Registering a food business

Shellharbour City Council is responsible for conducting regular inspections of food premises in Shellharbour City.

We have a partnership with NSW Food Authority, known as the Food Regulation Partnership. Under this partnership Councils (Enforcement Agency) have primary responsibility for registering retail food businesses and enforcing Food safety standards in these businesses in their local area. 

Council Environmental Health Officers are Authorised Officers under the Food Act, Food Regulation and Food Standards Code and conduct inspections of food businesses required to notify to Council.

Councils are required to consider a risk-based inspection system when determining inspection frequencies of food businesses. Considerations include the type of food handled, how your business processes/prepares food, size of your business and business performance history.

After a health inspection has been undertaken, a Food Premises Health Inspection Report will be sent to you. It is important that you read this report and follow any directions or advice given.

Every retail food business operating in Shellharbour must register with us. It is also important to let us know if your business and contact information details change.

Businesses that need to register with us include:

  • restaurants, cafes and takeaways
  • mobile food outlets
  • food stall holders at regular, temporary or one-off events
  • grocery stores and supermarkets
  • businesses that sell food as a smaller part of their business such as chemists, cinemas, corner stores, petrol stations and sporting facilities
  • childcare providers that provide food
  • school canteens
  • home-based food businesses that retails products from the home premises direct to the public
  • importers of food or ingredients that retail the product from their business premises
  • seafood retailers (unless they hold a Food Authority licence)


Further information on Home Based Business can be found:


To register your food business details or to update your registration details please complete and return a Food Business Registration Form.

Businesses that need to notify the NSW Food Authority include:

  • home-based food businesses that do not sell their product from the home premises
  • food manufacturers or wholesalers that do not hold a Food Authority licence
  • importers that do not retail their product from their business premises
  • small egg farms (fewer than 20 dozen eggs/week)
  • small poultry meat farms (growing fewer than 100 birds)
  • businesses that transport live poultry

If your business falls under the above criteria you can notify your food business and update your current details with the NSW Food Authority.

Will I need to pay inspection fees?

Food businesses are subject to inspection fees, in accordance with our fees and charges.

View inspection fees.

Do I need a Food Safety Supervisor?

The Food Act 2003 (NSW) requires certain food businesses in the NSW hospitality and retail food service sector to have at least one trained Food Safety Supervisor (FSS).

The NSW Food Authority's FSS program was established to help reduce foodborne illness in the hospitality and retail foodservice sectors in NSW by improving food handler skills and knowledge. The program also aims to provide food businesses with high quality and consistent training by a Registered Training Organisation that has been approved by the Food Authority.

Starting a new food business

Development applications

If you are starting a new food business, a development application (DA) may be required. It is an offence to operate a food business in a building without approval and an occupation certificate. Make sure you talk to us before moving into, renovating or converting a building into a food business.

Make sure it is large enough and has a kitchen exhaust or room for one to be installed. The exhaust must discharge vertically above the roof level and not adversely affect another household or business. Further smoke or odour controls may be necessary.

All new food businesses must be designed and constructed to satisfy the requirements of Food Standards Code 3.2.3 – Food Premises and Equipment. The Australian Standard AS 4674:2004 – Design, Construction and Fitout of Food Premises is a method of compliance with the Food Standards Code and is usually a requirement as a condition of Development Consent.

Mobile food vendors

If you are starting a mobile food vending business you need to apply for an annual permit prior.

The van and the operation of the van must comply with road rules, the Food Act 2003, Food Standards Code and NSW Food Authority Guidelines for Mobile Food Vending Vehicles.

Vending must be restricted to quieter residential streets. Vendors must not operate on arterial, sub-arterial or collector roads and is restricted to a maximum time of 15 minutes in the one area unless otherwise approved (such as a festival, market or event).

The exception to this would be if a mobile vendor is trading at a sporting, temporary event or markets where the vendor has written consent from the sporting or event co-ordinator.

Trading on any other public lands belonging to Council such as reserves, parks, and foot paths and nature strips is generally not permissible.

Mobile food vending on private land is permissible, in some circumstances, with the permission of the land owner. However, you should discuss this with Council in the first instance.

Vehicles used for mobile food vending are not to park or operate contrary to any conditions of consent that apply to the use of the land, including using designated parking spaces or parking within vehicular manoeuvring areas.

You are likely to require separate Development Consent if you intend to routinely trade in the same location and would therefore need to be a permissible use under the relevant Local Environmental Plan applying to the site .

Further information on mobile food vending on private land can be found in State Environment Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes).

To apply for a licence please complete an  Application for Mobile Food Vendor Approval. Vehicle inspection and payment of fees will be required before a permit will be issued.

Last updated : Mon 18 Sep 2023