Community groups, individuals, charities and other not-for-profit groups often hold food fundraisers such as sausage sizzles, cake stalls, fairs, and fêtes. Under the Victorian Food Act 1984 (Food Act), these activities require registration or notification to council. You can do this using FoodTrader.
Community group food fundraisers are mostly staffed by volunteers and operate as a one-off event or just for one or two days at a time. If most people working at your fundraiser are paid, not volunteers, you will need to contact your local council for advice.
Depending on the premises type, the food sold and the food activities undertaken, your premises may be classified as class 2, 3 or 4, and different regulatory requirements apply to each class.
Expand each section below to see the requirements for common fundraising activities.
Sausage sizzles, where only sausages (with or without onions, sauce and bread) are cooked and served immediately, are class 4 – the lowest level of regulation. As a class 4 premises, you may also carry out any other class 4 food activities, such as selling bottled water or soft drinks. If you plan to sell anything else, such as hamburgers, salads or other higher risk foods, your classification will be higher and you will be required to register with council.
Cake stalls, where cakes that are packaged are being sold – that is, wrapped or placed in clean containers – which do not contain raw egg, custard or cream, are classified as class 4 – the lowest level of regulation. As a class 4 premises, you may also carry out any other class 4 food activities, such as selling bottled water or soft drinks. If you plan to sell goods that contain raw egg, custard, cream or cakes that are unpackaged, you must contact your council as different food safety rules apply and your stall will not be assessed as a class 4 premises.
Community groups that handle or sell high risk foods which are cooked and served immediately; where the people handling the food are mostly volunteers; and the group operates for two days or less, are generally classified as class 3 premises.
Community groups that prepare and sell ready-to-eat foods – such as sandwiches containing cheese, smallgoods, sliced vegetables or salad – or any other high risk foods are classified as class 2 premises.
If you are only asking for a voluntary donation, such as a ‘gold coin donation’, or giving away your food, you do not need to be registered with, or have notified, your local council.
Volunteers who make food that is donated and sold by a community group (for example, parents that bake a cake that is sold by the school at a fete) do not need to register their homes as food premises with their local council.
Volunteers do not need to acquire formal food safety qualifications but anyone who handles food for sale to the public is encouraged to complete the Department of Health’s free online learning program, DoFoodSafely, to improve their knowledge of safe food handling practices.
Most community group and charity fundraisers will fall within a class 3 or 4 classification and will therefore not require a Food Safety Program. Some class 2 businesses are required to keep a Food Safety Program and maintain food safety records. The department’s FoodSmart program can help you determine if you need a Food Safety Program and guide you through the steps to creating one.
Foods containing ingredients that can cause allergic reactions (such as eggs, gluten, sesame, nuts, dairy, lupin and soybeans) must be clearly identifiable. You should ask the supplier or the maker of your foods if there are any allergen sensitive ingredients contained in them. You should be able to provide accurate information about the ingredients in your food to your customers. If you can’t answer an allergen query with certainty, don’t guess – your guess could be deadly for someone with an allergy. For more information on allergens visit Department of Health.