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Starting a food business

Are you an aspiring foodie with a dream of launching your own food business?

Whether you’re an avid home chef, a local café or a food van, the Tweed is a great place to start your business.

Council’s Environmental Health Officers work with over 500 local food business operators, focusing on education, food safety, and compliance with NSW food safety standards.

If you’re starting a new food business or taking over an existing one, make sure you know the legislation and have the correct approvals and permits.

coffee barista

Food Safety Supervisors

The Food Safety Supervisor program (external link) was introduced by the NSW Food Authority to improve food handling skills and knowledge and prevent food related illness. Most retail food businesses are required to participate in the program.

At least one Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) must be appointed for every retail business preparing and selling food that is:

  • ready-to-eat
  • potentially hazardous (needs temperature control)
  • not sold and served in the supplier’s original package
Requirements for FFS certification
  • The FSS Certificate must be current and issued by the NSW Food Authority
  • The FSS Certificate must be on display and a copy sent to Council.
  • The Food Safety Supervisor must be available to all food handlers in the business.

Visit the NSW Food Authority website for a list of approved FFS training providers (external link).

More information

Visit the NSW Food Authority website for more information.

Change of ownership

This information is for existing operators and new operators of an existing business involved in the retail sale food or beverages, including cafés, restaurants, takeaways, general stores, fruit and vegetable shops, schools and halls.

Buying a food business: Notify Council before you start operating by submitting an Application for food premises registration (158kB PDF)

Selling or closing a food business: Notify Council about any change to your business ownership in writing, including the date of business closure or sale.

Pre-purchase advice: If you are looking to purchase an existing food business, Council offers two types of pre-purchase checks to help your decision making:

  • Pre-purchase - records search only
  • Pre-purchase - inspection report and records search

To carry out a purchase check complete the Conveyancing form (255kB PDF) and email to Fees apply.

Food business annual administration and inspection fees

See Fees and charges

Construction or alteration of food preparation areas

This information applies to the renovation or structural alteration of food preparation areas for existing businesses:

  1. Speak with Council’s duty planner on 02 6670 2400 to find out what planning approvals may be required.
  2. Draft plans of the kitchen/food premises – see Food fitout guide (620kB PDF) for assistance.
  3. Submit an Application for approval of food premises fitout (103kB PDF) with the required fee (this is separate to planning approvals).
  4. When you’re ready to trade, arrange a final fitout inspection with Council’s Environmental Health Officer on 02 6670 2400, and submit an Application for food premises registration (158kB PDF)

Food fitout, annual administration and inspection fees

See Fees and charges

Food van or truck – before you start trading

This information is for new or existing mobile food vans operating on private land, or in association with a Council approved market or event.

Before you start trading notify Council by submitting an Application for food premises registration (158kB PDF)

For business operators that live in the Tweed:

  • Include a copy of your Food Safety Supervisors certificate.
  • Have your mobile food van inspected by one of Councils officers before you trade and achieve a satisfactory inspection report.

For businesses registered or licensed with another Council:

  • Include a copy of the registration/license and an inspection report (current within the last 12 months).

For businesses trading on private land in the Tweed:

  • Speak with Council’s duty planner on 02 6670 2400 to find out which planning approvals are required.
  • Provide written authorisation from the land owner.

Fees that may apply:

  • A combined one-off administration and inspection fee: for low risk, pre-packaged food, or non-potentially hazardous food (including coffee van with pre-packaged cakes/biscuits)
  • Routine inspection and annual administration fees: for medium or high risk food

See Fees and charges

Selling food on public roads, streets, and reserves

Council does not allow the sale of food or drinks on public roads, streets, or reserves. This aims to protect trade for nearby retail outlets and promotes public health, safety and use of public spaces. For more information see Vending of Food on Public Reserves Policy (44kB PDF)

Food stalls at markets or events

Temporary food stall vendors selling food or beverages from Council approved markets and/or events in the Tweed have to submit an Application for food premises registration (158kB PDF). Also refer to Guidelines for food businesses at temporary events (531kB PDF).

If you are preparing food at home before a market or event you require a home based approval from your local Council. Refer to the Home Food Businesses section below.

Annual or one-off administration and inspection fees

See Fees and charges

Markets and events

Places at markets and events are popular, so check availability with the market or event organiser before making an application to Council.

Home food business

This information is for manufacturers of food prepared at home and sold direct to the customer (directly from home, at a market or event, or to a school canteen).

Designed to be small scale, a home-based food business can be a great first step. However, there are special food safety requirements when handling food at home. For more information refer to the NSW Food Authority’s Home based food businesses factsheet (external link).

If you’re starting a home-based food business:

If you’re selling food online or to other businesses from a home based business:

Annual administration and inspection fees

See Fees and charges

Water supply

If your food business is not connected to Council’s town water supply you must develop a Quality Assurance Program. For more information see NSW Health (external link) and private water suppliers.

Footpath dining

Approval is required to place tables and chairs on the footpath for the purposes of dining. Council’s Footpath Trading Policy (103kB PDF) aims to maintain a balance between pedestrian movement, convenience and safety, and footpath trading activities.

See Footpath trading

Scores on Doors

Scores on Doors (external link) is an initiative of the NSW Food Authority to increase community awareness about Council’s food inspection program.

The voluntary program allows business operators such as restaurants, takeaway shops, cafes, bakeries, bistros, and hotels and clubs to promote and display their food safety score.

Scores on Doors lets the public know which food businesses are complying with food safety requirements, and allows customers to make an informed choice about where to eat.

View local food business scores

Star rating - scores and inspection frequency

scores on doors star rating

Scores on Doors is not intended for supermarkets, delicatessens, or greengrocers; low risk food businesses that serve pre-packaged food such as service stations and convenience stores; market stalls or mobile food vending vehicles.

Further information

The NSW Food Authority works with 128 councils to ensure the food sold in NSW is safe for consumption and is correctly labelled. The Food Regulation Partnership (external link) clarifies the responsibilities of local government in relation to food regulation.

Contact Council’s Environmental Health Officers on 02 6670 2400 or 1300 292 872.

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