Food business

Food business


With food poisoning affects thousands of Australians every year, it is important that all food businesses serve safe and suitable food. All food businesses must use safe food practices, including:

  • correctly storing food 
  • safely preparing and handling food
  • correctly displaying food
  • safely transport food
  • adequately serving food.

Council's role & resources

Council’s Environmental Health team works with local food businesses to ensure the rules surrounding the sale of food are followed. Their duties include:

  • food business registration
  • inspecting food businesses
  • taking food samples
  • investigating any complaints regarding food businesses or products
  • ensuring all food businesses in Campaspe are following their Food Safety Programs and complying with the Food Act 1984.

They also liaise with food proprietors, businesses and the community to guarantee safe food practices are being implemented.

Establishing a new food business

There are many rules that must be followed when setting up a new food business, including registering the business with Council and following specific construction and design requirements to ensure the premises are fitted out properly. There are also other requirements, depending on the type of food business. It’s a good idea to speak to our Environmental Health team before you start any construction or renovations.

Resources for food businesses

Fact sheet - Information for purchasing a business(PDF, 897KB)

Fact sheet - Requirements for a new food premises(PDF, 531KB)

Fact sheet - Design and construction requirements for a new food business(PDF, 910KB)

Guidelines - Trading as a food premises(PDF, 175KB)

Fact sheet - Food safety labelling requirements(PDF, 319KB)

Guidelines - Mechanical exhaust ventilation code for heating appliances(PDF, 129KB)

Classifications of food businesses

Food premises in Victoria (new and existing) are classified into one of the following four classes:

Class 1 premises:

Hospitals, child care centres and aged care services which serve high risk food.

Class 2 premises:

Other premises that handle high risk unpackaged food, such as restaurants, cafes, supermarkets and fast food outlets.

Fact sheet - Class 2 food premises(PDF, 408KB)

Both Class 1 and Class 2 premises require a Food Safety Supervisor and Food Safety Program.

Class 3 premises:

Premises that handle unpackaged low risk food or high risk pre-packaged food, such as warehouses and distributors, milk bars, convenience stores and businesses selling cut fruit and vegetables.

Class 3 Premises require minimum records to be kept on site at all times. The type of records that must be kept depends on the type of food premises:

  • fixed and mobile premises
  • temporary premises
  • Community group for 1 or 2 day events
  • Community group for more than 2 days

Fact sheet - Class 3 food premises(PDF, 362KB)

Class 4 premises:

This includes premises that only do the following:

  • sell shelf stable pre-packaged low risk foods (confectionery, frozen ice-cream, milk)
  • sell packaged alcohol
  • sell uncut fruit and vegetables
  • wine tasting
  • sell packaged cakes (excluding cream)
  • supply low risk food at sessional kindergarten
  • simple sausage sizzle where sausages are cooked and served immediately (sausages, onion, bread and sauce).

Class 4 Premises must notify Council and complete a notification form from the Environmental Health Unit.

For more information about establishing a food business, check out the guidelines for Trading as a Food Premise(PDF, 175KB).

Food safety program information

A food safety program outlines the steps you and your food business are taking to ensure that all food sold is safe.

Under the Food Act 1984 it is a requirement for all class 1 & 2 businesses to have a food safety program on site at all times for all staff to access. It must be submitted to Council prior to registration being granted.

The type of food safety program depends on the type of food you are selling and the people you are serving.

For more information about food safety, refer to our Fact sheet - Food Safety(PDF, 323KB) or visit the Department of Health webpage.

Food safety supervisors 

If your business needs a food safety program, it also needs a food safety supervisor. You nominate the supervisor, who must complete training at a registered training organisation. The supervisor is responsible for ensuring the food safety program is being implemented.

For more information about food safety supervisors, refer to our Fact sheet - Food safety supervisors(PDF, 87KB) or visit the Department of Health webpage.

Online food safety training 

The Department of Health offers an online food safety training program called Do Food Safely. We strongly recommend all food handlers, especially staff and /or volunteers of class 3 and 4 premises, complete this training program.

Private drinking water carters

All water carters must be registered. If you are a private drinking water carter you must:

  • register with the Council where your water transport vehicle is garaged
  • once registered, submit a Statement of Trade for water transport vehicles (available from Council's Environmental Health Unit)
  • keep records about which water corporations you purchase your drinking water from.

Transferring registration

When buying a food business, the registration of the premises must be transferred from the name of the existing licensee to the name of the proposed purchaser. You also need to follow these steps to legally operate the business:

  1. Contact our Environmental Health Unit to determine if the business has a current registration with Council.
  2. Send a written request to Council, detailing the business name, address, prospective purchaser, date of settlement and that you are requesting an inspection of the property to determine if it complies with the requirements of the Food Act 1984. We recommend you do this through your solicitor. Council must receive it at least two weeks before settlement.

Once this request is received a consent form will be sent to your solicitor to complete. The current proprietor must complete the form in order for the Environmental Health Officer to release information about the business to you.

An inspection with the current business owners is required under the Food Act 1984. It is also of great benefit to the purchaser as it will identify any work that needs to be done on the premises. Following the inspection a report will be issued to both parties detailing any outstanding issues under Food Act 1984.

An application for transfer of registration will also be sent at this stage to the prospective purchaser’s solicitor. This form must be completed by both the proposed purchaser and existing licensee and returned to Council with the correct fee. This should be within 14 days of settlement.

It is then up to both parties to discuss who will complete the work that needs to be done. If the current owner is to do the work, it should be completed by the settlement date. Once that is done and the application form and fee is received, a new certificate of registration in the purchaser’s name will be sent to the new owner.

Note: The business will remain registered in the current proprietor’s name until the application and relevant fee are received by Council.

If the transfer isn’t completed, the transfer inspection fee must still be paid.

For more information, please contact our Environmental Health team on 5481 2200 or [email protected].

Food stalls

When raising money through a food stall or sausage sizzle, the following information will help you understand your obligations under the Victorian Food Act. 

The Department of Health has developed a short video and website to help community groups understand and meet their food safety obligations when running fundraising food stalls. 

Temporary or mobile food premises

Information for community groups and businesses 

In Victoria all food premises must get a Food Act registration from Council before selling food. This includes fixed premises, such as cafes and restaurants, as well as temporary and mobile food premises, such as a food van or market stall. 

Download our Guideline sheet about Running a food stall(PDF, 169KB) for more information.

What is a temporary food premises? 

According to the Food Act 1984 a temporary food premises is a structure that is not permanently fixed to a site. This includes things such as a tent, a stall or a marquee. Common examples are market stalls or sausage sizzles. 

It also includes the temporary use of a kitchen not owned or leased by the food business. For example, if you are cooking cakes at a hired kitchen to sell later, you need to register your use of this kitchen as a temporary food premises. 

Download our Guideline sheet about Requirements for the sale of food from a temporary food premises(PDF, 181KB) for more information.

The Loddon Mallee region of councils has developed a set of guidelines to assist temporary food premises. Download the Regional Guidelines(PDF, 3MB) for more information. 

What is a mobile food premises? 

Under the Food Act, a mobile food premises is a food premises that is a vehicle. This can include food vans, caravans or trucks, coffee vans, trailers and even bicycles. 

How to register a temporary or mobile food premises

Visit the Foodtrader website to register a temporary or mobile food premises with Council. 

Developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Foodtrader website makes it easier to register your food premises online, whether you’re a business or a community group. Once creating an account, you will have access to the online application form which is lodged to Council for review. 

Once Council approves your registration you can trade anywhere in Victoria without having to register with another council. 

Each time before you trade, you need to log into your Foodtrader account and complete a Statement of Trade (SOT) form. This will inform Council of your activities in the area. 

For example, your community group may have a sausage sizzle stall registered with Council. For each sausage sizzle your group does, you will need to log on and provide the date and location of your temporary food premises. 

Please visit the Foodtrader website for more information or contact our Environmental Health team on 5481 2200 or [email protected].