• As of 1 July 2021, transfer of registration for food businesses are no longer allowed under the Food Act 1984.
  • When you buy an existing food business, you will need to apply for a new Food Act registration.
  • We recommend you request a pre-sale inspection by Council before you buy an existing food business.

If you're purchasing an existing food business, such as a cafe or restaurant, you still need to register it with Council.

Council registers food premises operating as businesses such as restaurants, cafes and bakeries. If you are buying an existing food business, that premises will need to be registered with us and needs to be compliant with the Food Act 1984.

Step 1: Request a pre-sale inspection

If you are looking to buy an existing registered food business, we strongly recommend you obtain a pre-sale inspection report from Council before you buy the food business.

We offer a pre-sale inspection service. This service includes an inspection of the food premises by our environmental health officers, and a report that details any non-compliant items with the Food Act 1984. See Guidance on Structural Standards for Food Premises for more information.

There is a fee for this service. The standard service provides a report within 10 working days or you can choose to pay a higher fee for a 5-day turnaround.

You need to get consent from the current proprietor to release the inspection report.

You will also need to complete Step 2 when you submit your request for a pre-sale inspection.

To request a pre-sale inspection

Download and complete the pre-sale inspection request form.

For a 5 day pre-sale inspection, please contact us on (03) 9278 4444 to confirm an Environment Health Officer is available.

Submit the request form and fee to Council:

Details on how to pay the fee are included on the pre-sale inspection request form.

You will also need to complete Step 2 when you submit your request for a pre-sale inspection.

Once we’ve inspected the premises, we’ll mail your inspection report to you.

After we’ve issued the report, it’s your responsibility to negotiate and resolve any outstanding non-compliant items with the current proprietors before you take over the business.

If you need to check that your new premises complies with building or planning requirements or other utility providers, then it is your responsibility to contact the relevant authority.

Step 2: Apply to establish a food business

You need to apply to establish a food business. 

If you are making changes to the food business you are purchasing, you can submit your plans and specifications online. 

Apply to establish a food business online

Once we receive the plans, we will review them to ensure they comply with the requirements of the Food Standards Code.

You will need to submit supporting evidence, such as:

  • 2 floor plans showing the layout of your new premises including location, method of installation, types of finishes, surfaces, fixtures and equipment
  • specifications on mechanical exhaust systems
  • your proposed menu.

We'll contact you and send a report within 14 days of receiving your application.

It's your responsibility to apply for a Planning Permit and/or Building Permit before you can commence works on your food business. For example, you may need a permit if you intend to renovate or extend the building, or you require a liquor licence.

Step 3: Contact utility providers

You'll also need to contact Yarra Valley Water-external site to find out your sewerage and waste water requirements, and other utility providers (gas and electricity) to confirm that you meet their codes and standards.

Step 4: Arrange an interim inspection (if conducting a refurbishment)

During a refurbishment of the food business you are purchasing, you can also contact us to arrange an interim inspection.
We'll inspect the premises to advise if any changes or improvements are needed.

Step 5: Develop a food safety program

Class 1

If you are purchasing a Class 1 food business, you'll need to develop a Food Safety Program and submit it to Council.

This program needs to be audited by an independent third party auditor. For a list of approved food safety auditors, see Department of Health and Human Services-external site.

You are also required to appoint a qualified food safety supervisor, see Department of Health and Human Services-external site.

Class 2

If you are purchasing a Class 2 food business, you'll need a Food Safety Program. You can choose to develop your own, or alternatively, you can use the Department of Health's FoodSmart template-external site.

You are also required to appoint a qualified food safety supervisor, see Department of Health and Human Services-external site.

Class 3 or 4

If you are starting a Class 3 or a Class 4 food business you don't need a Food Safety Program, but we recommend you complete the Victorian Government's Do Food Safely online training-external site.

If you are a Class 3 food business, you're also required to maintain Class 3 records, which can be found in the Food Safety Guide for Food Businesses - Class 3-external site.

Step 6: Book a final inspection

Once you are ready to begin operations, or if conducting refurbishments once they are complete, you can book a final inspection at least 1 week prior to opening.

An environmental health officer will inspect your premises to make sure you have met all the regulations, and discuss processes to ensure you have the expected food safety knowledge to safely operate a food business.

Step 7: Register your food business

Once we have conducted the final inspection and you have met all the requirements and expectations, you will receive an email from us to complete your Application for Registration online.

With your application, include:

  • your Food Safety Program
  • details of a food safety supervisor and proof of competency (class 1 and 2 only)
  • the prescribed fee (listed on the form).

If your application is successful, you will receive a Certificate of Registration by email. An inspection will then occur within 1 month of being approved to operate.

Registration renewal

Registrations are renewed annually and must be paid by 31 December each year. These are emailed to the email address supplied in your Application for Registration. If we do not receive your payment by 31 December each year, you may incur additional costs, such as an infringement notice for trading unregistered, and legal proceedings may be brought against you.

We’ll also let you know if we need more information.

More information

For further information please contact us on (03) 9278 4444 or email [email protected]

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