Food premises

COVID-19 and food safety

Council's Public and Environmental Health Team have put together some information to help assist local food businesses during this COVID-19 pandemic. 

Visit the COVID-19 Food Safety page

Business information

Pay your Food Premises Inspection Fee

Registering a food business with Council

Council maintains a register of commercial premises, including food premises, inspected as part of its food surveillance role.

To register a new or existing food business (including food stalls and mobile food vendors) contact Council’s Environmental Health Section. New food premises requiring change of use or internal fit-out will require Council approval through Council’s Planning or Building Section.

Approvals for food premises

Food premises in NSW are required to be designed and constructed in accordance with Australian Food Standards. This is to ensure that food is handled in a hygienic environment.

To assist in complying with the provisions of the Food Standards a state-wide guideline has been developed. 

Purchasing a food business

Council provides a pre-purchase inspection service that includes a written report to prospective purchasers. Input is provided by a range of Council sections including Environmental Health, Trade Waste, Town Planning and Commercial Services.

A written request signed by the current business operator and/or land owner must be completed and returned with the appropriate fee. Please allow at least two weeks for the report to be finalised. Contact Council's Environmental Health Section for more information and complete the:

Home-based food business 

A home-based food business must be in accordance with the definition of home-based businesses under planning laws and policies, and with the Australian Food Standards Code (Chapter 3).

Home-based food businesses are required to seek written acknowledgement from Council prior to the commencement of any food related activities.

While residential premises do not generally require any modifications to conduct a small scale home-based food business, the activity may require owner’s permission (if you are renting) and is required to comply with the general hygiene and food safety requirements for food businesses. 

After an application has been made, Council's Environmental Health Officer will conduct an advisory inspection for start-up home-based food businesses.

  • Retail

Home-based food businesses that sell directly to the consumer, sell online or from a market food stall will be registered as a commercial food premises and may be subject to inspection by Council's Environmental Health Officer. The preparation of low risk foods such as biscuits, cakes, chocolate or confectionery will not be subject to routine inspections but will be required to notify the Council of any changes to the food business. Preparation involving higher risk potentially-hazardous foods will be subject to routine inspections.

  • Wholesale

Home-based food businesses that on-sell (wholesale) to other food businesses will be required to notify their food business activities to the NSW Food Authority.  If you require further clarification about notification requirements for home-based wholesale food businesses please contact the NSW Food Authority.

The food preparation activities are required to be conducted in a clean and hygienic environment where the risk of contamination has been identified and managed. Home garages generally will only be suitable for the storage of packaged goods and related articles, and refrigerators.

Mobile food vendors

Council's Mobile Vendors on Public Land policy identifies mobile vending activities permitted on public roads and reserves in Ballina Shire. If you wish to seek approval to operate a mobile food vendor vehicle an application form must be completed, appropriate documentation provided and the relevant fees paid. You must be familiar with the requirements of the policy and the state-wide mobile food vendor operation guidelines.

A recent food vehicle inspection report and current mobile food vendor Council registration must be submitted with the application. If you intend to sell potentially hazardous foods not in their original packaging a Food Safety Supervisor will need to be trained and appointed.

To arrange an inspection of your vehicle contact Council’s Environmental Health Section

Market food stalls at events and weekend markets

If you are intending to have a food stall on public land you should review the relevant Council policies and guidelines:

To register a market food stall contact Council’s Environmental Health Section prior to operating at any event or market. If you wish to prepare foods at home for sale at weekend markets your home kitchen may require approval to operate a home-based business.

Food safety supervisors

Most retail food businesses in NSW are required to train and appoint a food safety supervisor (FSS) to the premises. Once appointed the FSS certificate is to be kept on the food premises. Food Safety Supervisors must be trained by a registered training organisation.

Food handler hygiene requirements

Food Businesses and food handlers have certain obligations imposed on them under the hygiene provisions of the Australian Food Standards Code, Chapter 3.

Regulations and Council's role

Powers of authorised officers under the Food Act 

Council’s Environmental Health Officers have powers delegated under the Food Act to enter retail food premises at any reasonable time to conduct inspections or investigations for the purpose of compliance with the Food Act. Officers will check that good food safety practices are in place, such as temperature control, cleanliness, hand washing, food safety supervisor requirements, waste disposal and pest control.

Penalty infringement notices

Council’s Environmental Health Officers are able to issue penalty infringement notices (PIN) on food business operators or individual food handlers under the Food Act.

A PIN may be issued where, under Council's Enforcement Policy a matter has not been satisfactorily addressed. However in cases where there are more severe breaches of the Food Act (such as cockroach infestation or unclean premises or equipment) Council’s Environmental Health Officer may consider the issuing of a PIN in addition to other regulatory action.

PINs issued for food safety and hygiene breaches are currently set by law and can be in excess of $880. A register of penalty notices is available on the NSW Food Authority’s website. The register lists details of food businesses that have been fined for minor breaks of NSW food safety laws.

Food premises licensed by the NSW Food Authority

The NSW Food Authority licenses and inspects manufacturers of dairy, seafood, meat and certain food plant products. The Authority also licenses and audits the food service section of aged care facilities and hospitals.

Manufacturers that have been classified as ‘low risk’ may not be inspected as frequently as other licensed premises, or only be inspected if there is an incident or complaint. 

Outdoor dining smoke-free laws

Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places and certain outdoor public areas under the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000. These bans protect people from harmful second-hand tobacco smoke. NSW Health advise that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke.

  • Outdoor Public Areas

Smoking and the use of e-cigarettes are banned in the following areas:

  • Commercial outdoor dining areas of cafes, restaurant, pubs and clubs
  • Within 10 metres of a market or event food stall preparing or serving food
  • Bus stops, taxi ranks, public transport stops
  • Within 4 metres of an entry or exit from a public building
  • Within 10 metres of children’s playground equipment
  • Spectator areas at sporting events

An outdoor dining area means an area in which the business provides food for immediate consumption and seating in the outdoor area where the food is consumed. Licensed premises can create designated outdoor smoking areas, as long as they are not located within 4 metres of the seated dining area of the premises. The outdoor smoking areas are not to be used for the consumption of food. Owners of licensed premises and restaurants must display adequate ‘no smoking’ signage in an outdoor dining area. Businesses can order signage with the correct wording from NSW Health at no cost.

  • Enclosed public areas

Smoking and the use of e-cigarettes are banned in all enclosed public areas in shopping centres, cinemas, libraries, trains and buses. Enforcement of the smoke free laws is the responsibility of NSW Health Authorised Inspectors. On the spot fines of up to $550 may apply to individuals who smoke in a smoke-free area, and penalties of up to $5500 may apply to business owners if a person is found to be smoking in a smoke-free area of the premises.

Scores on Doors

Ballina Shire Council offers the Scores on Doors voluntary food business rating program. Food businesses are assessed as part of the routine food surveillance program conducted throughout the year. Eligible food businesses will be awarded a 3, 4 or 5 Star food safety rating, which is displayed to customers at the entry to the premises. 

Complaints about food businesses

Consumer concerns about food premises operating in Ballina Shire are taken seriously. Any reports of premises or equipment not being clean, unsafe or unhygienic handling of food, suspected food related illness, pests or any other food related concerns can be reported by emailing Council’s Environmental Health Officer at or calling 1300 864 444.

To ensure all concerns are properly addressed, further information may be required, so please provide your return contact details. All personal details are kept confidential.

Food news

Related Pages

COVID-19 Food Safety

Information for local businesses to help with the COVID-19 pandemic

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Postal Address

The General Manager
Ballina Shire Council
PO Box 450
Ballina NSW 2478

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40 Cherry Street
Ballina NSW 2478


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