Start a new food business

All Victorian food businesses that handle, prepare, package, store, serve, supply or convey food must be registered or notify under the Food Act.

If you are thinking of starting your own food business in a fixed premise such as a Café, Restaurant, Factory or other permanent structure there are some important steps you will need to follow.

If your business is not a fixed premises, these links will take you to relevant registration information:

Step one - Research your idea and form a business plan

Formulating a business plan is your first and most important step to ensure your business will be sustainable.

Increase your chances of success in your business by checking the tool kit on the Business Victoria website and formulating a business plan. 

Our website also has information on starting and growing your business in Geelong.

Step two - Approval from other authorities

Permits or exemptions may be required from other authorities prior to applying for a registration under the Food Act.

These may include, but are not limited to:

Step three - Application process

The application process for registering your food business will be slightly different for the type or classification of the food you are selling and where you are selling it.

It is recommended that the Proposal to Register a Premises application form is to be submitted to Council with a copy of plans of the premises showing the proposed fit-out PRIOR to any work commencing. Making this application prior to commencing work may save costly alterations at a later date if requirements are not met.

The plans should include:

  • The layout of all fixtures, fittings and equipment

  • A description of materials to be used for surface finishes including walls, floors and bench tops. (A legend on the side of the plan may be used)

An Environmental Health Officer may request further information and/or an inspection of the premises prior to the approval being given. We are also available at any time during the construction phase to meet you on-site.

Once we have received all the relevant information and are satisfied that it meets all the requirements, an approval letter will be sent to the applicant along with a Food Act registration form. This registration form must be returned with the applicable fee.

Step four - Premises construction

When designing or re-designing a food premise you may need to be aware of:

Step five - Food Safety Program

Step six - Food Safety Supervisor

Step seven - Opening for business

In addition to any site or progress inspections of your premises a further inspection of your premises must occur PRIOR to the business opening. Please advise the officer of your intention to open as soon as you know so that an inspection can take place once all works are completed.  

The officer will then give you approval to open the business. This can only happen once you have completed the above steps to the satisfaction of the Environmental Health Officer. It is illegal to operate an unregistered business.

We will conduct a full food safety assessment, approximately 30 days after opening to ensure compliance, especially with regard to your food safety program and the records that you are required to keep.

Step eight - Registration and compliance

Once the officer is satisfied that all requirements have been met then a Certificate of Registration will be issued.

It should be noted that food premises performance is expected to be consistently maintained and additional fees above the annual registration fee may be expected should a food business not reach appropriate food safety levels during the year, these are referred to as performance fees.

Inspections will be carried out throughout the year to ensure compliance is maintained.

Other information which you should be familiar with:

Page last updated: Friday, 21 August 2020