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Register a Food Business

The Food Act 1984 requires that most businesses that manufacture, sell, handle, prepare, package, store, serve, supply, or repackage food be registered with the local council.

However, if you intend to:

 

Understand your requirements

Before applying for registration, it is important that you understand the requirements relevant to your business.

The following websites are designed to help start and grow your business:

 

Food Safety requirements

Food premises design and construction

All food business must comply with the Food Act 1984 and FSANZ food standards code. The food premises must be suitably constructed for the purpose of the intended food processes to help ensure the safety of the food.

As required under the Food Act, the construction of your premises must comply with Standard 3.2.3 of the Food Standards Code. Read more about Food Standards 

Safe Food Australia is a guide to the food safety standards set out in the food standards code and explains the requirements for:

  • structural requirements for fitting out a premises
  • food safety practices that all food handlers must follow

To access the guide, please visit the Safe Food Australia website.

To further assist you in understanding the structural requirements, download Council’s Food Structure Structural Specifications or take the virtual shop tour on FoodStart.

As part of the construction of your premises, you will also need to contact South East Water to determine if you require a grease trap or oil interceptor. For further information, contact South East Water on 131 867 or visit the South East Water website.

Food safety program and food safety training

All Class 1 and Class 2 food premises must have a food safety supervisor and a food safety program. Council will help you determine which class the food premises fits into, based on the food safety risks and the highest risk food-handling activity.

Information about the class of registration can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Allergen management

Allergen awareness is an important part of running a food business. All food businesses are required to make sure that all staff understand the implications of an allergic reaction and have processes in place to protect your customers. For more information visit the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) website.

Labelling packaged foods

Food businesses that are producing or importing packaged products must ensure the food labels comply with Part 1.2 of the Food Standards Code.

There is also a large range of information on the Department of Health and Human Services website including food safety programs, food safety supervisor requirements and labelling.

 

What you need to do

Follow these steps to register your business:

Step 1 – Do you need a Planning or Building Permit?

All applicants should first contact the appropriate departments within Council to determine if a planning permit or building permit is required for the proposed business.

For further information please contact:

  • Council’s Planning Department on 8571 1575 or for more information visit the Planning section
  • Council’s Building Department on 8571 1529 or for more information visit the Building section, or
  • Visit the Planning Counter on Level 3, 225 Lonsdale Street, Dandenong

 

Step 2 - Apply for Registration under the Food Act 1984

Download and complete all parts of the Application for Registration of a new Fixed Food Premises. Sign and date the form and send it in to Council. Don’t forget to enclose a copy of the floor plans for your food premises.

The floor plan should be drawn to a scale of not less than 1:100 and include:

  • the layout of the premises, including all fittings and equipment in the premises
  • location of hand washing facilities, food preparation sinks, dishwashing sinks, dishwasher (if provided)
  • a description of the materials to be used for the surface finishes including walls, floors, ceiling, shelving and bench tops etc.
  • location of the waste disposal area, grease trap, bin wash area, storage areas, toilets and cleaners sink

By providing detailed floor plans, it will assist Council in processing your application in ensuring that the premises complies with relevant standards and will minimise the risk of having to undertake costly remedial work. Download a food premises floor plan example.

Once you have lodged your application, an Environmental Health Officer may contact you to discuss your food processes and the products that you intend produce, handle or sell and determine your class of registration.

You should allow at least three weeks for Council to process your application.


Step 3 – Construct and Fit Out your Premises

Construction and fit out of the premises can only commence once you have received a copy of the stamped plans and letter of approval from Council.

During construction, contact the Public Health Unit to organise a progress inspection. This inspection will assess compliance with the requirements of the Food Act.

 

Step 4 – Apply for Final Inspection for Registration

Once the fit out is completed, payment of the invoice for registration must be made to Council before the Public Health Unit can be contacted for a final inspection. Please contact the Public Health Unit at least 5 working days before the final inspection on 8571 1000 or email publichealth@cgd.vic.gov.au.

The final inspection will assess compliance with the requirements of the Food Act and the Food Standards Code.

To prepare for the final inspection, please ensure that:

  • all construction works are finished

  • the premises is clean and ready to commence trade

  • electrical power, gas and hot water are connected

  • refrigerators and freezers are operating at the correct temperature

  • the name of the proprietor is displayed prominently on the premises. Lettering should be at least 60mm in height and in contrast to the background colour

You will also need to provide:

  • an appropriate chemical food grade sanitiser, either chlorine based or quaternary ammonium

  • a digital probe thermometer calibrated to ± 1°C, that reads -50oC to +150oC

  • copy of the Compliance Certificate for the plumbing works 

  • copy of the Compliance Certificate for any gas work

  • copy of the Certificate of Electrical Safety for the electrical installation work, and

  • Trade Waste Agreement from South East Water

If you are a Class 1 or Class 2 food premises you will need:

 

2018-19 Food Act Registration Fees

Fixed food premises (GST exempt):     

New Class 1 or Class 2 registration 

$1,080

New Class 3 registration

$465   

Charity/ Not For Profit (listed on the ACNC register)

Nil fee


You cannot begin trading until you have been granted registration under the Food Act. Penalties apply for operating a food business without registration.

The registration period for all fixed food premises is 1 August to 31 July each year.

 

Refunds for Food Business registration

Food related business registration fees are set at rates aimed at recovering Council’s costs in:

  • administering the registration and renewal processes

  • undertaking annual inspection of food businesses, to ensure compliance with legislation and food safety standards

  • undertaking follow up and educational visits to registered businesses

Refund of Business registration fees is therefore subject to the following conditions:

  1. No refunds are available for businesses in their first year of trading.
  2. No refunds are available for businesses that have already had an annual inspection during the current registration period.
  3. Subject to Clause 5 below, refunds are only available within the first six months of the registration period.
  4. 50% of the renewal fee paid will be refunded to a business that is closing or ceasing to trade in food or health related services.
  5. Should a person pay a registration renewal fee prior to commencement of the registration period for a given year and the subject business subsequently closes or ceases to trade in food before that period commences, a full refund of the fee shall be made.
  6. In all cases, the refund shall be subject to provision of evidence of the business’s closure or change of services.