Experiences involving food in Sydney
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your trips or experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your experience, we encourage you to check with your city or an attorney.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the law has not changed recently.*
What are some of the basic principles?
Your guest’s health and safety should always come first. For example, it would be a good idea to take your guests to (or otherwise serve them food from) reputable restaurants, food trucks, or professional caterers who keep clean facilities, use fresh ingredients, and have a good food safety track record. Also ask your guests in advance about any food allergies they may have, or religious or philosophical codes that may impact what kind of food they eat.
My experience will involve serving food to guests outside of a traditional restaurant, café, or food business. Are there any specific rules I need to follow?
If your experience involves you preparing, storing or serving any food to be consumed by guests, you're likely to be considered a food business. "Food" effectively includes anything that is intended or offered for human consumption, and includes beverages. You don't need a licence to operate a food business outside of a traditional restaurant or café setting, but you will need to comply with applicable regulations (under the Food Act 2003 No. 43 and the Food Regulation 2015) and guidelines.
If you sell or provide food directly to guests as part of your experience, you are likely to be engaged in retail sales and will need to notify your local council of the details of your food business. If you don't sell food to guests, but only manufacture, wholesale or import food, you will need to notify the NSW Food Authority of the details of your food business. The NSW Food Authority has a fact sheet explaining the notification requirements.
By way of example, the City of Sydney Council requires the operator of a food business to obtain approval from the Council by submitting a registration form. For more information, please refer to our information page on business licensing. You should check with your local council to ensure that you meet any local council regulations that may be applicable to you.
On top of notifying your local council, your food business must meet the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code requirements. Your main responsibilities are:
- Food safety: Standards 3.2.2 and 3.2.3 of the Food Standards Code contain a number of detailed requirements which are broadly directed at preventing food contamination, especially if you are directly handling food. This may include requirements in relation to accepting food, storing and displaying food (especially potentially hazardous food), managing the people on your premises and maintaining your premises to the appropriate standard of cleanliness. In addition, you must implement a food safety program which identifies the potential hazards which could occur in your food handling operations, and which provides for the monitoring of those controls.
- Food and premises hygiene: If you are directly handling food product, you will need to ensure your premises and practices comply with standards 3.2.2 and 3.2.3. This may include requirements relating to the health and hygiene of food handlers, the cleanliness of the premises and equipment, sewage and waste water disposal, the storage of garbage and recyclable matter, handwashing facilities, and the design and construction of premises to all proper cleanliness.
- Labelling and other information: The Food Standards Code contains detailed regulations regarding the labelling of food products (refer to this fact sheet).
If you're preparing and serving food that is ready to eat, potentially hazardous (ex: needs temperature control), and is not sold and served in the supplier's original package, you must have at least one trained and appointed Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) who holds a current FSS certificate. To obtain a FSS certificate, you must complete a mandatory training course from an approved Registered Training Organisation (RTO) under the FSS program. The training course generally takes one full day to complete. A list of RTOs and available courses is available on the NSW Food Authority website.
You may be fined up to $330 (or $660 if you are a company) or be prosecuted if you fail to appoint a FSS, or if you don't keep a copy of the FSS certificate on the premises. The NSW Food Authority has a useful flowchart which may help you decide what kind of food business you have.
Is there anything else I should think about?
If your experience will also involve serving or providing alcohol, we encourage you to take a look at our information about experiences involving alcohol. Similarly, if your experience will combine food with another activity (for example, a guided tour), please take a look at our other information sections to work out if any other rules might apply to your activity.
Please be aware of potential criminal offences and financial penalties for failure to comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).