Food safety standards

Food premises such as hotels, restaurants, take-away shops, stalls and food caravans must comply with food safety standards.

Our health officers routinely visit premises such as hotels, restaurants, take away shops, stalls and food caravans, to ensure that they comply with food safety standards.

By law, food retailers must ensure that all food is:

  • free from contamination
  • unadulterated
  • safe for consumption.

So you want to run a food business?

If you are thinking about buying an existing food business or starting your own, there are some important things you should know. To protect the public, all food businesses must comply with our food laws, including the Victoria Food Act 1984. Visit the Department of Health - Food Business Information for further details.

We have created an animated video to assist you visually in setting up a new food business. It will take you through each step of the application process.

How to set up a safe food business in Darebin video

Registering a food business

Step 1: Planning permit and building permits

Prior to registering your food business, make an enquiry about your proposal to our Planning and Building departments.

Check to determine whether your intended proposal requires further permits. If a planning or building permit is required, do not commence any work on the food premises until you have received the required permits.

If you proceed with the works and commence to open for business without the required permits, you will be required to stop operating your business until you have the necessary permits.

Compliance with disability access requirements

All buildings should be accessible to, and provide facilities for all members of the public, including people with a disability. The Building Code of Australia sets the minimum requirements which should be assessed by your building surveyor as part of the building permit process.

By providing good access to people with a disability, whether they are patrons or staff, you are also increasing access for a wide range of other people including mothers with prams, older people and delivery people with trolleys. With 19% of the population having a disability of some kind, it makes good business sense to provide access for everyone.

Step 2: On-site inspection

Contact us to arrange an onsite meeting with a health officer to discuss your proposed food premises.

Step 3: Premises specifications and plans approval

To assist you with the layout of your food premises please refer to the relevant food guidelines for detail on food premises specifications and standards

Draw a plan of your proposal on A4 or A3 size paper, showing the following items:

  • The use of each area of the premises
  • The location of all fittings, hand basins, sinks, cool rooms and equipment
  • Location of the floor waste drains, cleaners sink and grease trap
  • Details of floors, walls, ceilings, fittings and their finishes
  • Provide specifications on the mechanical exhaust system.

Then, contact the Better Approvals team for further advice before submitting your application.

Step 4: Food Safety Supervisor (FSS)

All Class 1 and Class 2 premises must name someone to be the Food Safety Supervisor. The supervisor must ensure that all staff who handle food in the business have the skills and knowledge appropriate to their duties.

The supervisor is required to undertake formal training and must complete theFood Safety supervisor course prior to the business opening. You also must submit a copy of the Statement of Attainment (course certificate) at the final inspection.

Download our list of local food safety supervisor training organisations.

Step 5: Food Safety Program (FSP)

During the final inspection, all class 1 and class 2 premises must lodge a food safety program with the health officer. The written program shows how a business monitors all procedures involved in safe food handling.

Food safety standards cleanliness video

Step 6: Pre-final inspections

Contact your health officer for inspections to be made during construction. We encourage food business operators or builders to work closely with your health officer at all stages of construction.

Step 7: Final inspection and application for registration

Once the premises has been given final approval to operate, the health officer will provide you with an "Application for a new Food Act" registration form.

At the final inspection the health officer will require the following items:

  • A completed "Application for a new Food Act registration" form
  • New registration fee according to class type
  • Statement of Attainment for the Food Safety Supervisor.

The Certificate of Registration will be posted out to you within two weeks.

Food handler information sessions

We run free Food handler information sessions for all food handlers working within a food business in Darebin. These information sessions are divided into industry specific groups and cover a range of topics.

Get in touch with us directly for further information:

Health Protection
Phone: 03 8470 8658

Purchasing an existing food business

Prior to purchase, any intending buyer is strongly recommended to obtain an inspection report of the premises by a health officer to determine what work needs to be done (if any) to bring it up to standard.

The request should be made two weeks prior to settlement to ensure any outstanding items are completed prior to sale, otherwise these outstanding items become the responsibility of the new proprietor. A fee applies to each pre-purchase inspection.

Upon receipt of the Request for premises inspection form you will be advised as to any matters requiring attention and an application form to transfer the registration.

Food safety in an emergency

To help you prepare for a power failure, read the Food safety in an emergency from Department of Health which outlines what to do during and after a power outage.

Further information

Health Protection
Phone: 03 8470 8658