Caterers and mobile food businesses

All food businesses in South Australia, including those businesses who move around to different locations, must comply with the Food Act 2001 and relevant standards of the Food Standards Code (the Code), particularly the Food Safety Standards (Standards 3.2.2 and 3.2.3).

Safe Food Australia (PDF 854KB) provides general guidance on the application of the Food Safety Standards and contains information specifically for temporary and mobile food premises in Appendix 9.

This information has been prepared to assist caterers and mobile food premises (e.g. food trucks) understand, interpret and implement food safety legislation.

Food Business Notification

Under Section 86 of the Food Act 2001 all food businesses must complete and submit a food business notification form to their local council before they start operating.

Caterers and mobile food businesses must notify the council area where their base of operation is. For example, caterers should notify the council where the majority of food processing occurs, or where the food/equipment is stored. Food trucks should notify the council where their vehicle is garaged unless the mobile food business operates permanently from one site, in which case the council where the vehicle permanently operates from must be notified.

Businesses that operate at fairs, festivals or markets may also need to submit a temporary food business notification to the council where the fair, festival or fete operates. Contact the local council for more information.

If you’re starting a new mobile or catering food business some useful information is also available on the Starting a food business page.

Food business inspection

Inspections of food businesses are conducted by local council Environmental Health Officers. For caterers and mobile food businesses, inspections can occur at the garaging location and where the business is operating from, for example at an event. Information on inspections can be found on the Food safety inspections page.

Food Safety Passport System

The South Australia Food Safety Passport System was developed to benefit businesses and local government aiming to help mobile food vendors (MFVs) comply with their food safety requirements and easily demonstrate inspection compliance to authorised officers.

More information on the Food Safety Passport System is available in South Australia (SA) Food Safety Passport System: A Guideline to help Mobile Food Vendors comply with Food Safety Requirements.

The Food Safety Passport System is a voluntary system and is currently under review.

To request a Passport, please contact the local council where your business is based.

Food labelling

In general if food is packaged for retail sale, including sale at markets, it is required to bear a label (unless an exemption under the Food Standards Code applies). Some exemptions include if the food:

  • is made and packaged from where it is sold
  • is sold for immediate consumption
  • is sold at a fund raising event
  • is whole or cut fresh fruit or vegetables.

Specific labelling requirements also apply to caterers. More information, including a handy labelling guideline is available on the Composition and labelling of food page. Information regarding allergen labelling requirements can be found on the Allergen information for food businesses page.

Further information

For further information on caterers and mobile food premises and meeting food legislation requirements, contact your local council Environmental Health department or the Food and Controlled Drugs Branch.