Food businesses

Overview

In Nillumbik, any business that sells food or drink must be registered with Nillumbik Shire Council and follow regulations to ensure that the food they sell is safe to eat.

Under the Victorian Food Act 1984 you must register the premises where your food is prepared for sale (or provided as part of a service).

This includes:

  • cafes
  • restaurants
  • domestic kitchens
  • mobile food vehicles
  • food stalls
  • grocers
  • supermarkets
  • child care centres
  • aged care facilities
  • similar businesses

Note: Some primary industry businesses need to be registered with other authorities, not Council. Meat and poultry processing facilities, butchers and fishmongers need to register with PrimeSafe. Dairy processors, transporters, manufacturers and distributors need to register with Dairy Food Safety Victoria.

 

Before you apply to register

Are you starting a new food business or changing an existing food business? To avoid costly mistakes:

 

Meeting food safety requirements

Food businesses are classified depending on the type of food sold. The category each business falls into determines the level of regulation and requirements imposed on the business.
 

Classification of food businesses

Class 1

Businesses that handle food that may be potentially hazardous, and/or is served to vulnerable groups. These food premises are deemed to have the highest risk. Examples include hospitals, aged care facilities and child care centres.

Class 2

Businesses whose main activity is handling unpackaged, potentially hazardous foods which need correct temperature control to keep them safe. Examples include restaurants, caterers, cafes and most manufacturers.

Class 3

Businesses whose main activity involves the handling or sale of unpackaged low-risk foods, or pre-packaged potentially hazardous foods that are not commonly associated with food poisoning. Examples include milk bars, convenience stores, wholesalers and water carters.

Class 4

Businesses that pose a low risk to public health. Generally, this includes the sale of pre-packaged shelf-stable foods. Examples include uncut fruit and vegetables, bottle shops, simple sausage sizzles.

For more information about food business classifications, visit the Victorian government's Food business classifications page.

Food safety programs and templates

In Victoria, all Class 1 and 2 food premises need a Food Safety Program. To find out which Class applies to your food business, see 'Classification of food businesses' above.

A Food Safety Program is a written plan that shows what a business does to ensure that the food it sells is safe for people to eat. It is an important tool to help businesses handle, process or sell potentially hazardous foods. This is necessary to maintain safe food handling practices and protect public health. 

There are two categories of Food Safety Programs:

  • Standard Food Safety Programs: these are templated Food Safety Programs developed by a food industry group or by the Department of Health. Refer to the Department of Health website for a list of registered templates or to download the template at no cost. Most businesses choose this option.
  • Non-standard Food Safety Program: this is an independent, audited Food Safety Program. Some franchise businesses, large businesses, child care and aged care facilities have non-standard Food Safety Programs. Food businesses who use a non-standard Food Safety Program must undergo an annual third party audit.

Class 1

Must complete and submit a Food Safety Program to Council.

Class 2

Must complete and submit a Food Safety Program to Council.

Class 3

Can choose to use either a Food Safety Program Template, or keep Minimum Records - a simplified version of a Food Safety Program.

Class 4

No food safety program is required.

Find more information about Food Safety Programs at the Department of Health website.

Food safety supervisors

Everyone who works in a food business is responsible for ensuring that the food they sell or prepare for sale is safe for people to eat.

Business proprietors of a food premises must ensure that food safety processes are put in place and that they work. The business owner may nominate a food safety supervisor to work under the owner’s direction. The food safety supervisor’s role is to supervise food handing in the business and to make sure it’s done safely.

All staff handling food need to have the skills and knowledge relevant to their tasks. The means that different people in the business will need to know different things. For example, the cook will need different skills and knowledge than those required by a dishwasher or front-of-house staff.

A food safety supervisor is a person who:

  • knows how to recognise, prevent and alleviate the hazards associated with food handling at your premises
  • has met an appropriate food safety competency standard for your type of food premises through a registered training organisation
  • has the ability and authority to supervise other people handling food at your premises and ensure that food handling is done safely

A food safety supervisor must have completed recognised training, and you must submit their Statement of Attainment to council when registering your food business. The training must meet the Minimum Competency Standards. To find a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) visit MySkills. 

Class 1

Must ensure there is a food safety supervisor for the premises.

Class 2

Must ensure there is a food safety supervisor for the premises.

Class 3

Do not need to have a food safety supervisor. However, must ensure that all staff working at the premises have skills and knowledge to safely handle food in their premises.

Class 4

Do not need to have a food safety supervisor. However, must ensure that all staff working at the premises have skills and knowledge to safely handle food in their premises.

Class 3 and 4 businesses are encouraged to complete food safety learning programs such as Do Food Safely.

Find more information about Food safety supervisors at the Department of Health website.

Food safety for community groups

The Victorian government has developed a free online resource to help community groups understand and meet their food safety obligations when selling food to raise funds.

Allergens

Under Clause 4 of Standard 1.2.3 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code), eleven foods or substances are identified as requiring mandatory declaration on the label of packaged foods for sale in Australia. These foods or substances can cause an allergic, intolerant or auto-immune response in some people. Declaring the presence of these substances on the label of packaged food allows people with allergies to make informed and safe choices about the food they buy.

For unpackaged food that is not required to bear a label, such as meals from a café or restaurant, allergen advisory statements and declarations must be stated in labelling that is displayed in connection with the display of the food or provided to the purchaser on request.

The Code also states that food businesses must take reasonable measures to ensure they do not compromise the safety and suitability of food. For example, by keeping preparation areas and equipment separate, and ensuring equipment is properly cleaned so that non-allergenic food is not mixed in with allergenic food.

The eleven substances are:

  • cereals containing gluten and their products – namely, wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt, and their hybrid strains
  • crustacea and their products
  • egg and egg products
  • fish and fish products
  • milk and milk products
  • peanuts and peanut products
  • tree nuts and tree nut products (does not include coconut)
  • sesame seeds and sesame seed products
  • soybean and soybean products
  • added sulphites in concentrations of 10 mg/kg or more
  • lupin

There are also strict mandatory warning statement requirements to declare the presence of royal jelly.

Find out more by reading the Food Standards User Guide to Labelling of Ingredients.

Cleaning and sanitising

Cleaning and sanitising should usually be done as separate processes. A surface needs to be thoroughly cleaned before it is sanitised, as sanitisers generally do not work well in the presence of food residues and detergents.

The six recommended steps for effective cleaning and sanitising are:

1. Pre-clean: scrape or wipe food scraps and other matter off surfaces and rinse with water.

2. Wash: use hot water and detergent to remove grease and food residue. (Soak if needed.)

3. Rinse: rinse off detergent and any loosened residue.

4. Sanitise: use a sanitiser to destroy remaining microorganisms (refer to manufacturer’s instructions.

5. Final rinse: wash off the sanitiser if necessary (refer to manufacturer’s instructions).

6. Dry: allow to drip dry or use single use towels.

Sanitising 

Check with your chemical supplier for advice about what cleaning and sanitising agents are suitable for your food premises, vehicles, food contact surfaces and equipment.

However, if you are using a bleach sanitiser the following must be undertaken -

  • To sanitise equipment at 100 parts per million chlorine, use appropriate bleach and water solution ratios –
    • 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon of bleach) to 1 litre of water for household bleaches (4% chlorine) or 1 ml of bleach to 1 litre of water for commercial bleaches (10% chlorine).
  • Make up your bleach and water solutions every 24 hours because the chemical breaks down and becomes ineffective after this time.
  • Prepare solutions away from food and food preparation areas. Old batches or out of date chemicals should be disposed of safely.

Refer to Food Standards Appendix 6: Cleaning and sanitising surfaces and utensils for more information

Food recalls

The Food Industry Recall Protocol provides information on recalling food in Australia and guidance for food businesses on developing a written food recall plan. A food recall is action taken to remove from distribution, sale and consumption, food which is unsafe. This means food that may cause illness or other physical harm to a person consuming the food.

The three primary objectives of a food recall are to:

  • stop the distribution and sale of the product as soon as possible
  • inform the government, the food businesses that have received the recalled food and the public (consumer level recalls only) of the problem
  • effectively and efficiently remove unsafe product from the market place.

Find further information at the Food Standards website.

 

Labelling

All packaged foods sold in Australia must comply with the labelling requirements stated within the Food Standards Code. These requirements have been adopted into food law by all states and territories in Australia, ensuring that food labelling regulations are consistent across Australia. The Code can be accessed via the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website.

Food labels are required by law to carry essential information so that consumers are informed of the nature and properties of foods prior to purchase –- this includes statements about the presence of allergenic ingredients that could lead to life-threatening allergic reactions in susceptible persons if the labelling information is not accurate. Some information may also voluntarily be offered on food labels by food businesses, giving consumers greater information to make informed purchasing choices.

Food businesses must also ensure that they are not potentially misleading or deceiving consumers with any claims that are made on food labels (whether intentional or not).

As food labelling requirements may differ around the world, businesses that are importing food for sale in Australia need to ensure that these foods comply with Australian labelling regulations before selling the food.

It is an offence under the Victorian Food Act 1984 to sell food that is not compliant with the Code. It is the responsibility of the supplier of the food (this includes manufacturers, distributors, importers and retailers) to ensure that food labels are compliant with all relevant regulations before selling the food. If food businesses are unsure whether their food complies with the relevant regulations, they should engage the services of a lawyer or food regulatory consultant.

Further information

 

Registering your food business

The Food Act 1984 requires all businesses that handle, prepare, package, store, serve, supply and repackage food to be registered with their local council.

Registering a new food business or altering an existing food business

Submit your application - Class 1, 2 or 3

When you are ready, complete the Application to register a food premises form. Please note this form will soon be replaced by a single online application form - we appreciate your patience.

Submitting your application includes:

  • Payment of the relevant registration fee. Please see the schedule of fees and charges here.
  • Submit a floorplan of the business, displaying all equipment and sink locations
  • Submit a proposed menu
  • Provide a copy of the current Food Safety Program for your business (Class 1 and 2 premises only)
  • Provide a copy of the nominated Food Safety Supervisor's certificate (Class 1 and 2 premises only)

After your application is received, an Environmental Health Officer will review the submitted documents. The Officer will then contact you to arrange an appointment to meet onsite and conduct a Risk Assessment. A report will then be issued listing any non-conformances. Following the final inspection, a Certificate of Registration will be issued.

Submit your notification - Class 4

If you are operating a Class 4 food business or premises, please notify Council by completing the Class 4 Notification form(PDF, 264KB).

This form may be returned:

  • in person at Nillumbik Shire Council offices (Civic Drive Greensborough)
  • by mail to PO Box 476 Greensborough VIC 3088
  • by email to health.services@nillumbik.vic.gov.au
  • by fax to 03 9433 3777

 

Buying and transferring an existing food business

If you are purchasing a food business that has an existing food business registration, an application must be made to Council to transfer the registration to the new owner of the business.

Pre-purchase inspection 

We advise arranging a pre-purchase inspection before entering into a contract to purchase an existing food business. A pre-purchase inspection will inform you of any outstanding items or structural requirements placed on the business. A pre-purchase inspection may also help with negotiating the settlement with the existing proprietor. Please contact the Environmental Health team (9433 3340 or health.services@nillumbik.vic.gov.au) to arrange a pre-purchase inspection.

Transfer of registration 

When settlement of a business purchase is complete, you can start the process of transferring a food business already registered with Nillumbik Shire by: 

  • Completing the Transfer of Registration form
  • Paying of relevant registration fee. Please contact Council for the relevant fee for your food premises (Environmental Health team - 9433 3340 or health.services@nillumbik.vic.gov.au)
  • Submitting a floorplan of the business, displaying all equipment and sink locations
  • Submitting a proposed menu
  • Providing a copy of the current Food Safety Program for your business (Class 1 and Class 2 premises only)
  • Providing a copy of the nominated Food Safety Supervisor's certificate (Class 1 and Class 2 Premises only)

Starting a home-based food business

A domestic kitchen registration is available for businesses where food is prepared, handled or stored for sale at events or markets from a private dwelling.

All registered domestic kitchens should be designed appropriately for the nature and quantities of foods produced and are only suitable for small amounts of foods.

The design and construction of the domestic kitchen must comply with the following:

The fit out requirements to register a domestic kitchen include, but are not limited to:

  • Separate hand wash basin with warm running water for hand washing
  • Separate sink for food preparation
  • Dishwasher
  • Separate and adequate storage area for the storage of food
  • Durable, smooth, impervious and easy to clean surfaces for benches, floor etc.
  • Adequate ventilation
  • A separate drain for the disposal of wastewater
  • Adequate pest proofing of the premises
  • A food grade sanitiser
  • A digital probe thermometer

 

For more information, contact a member of the Environmental Health team on 03 9433 3111 or environmental.health@nillumbik.vic.gov.au

Renewing your food business registration

Operators of food businesses must renew their food business registration every year. We do not send renewal notices for Class 4 food premises registrations, as they do not need to be renewed.

When to renew 

We will send you a renewal application in October/November. If any of your contact or business details have changed you will need to update the information on the form and return it to us by email or post. 

You must pay your renewal by the end of December. From 31 December, any food business that fails to pay for their renewal is considered unregistered.  

How to renew

You can pay your renewal fee online via our website. 

Alternatively you can also visit our Shire Office in Civic Drive, Greensborough to make a payment in person. 

If you need any help with your renewal payment please contact Environmental Health on 9433 3340.

 

Temporary and mobile food businesses

There are different requirements for community groups and businesses selling food from a food stall, truck, van or cart.

Streatrader for temporary and mobile food stalls and vehicles

Streatrader is an online system used to manage the statewide registration of temporary and mobile food stalls and vans (temporary food premises) operating throughout Victoria.

Streatrader provides a central registration for mobile and temporary food premises and simplifies the application process when trading in any Victorian municipality or across multiple municipalities. 

Who uses Streatrader?

  • Temporary food business - this includes community groups or businesses that conduct the activity within stalls, tents or other temporary structures at markets, festivals, fetes and other short-term events
  • Mobile food businesses - a vehicle that moves site to site such as vans, trailers and carts from which food is sold.
  • Food vending machines - these are treated like a food premises. The owner must register each vending machine, not the premises where it is located.
  • Water transport vehicles - vehicles that are used to transport water for human consumption or that is used to prepare food, make ice for consumption, or preserve unpackaged foods. These are usually treated as a class 3 mobile food premises and must be registered with their principal council via Streatrader. View a guide for private drinking water carters here.

Streatrader registration

You can complete your Streatrader registration online

  • Create your login and the system will guide you through the process until you are ready to lodge the forms with council
  • Once you lodge your registration through Streatrader, your principal council (the location at which you routinely prepare or store food or equipment) will contact you directly regarding any requirements and fees. Your submission will be assessed, to ensure your premises complies with the Food Act 1984. You should allow 21 days for the registration and notification to be processed.
  • Once an application to register or notify is accepted by your principal council, your food business or community group can trade anywhere in Victoria, provided a Statement of Trade has been lodged with the Council in which you will be trading 

Statements of Trade can be continually lodged and managed through Streatrader by accessing your account. A Statement of Trade must be lodged before each event and there is no fee to lodge a Statement of Trade.

Registering your food business with Streatrader satisfies the requirement of the Food Act, and means you do not need to complete a separate application with Council.

For more information view Starting Your Mobile Food Business in Victoria here.

Visit the Streatrader website here.

Setting up for an event

The set-up of your temporary food premises must be appropriate for the activities you will be conducting. This includes everything related to the handling and preparation of food for sale (eg. cooking, displaying, serving, etc.) through to cleaning and sanitising. You must consider every necessary detail such as:

  • the storage of food,
  • packaging materials,
  • cleaning chemicals, and
  • access for deliveries and collection of equipment and garbage.

For more information regarding setting up for an event, please refer to Temporary Food Premises Guidelines

Further information:

Community groups

Many community groups in Victoria hold sausage sizzles and cake stalls to raise funds for their group or to donate to charity.

To sell food to the public in Victoria, you will require a Food Act registration from a municipal council, and a Statement of Trade needs to be lodged with the council in whose area you will be trading.

Further information:

Private water carters

A water transport vehicle is a Class 3 food premises, provided that the water is obtained from an approved supplier.

Private drinking water carters are required to register their business and water transport vehicles with their principal council via Streatrader. Then water carters need to lodge one Statement of Trade per year to each council whose municipality they plan to be trading in.

Further information:

 

Complaints about food businesses

To make a complaint about a food business in Nillumbik, please contact:

Environmental Health
Tel: 03 9433 3340 
Email: nillumbik@nillumbik.vic.gov.au