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Before you start a food business

Do you need to register?

Under the Food Act 1984, all food businesses that prepare, store and handle food for sale require registration or notification with their local Council. This includes businesses such as:

  • restaurants and cafes
  • takeaway food operators
  • home based food businesses
  • child care centers and aged care services

Licences and approvals you may need

Depending on what kind of food business you plan to operate, there may be a number of licences and approvals you need. We've outlined an overview of the Food Act 1984 compliance requirements relating to setting up a home food buisness in the short video below:

For more information, contact the Environmental Health Team as early as possible and we can guide you through the process. You can contact the Environmental Health Team via phone on 9705 5200.

You may need a building or planning permit

Many food business also require a building and/or planning permit before they can legally operate. You may need a building or planning permit for a variety of things such as:

  • building a brand new food premises
  • changing an existing building into a food premises
  • running a food business from your home
  • getting a liquor licence

We recommend you chat with the Environmental Health Team to discover if and how you can obtain these relevant permits. You can also find more information in the Property and Planning section of our website.

Food business classes

In Victoria, all food businesses are classified into 4 classes. This is based on the highest level of risk the business's food handling activities pose.

Depending on the class your food business falls under, you may need:

We recommend you contact the Environmental Health Team as early as possible to discuss your plans and what classification you may fall into.

Meat, fish and dairy food premises

Some types of food premises do not need to register with Council. Instead, they must register with the appropriate body depending on the type of business they are:

Meat processing and seafood businesses

If your business primarily sells, transports or prepares meat or seafood, you must register with PrimeSafe.

Some examples of businesses that need to register with PrimeSafe include:

  • butchers
  • fishmonger
  • meat and seafood transport vehicle

Dairy food premises

If your business primarily wholesales, makes, transports or prepares dairy products, you must register with Dairy Food Safety Victoria.

Some examples of businesses that need to register with Dairy Food Safety Victoria include:

  • dairy manufacturers
  • dairy farmers
  • dairy distributor
  • dairy food carrier

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