Notification

Food businesses must be notified to the appropriate enforcement agency. Notification is important as it assists the Food Authority and councils in the case of food recalls and complaints, and enables them to contact businesses quickly if needed.

All food businesses in NSW must either:

hold a current Food Authority licence (this applies only to specific food businesses in sectors covered by a Regulation under the Food Act 2003 (NSW), or

  • notify the appropriate enforcement agency, usually their local council, of their food activity details. This applies to almost all other food businesses and includes those involved in mobile food vending and businesses which sell any sort of food or food ingredient as any part of their business. It is required by the Code (Food Safety Standard 3.2.2).

The only exception to the above is not-for-profit fundraising events if there is sale of non-potentially hazardous food or food that is thoroughly cooked immediately before consumption (e.g. sausage sizzle). (See boxed section p6.)

Mobile food businesses need to notify the local council of their business and food activity details.

From 1 September 2015, notification is satisfied by notifying councils via applications for services, permits and approvals, and through rates notice registrations.

Information should also be sought from Roads and Maritime Services in NSW regarding approval to sell on, or at the side of roads.

Licensing

Mobile food vending vehicles do not require a Food Authority licence, unless undertaking the activities listed on page 5 of this document.

Council approvals

Local councils are generally responsible for the approval of mobile food vending vehicles. There may be costs associated with these approvals. Contact your local council for details.

The prior consent of every local council in whose area the vehicle will be used for storing, preparing or selling food, may be required. This includes street trading or operating on private land or public roads.

It is important to check the requirements with every local council you propose to work in prior to operation, as penalties may apply for not having the appropriate approvals.

Council approval may also be required for garaging or maintaining the mobile food vending vehicle at particular premises, especially where the premises are used for storing food supplies and equipment used in connection with the vehicle’s food business operation.

Food Safety Supervisor

Food businesses operating mobile food vending vehicles may need to appoint a Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) (refer to page 16 of this document for details). Ensure an FSS is appointed and the FSS certificate is available in the vehicle before commencement of operation.

Inspections

Inspections of mobile food vending vehicles are conducted by council’s environmental health officers (EHOs) who are authorised officers under the Food Act 2003. The frequency of inspection is at least once per year. They check that good food safety practices are in place, such as temperature control, cleanliness, hand washing and labelling (refer to checklist at end of this document).

If mobile food vending vehicles operate across council boundaries, most councils will use a home jurisdiction rule. This means the vehicle will probably first be inspected by the council in which the vehicle is ordinarily garaged, provided it also trades in that local government area. That council is known as the ‘home council’.

If the vehicle does not trade in the local council area in which it is garaged, then it can be inspected by another council in which it first trades.

Other councils in which the vehicle trades are entitled to request to see a copy of the most recent inspection report (less than 12 months old) from the vehicle operator. If the report is satisfactory (i.e. only minor issues identified), the council EHO should not conduct a further inspection, unless there is a perceived risk to food safety and public health.

If a recent inspection report is not provided by the operator, is over 12 months old, or has a major non-compliance issue outstanding, then the council EHO has the discretion to carry out an inspection and charge an inspection fee.

Mobile food vending vehicle operators/proprietors are responsible for organising to have an inspection when they begin to trade, and providing a current inspection report to officers from another council in whose area they trade.

Carry your most recent inspection report with you whenever you are trading from your mobile food vending vehicle.

Fees and charges

The local council may charge fees for inspecting your food handling activities under the Local Government Act 1993. The fee amount can vary between councils.

Councils can levy an annual administration charge under the Food Act 2003. Only a council that carries out an inspection is allowed to levy the annual administration charge. Non-home councils are recommended not to levy the annual administration charge.

There may be other fees and charges levied by councils for vehicle approval to trade under other legislation. Check with the local council/s in which you trade to find out what fees and charges apply to you.