Community groups fundraising events food safety obligations
The Victorian Food Act sets out the rules for selling food to ensure food bought and sold in Victoria is safe to eat.
This information applies to community groups or individuals that:
- are not-for-profit
- the food being sold is solely for the purposes of raising funds for a charity or a not-for-profit body
- people handling the food are mostly volunteers
- the food handling activity will take place at the premises for no more than two consecutive days at any one time.
If you are a community or not-for-profit group planning on selling food as a fundraiser, there are a few things that you need to know.
- You must ensure that the food you sell is safe to consume.
- Your food activities must be registered or notified with your local council (or the local council where your activity is going to take place) via the department’s online portal.
- Your registering council will determine the class your food activities fall within, it could be class 2, 3, or 4.
- You must comply with the specific responsibilities and obligations for your classification.
Food activity classification and obligations
The Victorian Food Act 1984 (the Act) sets out the rules for selling food; ensuring food bought and sold in Victoria is safe to eat. The Act covers what is done at a food premises, whether it is a stall at a market, a community hall, festival, food van, or a permanent site like a sporting club canteen. The risk of food becoming unsafe depends on the type of food you sell, how it is transported to the venue, and where it is stored, prepared, and handled on the day.
Food activities are grouped into classes and different food safety requirements are set out for each class. The class of your food activity will determine what your food safety responsibilities are. Community food activities may fall within class 2, 3, or 4 under the Act, where class 2 is for high-risk food handling activities and class 4 is for low-risk food handling activities. As you would expect, the higher the risk, the more care you need to take.
Contact your local council environmental health officer (EHO) who will be able to discuss your food activities with you, determine the class of your activities, and let you know what your responsibilities are and how you can reduce the risk of harm to the public. If you don’t know who your council is, go to the ‘Know your ’ website.
Keeping the food you sell safe
In Victoria, food safety requirements are based on the type of food you are selling. The fact that you are a community group having a food fundraiser does not change your obligations to keep food safe under the Act and understand the obligations that go with the classification of your activities.
Encourage your volunteers to improve their knowledge of safe food handling techniques by completing , the Department of Health’s free, online training program for food handlers.
The program is informative and fun and takes about an hour to complete the seven food safety topics and the assessment test. Participants who score more than 90 per cent correct on the assessment test receive a Certificate of completion.
Allergies and intolerances
Under the Act, anyone selling food must be able to provide accurate information to customers about the ingredients in their food. Make sure that the food you sell containing ingredients that can cause allergic reactions are identifiable. You must be able to advise customers, if they ask, if any of the following 11 food allergens are present in the food you sell.
- cereals containing gluten and their products – such as wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt
- shellfish, crustaceans and their products
- egg and egg products
- fish and fish products
- milk and milk products
- peanuts and peanut products
- tree nuts and tree nut products – such as almonds and cashews
- sesame seeds and sesame seed products
- soybean and soybean products
- added sulphites in concentrations of 10mg/kg or more
- lupin and lupin products – such as flour and spreads.
For more information on food allergens and intolerances go to the department’s ‘Food allergen awareness' page
Registration/notification of your fundraising activities
You will need to register your food fundraiser with your local council, or notify them, depending on your situation, via the department’s online registration portal, .
Streatrader is a simple and easy to use online platform that will guide you through the registration/notification process. The site also has a range of information, resources and tools to help you keep your food safe.
Your volunteers who donate food to be sold at the event, including food made at home, do not need to be registered with Streatrader. It is important to ensure that people donating food follow good food safety practices and label all the ingredients used to make the food.
Any council in whose district you operate may inspect your stall at any time for a spot check to make sure that food is safe or if a complaint is received.
Reviewed 06 October 2022