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Update on COVID-19- The safety of our communities, customers and staff is our top priority. We are continuing to monitor daily developments in response to COVID-19. Find out the latest.

Start and operate a food business

COVID-19 — Outdoor dining

To protect the health of our community, Port Stephens Council will not be approving any future Footway Dining licenses. All existing approvals are revoked. Council will continue to monitor this changing environment and evaluate as the situation unfolds.

Food Safety

Council plays an important role in maintaining food safety within the Port Stephens. Council completes the following:

  • conducting food safety inspections of local food businesses to ensure compliance with relevant food safety legislation;
  • food safety education initiatives; and
  • investigation of food related complaints (where appropriate).

Prospective business operators in the food industry are strongly advised to consult with Council before commencing or operating a new food business.

If you are taking over an existing food business and will not be making any structural changes please fill out and submit the registration form found below. If you will be taking over a food business and making structural changes, or fitting out a food business from scratch then you will need to lodge a development application.

Frequently Asked Questions


You need to obtain permission from the event organiser, and also register your food stall with Council at least 14 days prior to the event. This can be done by filling out the Temporary Event Food Stall Application form

It is important to notify Council's Environmental Health Team of any changes to your business so that your details can be updated on our register. This can be done by emailing enviro@portstephens.nsw.gov.au or telephoning (02) 4988 0255.

If you're having an event and the event is being held on Council owned or managed land, approval must be sought from Councils Events Team. Approval for the provision of food is also required and is assessed as part of the entire event application. A temporary food stall application will be required as part of the event application. Councils Events Team can be contacted on (02) 4988 0900 or email events@portstephens.nsw.gov.au.

If you plan on having an event on land that is not owned or managed by Council, then you must contact Council's Planning team to ensure that the event and location is permissible. This can be done by calling (02) 4988 0255 and asking to speak with the Duty Planner who will guide you through the process.

The first step would be to contact Council's duty planning team to determine whether the business would be permissible at your property. The planner will then advise you of the process if it is permissible. Call the Duty Planner on (02) 4988 0255.

As a general guide, the correct temperatures for potentially hazardous food are as follows;

  1. 5°C or below for cold food,
  2. 60°C or above for hot food.

More detailed information can be found on the Department of Primary Industries website.

Starting a new food business

Potential operators of a new or existing food business must ensure that they have an understanding of the relevant health, safety, planning and environmental issues associated with the business.

If you plan to start or sell a food business in Port Stephens, or if your business details have changed, it’s important to let Council know. It’s as easy as sending an email to enviro@portstephens.nsw.gov.au or complete a business registration form, see below.

Operating a food business

There are a number of publications and websites that can assist you in the operation of your food business.

Food for Port Newsletter

In this newsletter Council’s Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) will address some of the common questions that our EHOs have been asked over the past financial year. Plus a quiz where you can learn some valuable information to help keep your food safe.

Mobile food

Mobile food vehicles and street vending has become common practice in today's experience of commercial and tourist destinations, often filling a need in the market that is otherwise not met by existing retail and service offerings.

  • View our Mobile Food Vending Vehicle Policy on our Policies page.
  • To complete an Food vending vehicle (mobile) application form visit our A-Z forms page.

Temporary events

A temporary event is any occasion which is not permanent and where food is sold to consumers. Examples include fairs, festivals, markets and shows. Please review the guidelines below as it covers all types of food businesses at temporary events. They are comprehensive and the checklist provided within the document can be used to double check compliance with council requirements.