Food-sharing apps such as EatWith, Feastly and Cookapp have capitalised on the sharing economy’s enormous popularity. However, despite the sudden and continued rise of food-sharing apps, there are no clear regulatory or legislative requirements that directly apply to this industry. Below, we set out what four things all customers and hosts of food-sharing apps need to know.

1. Food-Sharing Sites Won’t Accept Any Responsibility for Damages

A food-sharing app’s terms and conditions contain several important disclaimers that all participants should read, including that the app will accept no responsibility for participating in their site. What this means is that if a customer gets seriously ill from contracting a foodborne disease, then the food-sharing provider (i.e. the app) will not compensate the customer with any damages.

Although you might assume food will be safe to eat, hosts do not need to provide their customers with an express guarantee that they will comply with food and safety standards. The industry is, at present, is still highly unregulated. The food-sharing provider accepts no risk for any damage that may befall you such as you tripping in the host’s home, or your host’s poor cooking skills resulting in a fire.

Hosts should also be aware of this disclaimer. For example, if you invite a customer to your home and he is rowdy, and breaks or steals your property while eating the meal, the food-sharing app accepts no responsibility. They would consider this as one of the “risks” that you knowingly take on when using their app.

To overcome these concerns, we recommend that:

  • Hosts inform their home and contents insurer of the change in circumstances; and
  • They upgrade the policy that they have undertaken with their insurance provider to ensure the best protection for their home.

2. Hosts Should Get a Business Licence From the Local Council

Hosts should first talk to their local council. Most councils will require hosts to have a business licence to sell food from their home. We also encourage hosts to talk to their local council about:

  • Waste disposal,
  • Environmental controls,
  • Zoning restrictions, and
  • Development planning that may concern their home-based business.

3. Hosts Must Abide by the Food Standards Code

Hosts should take note of particular legislative requirements in the Food Standards Code, including:

  • All hosts are responsible for making sure that people who handle the food have the skills and knowledge to handle the food safely;
  • Hosts should ensure that the food isn’t contaminated;
  • Hosts must have adequate space to conduct the activities;
  • Hosts must have the food premises cleaned and sanitised; and
  • Depending on the food served, hosts may need to appoint a food safety supervisor for their food kitchen

Food safety officers are also entitled to inspect the host’s home without notice.

4. You Need a Licence to Sell Alcohol

In NSW, it is illegal to sell or serve alcohol without a licence. Remember, if hosts cannot obtain the necessary licence, they can opt for guests to BYO alcohol. However, even if the host chooses a BYO option, they still have the responsibility of minimising overconsumption and cannot provide alcohol to minors.

Key Takeaways

It is important that app users know that food-sharing providers can limit their liability in their terms and conditions. Hosts should note that they will need to comply with legislative requirements and that a good first step is talking to your local council.

Questions? Get in touch on 1300 544 755.

COVID-19 Business Survey
LegalVision is conducting a survey on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses across Australia. The survey takes 2 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. We would appreciate your input. Take the survey now.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. For just $199 per month, membership unlocks unlimited lawyer consultations, faster turnaround times, free legal templates and members-only discounts.

Learn more about LVConnect

Lachlan McKnight
Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from LegalVision and can unsubscribe at any time. See our full Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Our Awards
  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards
  • 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer
Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at info@legalvision.com.au

View Privacy Policy