Home Business information Start a business Start a food business – Business Victoria

In Victoria, we’re famous for our hospitality. Locals and visitors alike can enjoy the very best restaurants, cafes, bars and more.
Running a food business can be an exciting and rewarding opportunity to do something you love and share it with the world.
When you’re thinking about starting a food business it’s important to understand the different requirements you need to meet to ensure food is safe, suitable and correctly labelled.
These requirements include:
Food safety laws affect every Victorian’s health and safety. In Victoria, all food businesses must comply with the Food Act 1984, which oversees food safety.
To help you navigate the requirements for food businesses under the Victorian Food Act 1984, you can find a fantastic range of information, resources and tips available on the Department of Health website.
Deciding to open a food business, to share your love of food and cooking skills with the public, is an exciting one. It’s important to be aware of the many considerations and steps involved before you can start selling your food.
The Victorian Food Act sets out the rules to ensure food for sale in Victoria is safe to eat. Knowing the rules that cover how to safely handle, store and prepare different types of food for sale is essential.
A good place to start is to visit the Department of Health and Human Services website, where you can find a range of relevant information about key considerations to be made when starting a food business.
Once you know a little more about what to expect when starting a food business, it is a good idea to get in touch with your local council. By calling or visiting the council, you can talk to an Environmental Health Officer – an EHO – who can guide you through the food safety considerations.
In order to proceed, you will need to comply with the legislation in the Victorian Food Act and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
Preparation is a key factor when starting a food business. Being organised from the start, by doing multiple tasks at the same time, may mean you will be able to open your business without unnecessary delays.
If you’re thinking of running a food business from your kitchen at home, you need to make sure your kitchen is suitable, and that you have the correct food handling skills to ensure the food is handled safely.
A home kitchen must be able to handle and prepare foods as safely as a commercial kitchen or premises. You must discuss the type of foods you will be preparing, and who you are selling to, with your local council EHO.
This may mean you will have to make alterations or upgrades to ensure your kitchen meets food safety standards. For example, you may need to install a separate sink.
Any necessary upgrades can be worked on alongside other processes. If you’re unsure about any of the kitchen upgrades, don’t hesitate to run them past your local council before undertaking them.
Depending on the type of food you would like to sell, you may need to develop a Food Safety Program, and obtain a Food Safety Supervisor Certificate – which shows you have the required food safety competencies from a registered training organisation. This can be you or a senior staff member. The department’s webpage has further information about how to obtain these certificates.
Your assigned EHO will come to inspect the premises, and if everything is compliant, approve your registration.
If food is sold in another location from where it was prepared or cooked, both premises will need to meet all the requirements.
In addition to registering your home based premises with the council, you will also need to apply – either online or in person – for a Statement Of Trade before you start selling your food at an event.
Once your food is being sold to the public, an EHO may conduct spot checks to ensure your food business remains compliant with the Act and the code.
Make sure your premises remains staffed with people knowledgeable and skilled in food safety. A good resource is the department’s free online food handling training program called DoFoodSafely.
It is your responsibility to ensure that the food sold is safe to eat and free of any contamination. Food safety is great for business, for your customers, and for you.
For transcripts in Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Hindi and Vietnamese, please visit the Department of Health website.
Opening a cafĂ© or restaurant is an exciting endeavour. It’s important to be aware of the many considerations and steps involved before you can start selling your food.
In selecting a location, you may decide to take over an existing premises, or build from scratch. Regardless, you need to take your time to plan and ensure that your food business meets all the requirements.
The Victorian Food Act sets out the rules to ensure food for sale in Victoria is safe to eat. Knowing the rules that cover how to safely handle, prepare and store different types of food for sale is essential.
A good place to start is to visit the Department of Health and Human Services website, where you can find a range of relevant information about key considerations to be made when starting a food business.
An existing premises may look like it’s ready, especially if a restaurant has occupied it in the past, but it may not suit your needs.
For example, storage and cooking areas might be small, and not able to accommodate your proposed output of food.
In order to start your food business, it will need to comply with the Food Act, and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards code.
Once you know a little more about what to expect when starting a food business, it is a good idea to get in touch with your local council. By calling or visiting the council, you can talk to an Environmental Health Officer – an EHO – who can guide you through the safety considerations.
It is recommended you discuss your processes with the EHO to ensure your restaurant meets all the legal requirements from the beginning, and you may save yourself time and money in the long run.
Your council EHO is a valuable and knowledgeable resource, and can give you helpful feedback.
Preparation is a key factor when starting a food business. Being organised from the start by doing multiple tasks at the same time will mean you’ll be able to open your business without unnecessary delays.
Allow yourself plenty of time in case things take longer than expected. It’s always better to be patient and do it properly, to make sure you meet all the requirements of the Food Act and The Code.
Depending on the type of food you would like to sell, you may need to develop a food safety program, which details the ways you will minimise the hazards and risks in the food you produce for sale.
You may also need to need to obtain a Food Safety Supervisor certificate, which shows you have the required food safety competencies from a registered training organisation. This can be you or a senior staff member. The Department’s website has further information about how to obtain these certificates.
It is also important that all your food handlers have the necessary food handling knowledge before they start. A good resource is the Department’s free online food handling training program, called DoFoodSafely.
If everything is compliant, the premises is approved and registered to open.
As a fixed premises, the council will conduct annual inspections to make sure the food you sell is handled safely. It is your responsibility as the food proprietor to ensure you comply with the Food Act and Food Standards Code.
Your EHO keeps a record of any breaches or non- compliances, so it’s vital to maintain the highest possible level of food safety at all times, especially for the safety of your customers.
Additionally, all staff need to be fully aware of food safety. This also includes food allergens, which are a critical aspect when handling food. Go to the Department’s website for more information about allergens.
It is the food business’s responsibility to ensure that the food sold is safe to eat and free of any contamination.  After all, serving safe food is great for your customers, and it’s great for you.
For transcripts in Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Hindi and Vietnamese, please visit the Department of Health website.
It’s important that you to understand how to safely handle and store food when you’re running a food business.
You can learn about food safety by using the Department of Health’s free online food handler’s learning program, DoFoodSafely.
This award-winning program for food handlers covers important topics such as delivery, storage, food handling and cleaning. It is available in eight languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Hindi, Korean, Nepali, Punjabi and Vietnamese.
Another important source of information is your local council Environmental Health Officer (EHO) who will be able to assist you with registration and licensing requirements.
You can find the contact details for the relevant council at the Know your council website.
Further relevant information about licences and permits to start your food business can be found at the Australian Business License and Information Service (ABLIS).

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