Introduction

These guidelines inform businesses selling food from a mobile vending vehicle in NSW of their legal requirements in relation to the NSW Food Act 2003 (the Act) and the Food Standards Code (the Code). They provide information on basic requirements such as power supply and waste disposal, and suggest ways to maintain food safety.

Businesses and enforcement agencies (local council environmental health officers (EHOs) in most cases) can use this guide to assess compliance with the Act and the Code.

The primary aim of these guidelines is to make food businesses aware of their legal requirements and to suggest ways to assure food safety when selling food.

This guideline also provides businesses with a guide to applicable fees and charges that councils may levy.

Potential mobile food vendors should contact the local council prior to operating to check if a permit is needed by the council, if an inspection must be completed, if there are any applicable fees and/or if there any other restrictions which may be relevant.

What are mobile food vending vehicles?

A mobile food vending vehicle is any means of transport, whether self-propelled or not or otherwise designed to be movable from place to place, and which is used for selling food, whether on land, sea or air.

It includes vehicles used for on-site food preparation (e.g. hamburgers, hot dogs and kebabs), one-step food preparation (e.g. popcorn, fairy floss, coffee and squeezing juices), and the sale of any type of food including pre- packaged food.

It does not include food vending machines or food transport vehicles.

These guidelines cover all types of mobile food vending vehicles. They are comprehensive and the checklist provided within the document can be used to double check compliance with the council requirements.

There are minimal requirements for mobile food vending vehicles selling only pre-packaged, low risk food.

Obligations on selling food

A person using a mobile food vending vehicle to store, prepare or sell food for human consumption, is deemed to be a ‘food business’. This includes not-for-profit operations.p>A food business is required to sell safe and suitable food in accordance with the provisions of the NSW Food Act 2003, Food Regulation 2015 and Food Standards Code.

Note that ‘food premises’ includes ‘vehicles’. Copies of the Food Standards Code (particularly 3.2.2 Food Safety Practices and General Requirements and 3.2.3. Food Premises and Equipment) are available on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website at www.foodstandards.gov.au.

Failure to comply with the requirements may lead to enforcement action. Depending on the food safety risk identified, this action may include a warning letter, improvement notice, penalty notice, seizure, prohibition or prosecution. The NSW Food Authority and councils generally follow an escalating enforcement policy. For more information see http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/ip/audits-and-compliance/compliance

Which agencies enforce the Act and Code?

In most cases, local councils are responsible for the food surveillance of the retail sector and enforce the requirements of the Act and Code; this includes food for retail sale from mobile food vending vehicles.

The Food Authority is only responsible for surveillance if there is processing of products that require a licence at that premises; such as:

  • businesses that conduct food service to vulnerable persons
  • high risk plant product businesses
  • businesses that handle or process meat
  • businesses that further process seafood
  • businesses that handle shellfish
  • dairy producers, factories and vendors
  • businesses that produce or process eggs and egg related products