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Information for charities and community organisations

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Charities and community organisations play an important role in our community, and fundraising events are a major contribution to the work of the community. But no one wants people to get sick from the food they eat at these events.

In Australia, the food laws place many responsibilities on the proprietor of a food business. These include requirements for handling, storing, processing, transporting and displaying food, as well as the equipment and premises you use. If you are the organiser of an event or an official of a charity or community organisation selling food, you need to be aware of these responsibilities and comply with the law.

A food business is identified as a business, enterprise or activity (other than primary food production) that involves:

(a) the handling of food for sale, or
(b) the sale of food,

regardless of whether the business, enterprise or activity concerned is of a commercial, charitable or community nature or whether it involves the handling or sale of food on one occasion only.

This definition of a 'food business' includes all food activities involved in fundraising, including preparation of the food before it is sold. The definition of ' sale' covers fundraising activities. Food has been ‘sold’ even if you just ask for a donation for it.

Providing free food

Charities, groups or volunteers providing free food may be exempt from some or all legislation applying to food businesses. However, other legislation may apply. For example, civil liability acts limit the liability of individuals and businesses that donate or distribute food, providing they meet certain food safety conditions. For example, the donor needs to ensure food is safe to eat when it leaves them. The donor should let the recipient know information they need to ensure the ongoing safety of the food. This can include food handling and time limits for safe consumption.

Fact sheets on requirements and events

The information below provides a guide to requirements you may need to meet, and practical tips for some activities and events. You should contact your local council or state/territory enforcement agency to check what requirements apply to you and your activities. Find your local food regulatory agency.

More fact sheets on food safety are available on our Food safety for food businesses web page.

Page last updated 1 July 2024