Home based food businesses

Certain food businesses may operate from a residential house such as:

  • B&Bs
  • farm-stay accomodation
  • childcare businesses
  • food prepared for fundraising events
  • online food sales from home
  • preparing food for local markets

If you prepare food for sale or sell food in a residential home, you are still deemed to be a food business under the Food Act 2008.

Therefore you must:

  1. comply with all food laws and
  2. register or notify your food business with the relevant local government Environmental Health Services (external site)

It is important you read about starting a food business and registering a food business for detailed information on how to comply with food laws.

Design and fit-out of a home based food business

The design and fit-out must comply with Standard 3.2.3 Food premises and equipment, of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (external site) to ensure food is handled safely.

If you are unable to comply with these requirements, it will not be possible to conduct your food business from home. Some food handling activities may only be able to comply with the food legislation if they are conducted at a commercial food premises.

The Department of Health’s policy on food businesses that operate from premises that are used principally as a private dwelling is that approval for exemptions contained within the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (external site) should only be granted for food businesses that have been classified as ‘low risk’.

Approval of food preparation activities within a private home

The appropriate enforcement agency (the local government where the property is located) needs to be contacted to find out whether the proposed activity will be able to meet the requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (external site).

There are a number of points that need to be taken into consideration, including:

  • whether the local town planning scheme will allow the proposed activity within a residential area
  • whether the structure of the premises is appropriate for the proposed activities. This is to be determined by the appropriate enforcement agency
  • the relative risk of the food preparation activities proposed
  • whether the activity is for commercial gain or fundraising/charitable purposes.

Food prepared by volunteers for fundraising activities 

This information applies to fundraising activities such as 'low risk' cake stalls, fetes, festivals and the like.

Section 6 of the Food Act allows for certain food preparation activities of a charitable or community nature to be exempt from all or any provisions of the Food Act.

In accordance with this section, the new food regulations prescribe an exemption from registration to food businesses conducted as fundraising events  so long as:

  • the food business is conducted to raise money solely for purposes that are of a charitable or community nature
  • any food handled in the course of conducting the food business:
    o is not potentially hazardous food
    o after being appropriately cooked, is provided by the food business for immediate consumption.

This means that premises used for the preparation of non-potentially-hazardous food by volunteers will not need to be registered.

However, these types of food businesses will still be required to notify the appropriate enforcement agency of their food preparation activities.

It is an offence for a food business not to notify the appropriate enforcement agency of their intention to operate, regardless of whether they need to register their business.

Refer to fundraisers, charities and volunteers for more information. 

Fees applicable for a home based food business

Any fees will be at the discretion of the relevant local government enforcement agency. Refer to registering or notifying a food business for more information. 


Significant penalties apply for persons who sell food from home or online without registering with the relevant local government.

The penalty for conducting an unregistered business is $10,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a body corporate.

Further information

Last reviewed: 18-02-2021
Produced by

Environmental Health Directorate