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A food business is any organisation that sells food or drink.
The Victorian Food Act 1984 (the Act) and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) control the sale of food in Victoria to ensure that the food you sell is safe to eat.
- When you start a food business or buy an existing one, you must apply to register it with us.
- When you apply we’ll tell you which permits, inspections and other requirements you must comply with to be registered.
- Once your business is registered you must renew your registration and pay a registration fee every year.
What you should know before applying to register
Class compliance requirements
The Act separates food premises into 5 classes based on the food safety risks of the highest risk food handling activity. You must comply with the food safety responsibilities of your class.
- Class 1, 2, 3 and 3A businesses must be registered.
- Class 4 businesses don't need to be registered but must notify us.
Find out more about food classes on our Food business classifications page.
Requirements for different food businesses
Primary industry businesses do not need to register with us.
- Meat or fish primary businesses must register with PrimeSafe, the statutory agency responsible for regulating meat, poultry, seafood and pet food in Victoria.
- Dairy manufacturers must register with Dairy Food Safety Victoria.
Community and not-for-profit groups
If you are a community or not-for-profit group raising money for charity by selling sausages or packaged cakes without raw egg, custard or cream you may be classified as Class 4 – the lowest level of regulation.
If you are selling unpackaged cakes or goods that contain raw egg, custard or cream, you must contact us as different food safety rules apply.
Temporary or mobile food businesses
If you run a mobile business like a food truck, or a temporary business like a food stall at a market or festival, you must register or notify us each time you operate.
For more information, visit our Register a temporary or mobile food business page.
Step 1: Apply to register
You must apply to register a food business with us, whether it is a new business that you are starting or an existing business that you are buying.
In your application, include:
- a floor plan 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 will review your application to check that it complies with the standards of the Code. We’ll contact you within 14 days of receiving your application if we need more information.
A small number of businesses do not need to register but must still notify us of activities. To check if this applies to your food business, call us on (03) 9278 4710.
Get help with your application
Use our free Business Support Service to guide you through the application process.
Step 2: Request a pre-sale inspection (for buyers of a food business only)
If you plan to buy an existing food business like a café, bakery or restaurant, we strongly recommend you use our pre-sale inspection service before you make the purchase.
Our environmental health officers will inspect the food premises and send you a detailed report of any items that don’t comply with the Act.
Our standard service provides a report within 10 working days and costs $272. If you want it sooner, you can choose a 5-day turnaround after calling (03) 9278 4444 to confirm an environmental health officer is available. The 5-day service costs $420.
You’ll need the current proprietor’s consent to release the inspection report.
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.
Download a pre-sale inspection request form
Step 3: Contact utility providers
Contact Yarra Valley Water to find out your sewerage and waste water requirements.
Contact gas and electricity providers to confirm that you meet their codes and standards.
Step 4: Arrange an interim inspection
During the refurbishment of your new premises, you can contact us to arrange an interim inspection.
We'll inspect your premises to advise if any changes or improvements are needed to comply with the Act.
Step 5: Meet your food safety requirements
You must develop a food safety program and have it audited by an approved and qualified auditor. Submit the food safety program when you apply to register.
To find a list of approved auditors, visit the Victorian Department of Health website.
You must also appoint a qualified food safety supervisor. For more on food safety supervisors, visit the Victorian Department of Health website.
You must develop a food safety program. You can develop your own, or build one using the Department of Health's FoodSmart program.
You are also required to appoint a qualified food safety supervisor. For more on food safety supervisors, visit the Victorian Department of Health website.
Classes 3, 3A or 4
If you are starting a Class 3, Class 3A 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.
If you are a Class 3 food business you must maintain Class 3 records. Find out the minimum requirements for Class 3 records on the Department of Health website.
If you are a Class 3A food business you are not required to maintain Class 3 minimum records but must appoint a qualified food safety supervisor. For more on food safety supervisors, visit the Victorian Department of Health website.
Step 6: Book a final inspection
Once your food business premises is complete, book a final inspection at least one week before you open.
An environmental health officer will inspect your premises to make sure you have met all the regulations.
Step 7: Complete your registration
Once we have made the final inspection and you have met all the requirements, you will receive an email from us to complete your application for registration.
With your application, include:
- your food safety program (if required)
- details of a food safety supervisor and proof of competency (class 1, 2 and 3A only)
If your application is successful, you will receive a Certificate of Registration by email. An inspection will then occur within one month of being approved to operate.
Registrations are renewed annually and must be paid by 31 December each year.
We’ll send renewal reminders and your annual renewal form 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.
Fees are charged on a pro-rata, quarterly basis and are subject to change without notice. GST does not apply.
|Food premises classification||One-off cost to register||Annual cost to renew|
|Class 2: Standard Food Safety Program for a large supermarket of 3 or more departments||$2,390||$2,220|
|Class 2: Non-standard Food Safety Program for a large supermarket of 3 or more departments||$2,770||$2,600|
|Class 2: Standard||$1,065||$890|
|Class 2: Non-standard||$1,110||$940|
Environmental Health Officers must inspect your premises once each year to ensure compliance with the Act.
Officers may make other inspections during the year if required (for example, to follow up on a complaint).
If an officer identifies major breaches in your premises during an inspection, they must make a follow-up inspection.
The cost of an annual compliance inspection and first follow-up is included in the one-off cost to register or renew, listed in the above table.
If the breaches are identified, further inspections will be made until compliance is achieved. You will be charged $271.00 for each inspection beyond the first follow-up inspection.
Read the guidelines for for commercial or home-based food businesses below, for more detailed information on the registration process and its requirements.