Selling food at farmers markets

What are the requirements for selling food?

In Australia anyone who sells edible goods is considered a 'food business' and must comply with their state or territory Food Act in Australia. Some requirements apply even if the activity is one-off,  regardless of if it is online, at a 'brick and mortar' establishment or a farmers market. 

You will typically be required to notify a responsible authority before you commence business. This may be notification to a health body or council in the area you are manufacturing or selling food. 

High risk foods, such as fresh meat, eggs and seafood may have additional requirements. What follows is some general information about producing and selling food, these requirements can change from time to time and you should check for accuracy, currency and specific requirements for your situation.

Where can I find information about the food business regulations in my state or territory?

The below list provides some links relating to food safety requirements in your state. It does not cover all requirements and are subject to change and some useful terms to search on include "Food safety regulations [your state]", "Selling [food type] in [your state]" and "[your] council requirements for selling food).

How do I start a food business?

Any business requires planning and food business are no different. What are you going to sell, how and where will you produce it? Packaging, advertising, pricing, staffing, distribution are just a few considerations. Food production and sale is regulated in all states for health reasons and your business planning will involve understanding the particular requirements in your state.

Even if you are opreating as a hobby a key step is to obtain approval or accredititation (especially if high risk good such as eggs, dairy, fish or fresh meat is involved). The process and cost for doing so vary from state to state and even council to council.  If you’re not dealing with high-risk foods, gaining approval from your local council should be a straightforward procedure.

The production and sale of fresh meat is one of the more heavily regulated areas with all aspects of the industry regulated, from animal welfare during the growth phase right through to transport and sale of the retail product. Aquaculture, eggs and Milk also have industry specific regulation that will need to be considered.

We provide you the ability to display, market and sell your product, it is your responsibility to ensure that any food products are produced, sold and distributed in accordance with any legal requirments applicable to your situation and location. 

What are the laws surrounding the display and sale of homegrown produce?

By homegrown produce, we mean fruit, vegetables and nuts, and not any form of seafood or meat as these requirements are quiet different. Any food sold for human consumption must be safe and fit for purpose.

Generally, it is legal to sell fruit and vegetables in Australia provided the produce has been washed and refrigerated prior to selling. Typically you can display whole raw fruits and vegetables unpackaged, provided they are intended to be hulled, peeled or washed by the consumer. Spoiled, infected and contaminated produce must never be sold on our site.

Awarness of bio-security including pest control e.g. fruit fly and quarantine requirements are some of the areas that are relevant to fruit & vegetable production and sale. Many of these requirements exist regardless of if the produce is for your own consumption, charity or business purposes. 

Transport of some products across state borders (and even within states across declared food production zones) is an area that you need to be consider prior to listing your products on our site.

Are there any specific requirements for food businesses that handle fruits and vegetables?

If your food business involves frequent washing of fruit and vegetables, you are expected to have a dedicated sink to avoid cross-contamination with other foods. If you slice, cook, freeze or mix the produce you’re selling, it is considered “processed” and you will need a council approved commercial kitchen.

What rules apply to ready-to-eat produce?

For ready-to-eat produce (food that is ordinarily consumed in the same state as that in which it is sold such as de-shelled nuts), you may not be able transport them in cardboard or wood containers as these cannot be cleaned and sanitised like food safe plastics.

Where can I find more information about food requirements?

Australia has legislation and regulations to make sure local and imported food is safe to eat. You can find plenty of additional information at Department of health and aged care including information about the Australian Food standards, labelling requirements and food recall requirements.