Food businesses

Aerial view of table showing a variety of food on plates

Start a food business

If you want to operate a food business in Maitland, there are a few required steps you must take.

Construct or renovate a food premises

If you want to upgrade or renovate an existing premises, or construct and fit out a new premises, you first need to find out if you require a development application by contacting Council’s Duty Planning Officer on 02 4934 9700.

All constructions or renovations need to abide by:

  • Australian Standard 4674 -2004 - Design, construction and fit out of food premises
  • Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code and
  • the Food Act 2003 and the Food Regulation 2015

Purchasing an existing food business

If you are purchasing or taking over an existing premises, you must either:

  • Request a copy of the most recent Food Business Inspection Report from the current owner. The report provides the buyer with information from annual inspections and may include requirements relating to upgrades of building elements, fixtures or equipment, or
  • Request a pre-purchase inspection by completing an application for Pre-purchase Inspection of Food Premises. An Environmental Health Officer will contact you to arrange a suitable time for inspection.

Home food preparation business

If you want to start a food business, including charitable organisations, that involves preparing food at home for sale or consumption, you first need to find out if you need to lodge an application to gain approval by contacting Council’s Duty Planning Officer on 02 4934 9700.

All food businesses operating in Maitland must also adhere to Council's Food Safety Policy.

Building requirements for home food preparation

The NSW Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 allows a home dwelling to be used as a home food preparation business, as long as the dwelling:

Mobile food and temporary stalls

Applying for a mobile food business

All food businesses operating in the Maitland local government area are required to notify Council. Depending on your business’ circumstances, you will need to complete and submit either a Temporary or Mobile Food Business Notification Form, or Application Form.

Notification Form
  • If your food business sells low risk food only
  • If your food business sells medium to high risk food, and have a current approval from another NSW local government
  • If your food business is a Charitable Community Organisation
  • Costs $0.
Application Form
  • If your food business sells medium to high risk food, and
  • If your food business is based within Maitland local government area (this includes storing or garaging your vehicle or equipment)
  • Costs $390.

Operating a mobile food business

Operating on public land

All mobile food vendors who intend to operate on public land, including roads, parks and other public places must comply with the Policy for Mobile Food in Public Places.

Cluster group vending
Street vending
Street + cluster group vending
Apply for a mobile food vending program

Operating at Events

Mobile food vendors can sell food at approved events and community markets that are held on public land as long as the vendor has been given approval from the event organiser. Each temporary food business or mobile food vehicle needs a copy of the approval to operate and a recent inspection report from their home jurisdiction council.

If you are an Event Coordinator, you can complete the Event Organisers – Food Stall Listing form to help organise all food businesses. You should then send this to Council.

Operating on private land

You can sell from a mobile food-vending vehicle or cart on commercial or industrial land as long as the vehicle or food cart is parked wholly within the boundaries of the private land, and serves for short periods of time before then moving on to another location.

Council approval is not required, however there are still requirements:

  • Prior consent from the owner of the land should be obtained before selling food
  • You are still required to submit the relevant Temporary or Mobile Food Business Notification or Application form.
  • The operation must comply with the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes).
  • There is a limit of one vehicle per site with the hours of operation restricted from 7am to 7pm in residential zones.

Food businesses with outdoor dining

Food businesses in Maitland can apply for free outdoor dining. Learn more information about gaining outdoor dining approval via our business permits and approvals.

Food safety

Council’s food safety program is carried out in partnership with the NSW Food Authority under the Food Regulation Partnership.


The majority of food businesses in Maitland (including fixed premises, mobile food vendors and food stalls at temporary events) fall within the high or medium risk rating which requires routine inspection by Council at least once per year.

There may be additional inspections if the routine inspection identifies problems that require further attention.

Food recalls

The NSW Food Authority coordinate and publicise any food recalls. Council may be requested by the Authority to assist in some circumstances.

Food Safety Policy

Council’s Food Safety Policy helps to minimise the risks associated with the consumption of food sold across Maitland.

Read the Food Safety Policy.

See Also
Grow my business