Everybody who prepares, stores or sells food is required under the Food Act 1984 to register their business with Council or notify Council of their operation. The Act defines four different classes of food premises, each with different registration or notification requirements.
Classification of food businesses
The classification system is based on the level of food safety risk posed by the food handling occurring at the business, with Class 1 the highest level of risk and Class 4 the lowest:
- Class 1 - Hospitals, child care centres and listed facilities for the aged, at which ready-to-eat potentially hazardous food is served
- Class 2 - All other premises (other than Class 1) that handle potentially hazardous unpackaged foods
- Class 3 - Premises handling unpackaged low risk foods, selling potentially hazardous pre-packaged foods, or the warehousing or distribution of pre-packaged foods
- Class 4 - Premises that only retail pre-packaged low risk foods, and certain other low risk or occasional activities
For enquiries about the risk classification of a business or in order to classify your new business, please contact Health Services on 9457 9965.
More information can also be found at the Department of Health via the link in Related information.
New food businesses
Before setting up or altering a food business, refer to Council's Health Services Guidelines for Food Premises Design and Equipment to help assist you in ensuring your premises meet the requirements of the Food Standards Code. Before setting up your business it is recommended that you submit two copies of plans to scale (1:100) to Health Services for endorsement. Please note, if plans are not submitted, any works undertaken must comply with the Food Standards Code.
Steps for setting up a new food business
- Step 1 - Obtain approval/permits from other relevant authorities (Planning, Building – call 9490 4222 - and other relevant authorities).
- Step 2 - Determine Risk Class of business under the Food Act 1984 and relevant requirements. Access this information on the Department of Health & Human Services website.
- Step 3 - Lodge 2 copies of plans including specifications or request an inspection of an unregistered premises if using an existing building. A written report/endorsement will be provided in both cases. If submitting plans please allow extra time if additional information is required. Please note, this step is optional, but is recommended to ensure the business complies with requirements and should be done prior to starting any works.
- Step 4 - Obtain a Food Safety Supervisor Certificate and Food Safety Program for Class 1 and 2 businesses or a copy of the Minimum Records for Class 3 businesses.
- Step 5 - Contact Council’s Health Services for progress and final inspections.
- Step 6 - Submit application for registration form with relevant payment.
- Step 7 - Registration Certificate issued under Food Act 1984.
- Step 8 - Start operating business and implement Food Safety Program (Class 1 and 2) or Minimum Records (Class 3).
Buying an existing food business
If you are buying an existing food business, it is advisable but not compulsory to organise an inspection of the premises under the Food Act 1984 prior to negotiating the purchase. Once the premises is transferred into your name, any outstanding food safety requirements will become your responsibility.
Steps for buying an existing food business
- Step 1 - Lodge form with Council requesting inspection - Pre-Purchase Inspection of a Food Premises - with the relevant fee. A report will be provided within 2 or 10 working days depending upon which option you select on the form. This step is optional, although it is recommended to ensure the business complies with the requirements.
- Step 2 - Obtain a Transfer of Registration form (available from Health Services on 9457 9965) and a Food Safety Program & Food Safety Supervisor Certificate for Class 1 and 2 businesses* or a copy of the Minimum Records for Class 3 businesses.
- Step 3 - Once settlement is complete, submit the Transfer of Registration form to Council together with the required fee and a copy of Food Safety Supervisor Certificate (Class 1 and 2 only) - excluding those premises with a Quality Assurance Food Safety Program, for which a Food Safety Supervisor Certificate is not required to be submitted.
If you are taking over a Class 4 business, at settlement you will need to complete an Application for Notification of Food Premises form and submit it to Council.
Making alterations to your business
Guidelines for Food Premises Design and Equipment have been developed to assist people altering a food premises, in line with the Food Standards Code. If you decide to undertake any works, it is recommended to submit 2 copies of plans to scale (1:100) to Health Services for approval prior to commencement of any works. If plans are not submitted, any works undertaken must comply with the Food Safety Standards.
Food safety programs and minimum records
Upon registration, Class 1 and 2 food businesses must have a Food Safety Program on site. Class 3 food businesses must have the Minimum Record sheets.
A Food Safety Program is a written plan that describes how a food business will control, monitor and manage food safely and includes relevant records to verify this. There are two categories of Food Safety Programs:
- Standard Food Safety Programs – these are template Food Safety Programs developed by a food industry group or by the Department of Health. They can be viewed and download on the Department of Health and Human Services website.
- Non-standard Food Safety Program – this is when you write your own Food Safety Program or employ someone to write it for you - for example, many franchise businesses, large businesses, child care and aged care facilities have non-standard Food Safety Programs.
Minimum Record sheets are a simplified version of a food safety program. Refer to the information under Related information.
Food safety supervisor
Class 1 and 2 food businesses that have a Food Safety Program, must also nominate a person to be their Food Safety Supervisor. This person must have a certificate or statement of attainment against the required competencies from a Registered Training Organisation. Food premises that have a Quality Assurance Food Safety Program are exempt from submitting evidence of this training, as they are recognised via their Quality Assurance system. Class 3 food businesses are also exempt from this requirement.
A list of of required competencies and registered training providers can be found under Related Information. Alternatively, contact Council's Health Services on 9457 9965.
Do Food Safely - free online food safety learning program
The Department of Health has developed a free online learning program for people who are either currently or considering working in the food industry. The online training program is informative and includes six topics on food safety and a final quiz. Participants who score more than 90 percent on the quiz are awarded a certificate. If you are interested in completing the free online Food Safety Learning Program, follow the link in Related information.
This training does not satisfy the requirement for a qualification as a Food Safety Supervisor.