manufacturing facility or home-based kitchen) to sell from the temporary structure, you will need a separate food licence.

Licence requiredLicence not required

Unpackaged food or handled food including:

  • cutting fruit or vegetables (* use Market Food Stall application ( PDF, 0.13 MB ))
  • fruit or vegetable juice processed   at the place of sale
  • sausage sizzle or barbecue (* except for non-profit organisations)
  • 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.

Note: even though a licence may not be required, these types of businesses must ensure the sale of safe and suitable food, and comply with the Food Safety Standards.

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

Food preparation at another location including preparing ingredients for use at  the stall, eg:

  • cutting vegetables and meat
  • making dough or batter

The sale of the following takes place, 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

Preparing food for sale at the stall, eg:

  • baking cakes
  • making fudge
  • making jam or chutney

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

Repackaging food for sale at the stall, eg:

  • packing bulk coffee, herbs, spices or nuts into packages for sale.
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

Single Event licence

If you want to operate a Temporary Food Business only occasionally, you can apply for a Single Event licence.

This allows you to operate a stall on one occasion only, for up to 4 consecutive days. Single Event licences cannot be renewed, so you need to lodge a new licence application and pay the fee each time you operate.

Annual licence

If you want to operate from a temporary food premises regularly, you should apply for an annual licence.

This requires only one application and fee, and you can operate a number of times in that year. You will need to list the individual markets or events that you wish to operate at.

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

Note:  Annual licence holders also need to nominate a Food Safety Supervisor.

Market Food Stall licence

This is a different category of a Temporary Food Business Licence which permits only the cutting up fruit and vegetables at the market food stall.

All other forms of food preparation, cooking and re-heating within a Market Food Stall are not allowed; these tasks must be done in an approved kitchen.

How to apply

Applying for a Temporary Food Business Licence is a two-part process which requires a single application form. You can submit your application to Council at least 30 days before the event.

Step 1: Plan the stall design and construction

Prepare a plan detailing the equipment you will use and how you will set up the stall.

The plan needs to include where your cooking, storage and hand washing facilities are to be placed; a basic plan clearly labelling the equipment is usually sufficient.  Refer to the Stall design and construction page for more information.

You will need to include this plan in your Temporary Food Business Licence application form (see Step 2).

Step 2: Apply for Temporary Food Business Licence


To ensure you receive your approval in time, you should fully complete and submit your application together with required attachments and relevant fee at least 30 days prior to the event.  In some circumstances, Council may require further information and can extend this timeframe if required.

The applicant for a licence must be a legal entity, ie a person or company. A business name or trading name is not a legal entity and cannot be the licence holder.

The applicant applying for the Temporary Food Business Licence should be the person or company intending on operating the food business.


During the Temporary Food Business Licence application process, Council will assess the suitability of the operator to safely prepare and serve food to the public.  We will also assess the set-up of the temporary premises.

If Council is satisfied that you meet these requirements, you will be issued with a Temporary Food Business Licence.

Stall design and construction guidelines

Your Temporary Food Business must be suitable for preparing, storing, handling and selling food. The Food Safety Standards set out minimum standards for stall construction.

Premises design

  • Your stall should have a roof and 3 sides/walls.  These should be made from plastic sheeting, vinyl or other material that is non-absorbent, easily cleaned and suitably fire retardant (where relevant). This will help to protect the food from contamination.
  • If you intend to erect your stall on unsealed ground, you will need to lay and secure a floor covering (eg. non-slip vinyl secured with pegs) to provide a smooth, non-absorbent and easily cleaned floor surface.  In some instances, if the ground will not pose a risk to food safety, such as concrete or paving, then no additional flooring will be necessary, and;
  • Tables and benches must have good support and be covered with a material that is easy to keep clean.

Washing facilities

  • Your stall must have separate hand washing and utensil washing facilities. Set up two containers (around 20 litres by volume) fitted with taps. Label each container, one ‘Hand washing only’ and the other ‘Utensil washing only’;
  • Hot water is to be available for utensil cleaning;
  • Warm running water, liquid soap and paper towels are to be provided for hand washing; and
  • Remove all cooking utensils from the site at the end of the day and thoroughly clean and sanitise these in dishwashing facilities connected to hot water, or by using the double bowl sink method.


  • All cooking and hot food storage equipment is to be located under cover;
  • If cooking equipment is located at the front of the stall, provide a sneeze barrier to protect the food. Locate barbeques well away from the public (at the back of the stall) for safety, but allow for adequate ventilation. Remember, a barbeque can pose a danger to the public, especially young children; and
  • A dry chemical fire extinguisher of suitable capacity must be placed in the stall if cooking is conducted within the stall.


  • Provide a refuse container with a fitted lid and bin liner to dispose of waste.  Label this container ‘refuse only’. Clean and empty it daily or when full;
  • All waste oil must be placed into a suitable container and removed at the end of the event. Do not tip waste oil, fats or grease down any sinks, drains or toilets; this can cause expensive blockages and pollution.  You can take small amounts of waste oils to one of Council’s Transfer Stations (fees apply); larger quantities should be removed by a licensed waste contractor; and
  • Waste water must be stored in a container and labelled ‘Waste water only’. Dispose of waste water into a sewer under a trade waste approval.


  • You must have suitable refrigeration;
  • Insulated containers such as eskies packed with ice can be used for storing small amounts of food waiting to be cooked;
  • A probe thermometer must be kept on site. Use it regularly to check the temperature of your hot and cold foods. Electricity supplies at temporary events can be unstable and cut out without the knowledge of operators. Checking the thermometer regularly and recording temperatures will alert you to any potential problems.

Food Safety Supervisor notification (for annual licence only)

Temporary food businesses operating under an annual licence must have a Food Safety Supervisor.

This person needs to have the experience and skills relevant to day-to-day food safety handling and takes a lead role in supervising other staff on-site within the food business.  The Food Safety Supervisor must be reasonably available whenever the business is operating, and they also serve as a point of contact for Council and staff who handle food in the food business.

You must either :

Find out more about Food Safety Supervisors

Last updated: 16 June 2020