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  • Definition of food

    To work out the GST status of a food or beverage, you must first work out whether it is considered to be 'food' under GST law.

    GST law defines 'food' as:

    • food for human consumption (whether or not it needs processing or treatment)
    • ingredients for food for human consumption
    • beverages for human consumption (including water)
    • ingredients for beverages for human consumption
    • goods to be mixed with or added to food for human consumption (including condiments, spices, seasonings, sweetening agents or flavourings)
    • fats and oils marketed for culinary purposes
    • any combination of the above.

    GST applies to food, as defined above, that is:

    • food for consumption on the premises it is supplied from
    • hot food for consumption away from the premises
    • food of a kind listed in the table in clause 1 of Schedule 1 of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (GST Act)
    • beverages and ingredients for beverages not listed in the table in clause 1 of Schedule 2 of the GST Act
    • food as listed elsewhere in GST law.

    See also:

    Items that are not 'food'

    Some animals and plants are not defined as food under GST law until they are processed or treated. These are:

    • live animals (other than crustaceans or molluscs)
    • unprocessed cow's milk
    • any grain, cereal or sugarcane that has not been processed or treated to change its form, nature or condition
    • plants under cultivation that will be able to be consumed (without further processing or treatment) as food for human consumption.

    Any food labelled or specified for animals is not food under GST law, as it is not for human consumption.

    The GST status of some food products will depend on whether they are being used as food or not.

    See also:

      Last modified: 24 May 2017QC 16413