Food businesses

Under the Food Act 1984, businesses operating in Victoria that sell food to the public must register with their local council. This includes businesses operating from home or those that store food at home to use in their food van or temporary food premises.

To protect the health of the public, all food premises must comply with the Food Act 1984, Food Standards Code 3.2.2 and 3.2.3 and Australian Standard 4674-2004 (Design, construction and fit-out of food premises). To assist with compliance, Melton City Council has produced a document called the Food Establishment Specifications which details the most important requirements of the above regulations.

Food establishment specifications

Melton City Council Food Establishment Specifications are designed to assist you with compliance with the Food Standards Code and Food Act 1984. If you have any questions after reading the Food Establishment Specifications we recommend you contact our Environmental Health Services on 03 9747 7200 or via email: health@melton.vic.gov.au.

Food Establishment Specifications(PDF, 6MB)

Plan assessment

It is recommended that prior to undertaking any works at a proposed food premises or at an existing food premises, you submit a copy of your floor plans for assessment. You can alternatively request an inspection by an Environmental Health Officer.

You are welcome to contact us on 03 9747 7200 or via email: health@melton.vic.gov.au to discuss your options.

We recommend that you not begin any works on your new food premises before receiving your approved plans.

Final Inspection

Our Environmental Health Officers must conduct a final inspection to ensure compliance with the Food Act 1984 and the Melton City Council Food Establishment Specifications. You can then apply for registration of your food premises. Upon receipt of your Registration of a Food Premises Certificate, you can begin trading.

Please contact our Environmental Health Services on 03 9747 7200 or via email: health@melton.vic.gov.au to arrange.

Starting a food business from home

In some areas of the municipality you cannot operate a food business from home. You must contact our Town Planning department to determine whether you can.

If you are in a rental property, you should also check with your landlord that you can operate a business from home.

Only then can you submit plans for assessment and apply for registration.

Food businesses from home must comply with the same guidelines and legislation set out for all other food premises.

We strongly suggest you read and adhere to the Melton City Council Food Establishment Specifications(PDF, 6MB).

Registration of a food premises

Food premises within Victoria are given a classification of 1, 2, 3 or 4.  For more information visit: Health Victoria website.

Your food business classification is determined by the type of food and how it is being handled.

Class 1 food premises are those that predominately handle high risk food (meat, seafood, dairy, etc) that is served to vulnerable groups, such as hospitals, child care centres providing long day care and aged care facilities.

Class 2 food premises are those that handle unpackaged high risk food. Premises expected to fall under Class 2 include restaurants, fast food outlets, pubs, caterers, delicatessens, supermarkets with delicatessens, cafes and most manufacturers.

Class 2 premises are required to have an approved food safety program. Foodsmart is available to help tailor the food safety program template to your business needs. By answering a series of questions Foodsmart will produce a food safety program tailored to your food handling activities. The program can then be downloaded, stored on your computer and printed for your use. You can also download a standard food safety template produced by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Class 3 food premises are those that handle either pre-packaged low risk or unpackaged high risk food. Premises expected to fall under Class 3 include fruit stalls selling cut fruit, wholesalers distributing pre-packaged foods, most milkbars, convenience stores and coffee bars and food vending machines handling lower risk foods.

Class 4 food premises are those that handle pre-packaged low risk food and engage in other food handling activities that pose a low risk to public health. Premises expected to fall under Class 4 include bottle shops, premises which sell uncut fruit and vegetables such as farmers markets and greengrocers, premises offering wine tastings, those selling packaged cakes (excluding cream cakes), bottled jams or honey, sessional kindergartens serving low risk food and cut fruit and stalls running simple sausage sizzles, where sausages are cooked and served immediately.

More information about food premises classification can be found on Health Victoria's Food Safety webpage.

You must contact our Environmental Health Services on 03 9747 7200 or via email: health@melton.vic.gov.au to obtain an Application for Registration form.

Transfer of food premises

If you are selling a food premises or are thinking of purchasing a food business you need to complete an Application for Transfer of Registration form. It is the responsibility of the purchaser to ensure the premises is compliant.

A pre-transfer inspection can be completed prior to settlement to identify outstanding non-compliances, this application form and fee can be obtained by contacting our Environmental Health Services on 9747 7200 or via email: health@melton.vic.gov.au.

Renewal of registration of a food premises

Council is waiving all Renewal Fees of a Food Premises in 2021. The registration period for a food premises is 1 January to 31 December annually.

You will be notified in October of each year that your food premises registration is due for renewal.  While you will receive your application form in the mail as usual in October there will be no fee attached.

We are currently not closing any registrations on our systems and will continue to keep you informed via email as this situation continues.

Streatrader or temporary and mobile food businesses

If you operate a temporary or mobile food business, be it a market stall or tent, or a food van or vending machine, your business will require registration or notification through Streatrader.

Streatrader is a website where you can:

  • apply for registration or notification
  • advise any Victorian council that you will trade in its municipality
  • manage our food business activity.

Food waste from food premises

Managing food waste and complying with the law

Food waste containing meat, other animal by-products, some dairy products and any food that has come into contact with these prohibited foods must not be fed to pigs. These foods can contain viruses that cause diseases in animals, such as foot-and-mouth disease. These viruses are not destroyed by chilling, freezing, curing or cooking.

Some examples of food that must not be provided to farmers includes:

  • vegetables, rice, pasta and other food that has been in direct contact with meat or meat products
  • pizza bun rolls, meat pies
  • bacon and cheese rolls, salad rolls containing meat
  • caesar salad (because it contains bacon pieces)
  • steak, hamburgers, sausages, butcher’s shop waste
  • milk products such as yoghurt, butter and cheese.

Businesses that prepare and sell food, such as restaurants, bakeries, hotels, fast food outlets and hospitals, have a responsibility to dispose of food waste appropriately. Prohibited food waste should be placed in an appropriate garbage bin for collection by the council or commercial waste service for disposal in landfill or composting at an appropriate recycling facility.

  • Illegal activities include:
  • feeding prohibited food waste to pigs
  • supplying prohibited food waste to feed pigs
  • collecting prohibited food waste from food premises to provide to a piggery.

Heavy financial penalties may apply to individuals or corporations found guilty of conducting the prohibited activities mentioned above.

More information on these restrictions, including translated factsheets in Arabic, Mandarin and Vietnamese, is available from the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

COVID-19 FAQ

How is COVID-19 spread?

Coronaviruses are spread from someone who is infected to other close contacts through droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects.

Can it be spread by food?

There is no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.

How long does COVID-19 last on surfaces?

Coronaviruses may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This differs under different conditions e.g. type of surface, temperature.

I think a surface may be contaminated – how do I clean it?

Clean it with a common household disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Household bleach comes in a variety of strengths. The concentration of active ingredients —hypochlorous acid, can be found on the product label.

What kind of cleaning products should I use?

Use a disinfectant which the manufacturer states includes antiviral activity (meaning it can kill viruses). Chlorine-based (bleach) disinfectants are one product that is commonly used. Other options include common household disinfectants or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol (for example, methylated spirits). 

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for appropriate dilution and use a chlorine dilutions calculator

Household bleach comes in a variety of strengths. The concentration of active ingredients —hypochlorous acid, can be found on the product label. Contact time is usually 10–30 seconds but check the manufacturer’s instructions.

Throw diluted bleach away after 24 hours.

Chlorine Dilutions Calculation Tables

 Table 1. Dilutions using household liquid bleach (4% chlorine written on the label).

Household bleach 4% available chlorine

Add the following amounts of bleach to the water to give the required concentration

Volume of water to which chlorine is added

1000ppm

1 litre

26.3ml

5 litres

125ml

10 litres

250ml


Table 2. Dilutions using household liquid bleach (12.5% chlorine written on the label).

Household bleach 12.5% available chlorine

Add the following amounts of bleach to the water to give the required concentration

Volume of water to which chlorine is added

1000ppm

1 litre

8.4ml

5 litres

42ml

10 litres

84ml

What cleaning regime do I need to follow for frequently touched surfaces?

You must initiate a cleaning regime that ensures frequently touched surfaces are cleaned at least twice a day.

Frequently touched surfaces may include:

  • Door handles e.g. fridges, freezers, display cases
  • Service counters/check-out areas
  • Handrails
  • EFTPOS keypads

Surfaces must be cleaned when visibly soiled, and immediately after a spill on the surface. The cleaning regime must include use of a disinfectant with anti-viral properties that complies with the published requirements of the Department of Health and Human Services.

I’m out of alcohol swabs, what can I use instead?

Boiling water can be used to sanitise equipment, including probe thermometers. 

Do food and drink businesses have to close?

Businesses providing only sit-down meals and drinks must close. You may remain open if you change from table service to takeaway and delivery only.

Food premises have many surfaces, tabletops, door handles and other fixtures that are touched or handled by many customers. Reducing the amount of time people spend in a food service business can minimise the risk of transmission of coronavirus.

If I change my business to takeaway and delivery only are there extra legislative requirements?

If your Class 2 food business is currently registered, there is no further registration or administrative requirements needed for you to provide takeaway or home delivery services.

You will, however, need to ensure that you have added appropriate content to your food safety program and continue to comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Safety Code sections 3.2.2 and 3.2.3. These include requirements around packaging used, temperature control during delivery and maintaining personal hygiene while preparing and packing.

Ensure that you:

  • Encourage use of pay pass to limit cash handling.
  • Maintain physical distancing when handing over deliveries.

I closed voluntarily and want to reopen. What do I need to do?

Please call Council’s Environmental Health Unit as an inspection will be required. We will come out and provide you advice to get started again and discuss the new restrictions and extra procedures you need to manage the spread of COVID-19.

You will need to ensure that you have added appropriate content to your food safety program and continue to comply with all the requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Safety Code sections 3.2.2 and 3.2.3, including requirements such as packaging used for takeaway, temperature control during delivery etc. 

Contact our Environmental Health Officers on 9747 7200 or via email health@melton.vic.gov.au.

My business is open for takeaways. What special social distancing requirements should I know?

  1. Wherever people queue such as entrances and at checkouts, you should provide space markings on the floor at a minimum of 1.5m apart to indicate where people are to stand. Markings need to be bright coloured or of a pattern that stands out.
  2. Measure your available floorspace and identify the maximum number of customers allowed on your premises at one time. For example, if your shop is 8 metres wide by 20 metres deep, its floorspace would allow no more than 40 customers and staff inside at one time (8 x 20 = 160m2, divided by 4 m2 per person = 40 people).
  3. Place a sign at the entrance to your premises indicating the maximum capacity of your shop and ensure that no more than this number are in your premises at any one time.

How should I control customer traffic flow?

Where possible promote a one way flow throughout the store. If you have multiple entrances, dedicate one as an entrance and the other as an exit.

Consider arrow markings on the floor to indicate the direction customers should walk through each aisle and through-out the store. The purpose of this is to avoid customers having to walk around each other or towards one another.

Do staff have to wear masks and/or gloves?

The current advice is that masks are not necessary. For people that can practice good physical distancing and hygiene in their workplace, masks are not required.

Gloves should only be used if they are part of the businesses normal procedures for food safety i.e. when handling ready to eat foods in the deli. Similarly to masks, the focus should instead be on good physical distancing and hygiene. Gloves can cause more of an issue as they are often not changed. 

What’s best practice for using disposable gloves?

Disposable gloves may be used for one task only, to prevent the transfer of pathogenic microorganisms or other contaminants. For example, gloves should be changed between handling raw food and handling ready-to-eat food, or between activities such as cleaning or removing garbage and handling food.

According to Safe Food Australia once a glove is removed from a hand, it cannot be reused. Hands should be thoroughly washed between glove changes to prevent transferring contamination from the used gloves to the fresh ones.

How do I ensure I’m taking care of staff hygiene?

  • Ensure hand washing facilities and hand sanitisers are made readily available to staff
  • Educate staff to maintain good social distancing 1.5 metres from customers and one another
  • Educate staff so that they are not touching their nose, mouth and face. If they do then they must wash hands with soap and water, and dry with paper towel

Further information

You can obtain further information from the Department of Health and Human Services - Starting a food business, Business Victoria and Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) websites.

Our Environmental Health Officers can be contacted on 9747 7200 or via email: health@melton.vic.gov.au.

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