Starting a new food business

Council support and assistance

If you are thinking of starting a new food business, Council's Environmental Health Officers can support and assist you with the process and help you understand and achieve compliance with relevant standards and codes.

Council offers a range of optional services to help you set up your new food business. We can provide you with advice and assistance, including a free on-site meeting and a plans assessment service that includes progress inspections during construction.

We strongly encourage you to use these services as they can reduce costs, delays and potential rework of premises.

Free on-site meeting

If you are thinking of starting a new food business, Council strongly recommends that you contact Council to organise a free meeting with us at your new premises.

This meeting allows you and Council to clarify any major concerns and help you understand and comply with relevant standards and codes.

Food premise plans assessment

After you have met with Council, we also recommend that you submit your plans and specifications to Council for assessment. This assessment helps us to understand your ideas and the scope of your business.

As part of this assessment service, Council reviews your plans to check they comply with the requirements of the Food Standards Code. You will also receive advice and assistance in setting up your new food business.

It is your responsibility to apply for any necessary planning permits or building permits before you can commence works on your new food business. For example, you may need a permit if you intend to renovate or extend the building, or require a liquor licence. 

How to submit your plans for assessment

What you need

With your application you need to include:

  • two copies of a plan layout and specifications of the proposed business (see an example of plans and elevations (DOC 146Kb))
  • a comprehensive list of food to be made and sold from the premises
  • a food safety program (depending on your food business classification), and
  • details of a food safety supervisor and proof of competency (depending on your food business classification).

The structural plans should include all relevant details, including:

  • dimensions and details of fixtures and fittings, including location and elevations, for example sinks, handbasins, ovens, cooktops and mechanical exhaust systems, and
  • specifications of various material to be used on floors, walls, ceilings, benches, and shelves.

How to apply

Download and complete the Application to Submit Plans for Food Premises form (DOC 134Kb).

Mail your application and relevant documentation to Moreland City Council, Locked Bag 10, Moreland, VIC 3058, or deliver in person to Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg.

This application fee is $370 for businesses with less than 20 employees.

Council sends you a customised invoice for the registration application. Once payment has been received, Council will conduct a final inspection. In our experience, proprietors who use our plans assessment service are less likely to encounter any major issues with the registration process.

You can contact Council to find out more about food business plans assessment.

What happens after you apply

After Council has assessed you plans, you will receive a report that identifies:

  • any non-compliant items
  • any details that requires clarification or more information
  • any additional costs that may be incurred, and
  • options and suggestions that may resolve any issues.

Food safety program

A food safety program is a plan that shows what a business does to ensure that the food it sells is safe for human consumption. It is an important tool for helping businesses that handle, process or sell potentially hazardous foods to maintain safe food handling practices and protect people's health.

Class 1 and class 2 food businesses must have a tailored food safety program appropriate to their food business activities.

Due to the lower food safety risk associated with the food handling activities at these premises, class 3 and 4 food premises do not need a food safety program, however they do need to keep completed basic records about certain food safety practices on site. This includes details about suppliers and potentially hazardous food.

See food classes for more information about food business classification.

Class 1

Class 1 food safety programs must be specifically tailored to take into account the food handling activities at the premises and address the risks associated with the vulnerable people who are supplied food by the facility.

The Department of Health has more information on food safety programs for class 1 food premises.

Class 2

A food safety program is a plan that shows what a business does to ensure that the food it sells is safe for human consumption. It is an important tool for helping businesses that handle, process or sell potentially hazardous foods to maintain safe food handling practices and protect people's health.

Class 2 food premises have more choice than Class 1 premises in how they develop their food safety program. The food safety program for Class 2 premises can be:

  • completed using any suitable template registered with the Department of Health, or
  • an independent ('non-standard') program that is developed specifically for the premises.

Food businesses can develop their own food safety program using a registered food safety program template.

The Department of Health has a simplified food safety program template for class 2 premises. This template is suitable for a range of class 2 premises, including cafes and restaurants. A business with multiple associated class 2 food premises can also use it for all their class 2 activities. For example:

  • a restaurant that also provides off-site catering, or
  • a business that prepares food at a permanent site and sells it from a stall at markets.

A free food safety program template for class 2 retail and food service businesses is also available on FoodSmart. FoodSmart is a Victorian government website designed to help retail and food service businesses develop their food safety programs.

Class 3 and Class 4

Due to the lower food safety risk associated with the food handling activities at class 3 and 4 premises, these premises do not need a food safety program, however they do need to keep completed basic records about certain food safety practices on site. This includes details about suppliers and potentially hazardous food.

Food safety supervisor

Class 1 and class 2 food businesses must have a food safety supervisor at all times. Class 3 and 4 do not require a food safety supervisor.

The role of a food safety supervisor is to supervise food handling in the business and make sure it is done safely.

A food safety supervisor must:

  • know how to recognise, prevent and reduce hazards associated with food handling
  • have a Statement of Attainment from a registered training organisation, and
  • have the ability and authority to supervise other people handling food at your business and make sure it is done safely.

The food safety supervisor may be the proprietor or an employee of the food business.

There are minimum units of competency needed to be a food safety supervisor and these vary depending on the classification of your food business. For information about accreditation in food safety practices by registered training organisations see Australian Government skills training website .

The Department of Health and the Food Standards Australia New Zealand have more information on food safety supervisors and the required training.