Definition of food

To work out the GST status of a food or beverage item, you must first work out whether the item is considered to be food for GST purposes.

GST law says food is:

  • 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.

The sale of food is GST-free unless it 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 in the GST law.


    Last modified: 05 Aug 2016QC 16413