Operating a home food business
If you are considering establishing a food business from home you will need to be registered and meet the Food Standards Code and Victorian Food Act 1984 before commencing trade.
Your business could operate from your domestic kitchen or you could decide to construct a purpose-built food preparation area.
Pre-application Meeting – Assessing your Proposal
It is important that you talk to an Environmental Health Officer before beginning any renovation work or making an application to register a business.
The officer visits the site to assess the suitability of the facilities, and how the food business will maintain adequate food safety standards.
To help this assessment you should provide:
- a scaled plan of the dwelling highlighting all areas of the home including garage and any other outbuildings that are intended to use as part of the food business
- written confirmation from the property owner giving permission for the food business to operate if in a rental property
- details of any structural building works intended to be undertaken.
To organise a site assessment contact Environmental Health Services on 03 5734 6200.
Registering your Home Food Business
Prior to using a home-based food business to prepare food for sale you must:
- comply with planning and building requirements
- pass inspection
- apply for Food Act registration.
Planning and Building Requirements and Permits
As part of the process for establishing a new home-based food business you must find out if planning or building permits are needed.
Contact our Planning Services department to confirm if your home business qualifies under the definition of a home occupation. If not, you may need a planning permit or your application could be refused. Phone 03 5734 6200.
If you are building or renovating to set up your business, it is important to contact either Council’s Building Services Department or a private building surveyor about the requirements for a building permit. Building permits are usually required for:
- construction of a building or extension
- construction within a garage
- renovating or altering an existing building
- installation of a mechanical exhaust system.
Contact Building Services on 03 5734 6200.
A Council Environmental Health Officer will come to your home to inspect the site and confirm the food business is compliant with the requirements of the Food Act.
Applying for Registration
We will provide you with application forms when an Environmental Health Officer inspects and approves your site for registration. The application is to be completed, signed and returned to Council with the relevant fee and documentation.
You can do this through the Small Business Combined Permit Application Form.
Certificate of Registration
When your application is approved, we will send your Certificate of Registration. That certificate is valid for a calendar year and must be renewed each year. Council will contact you towards the end of each calendar year with information about how to renew your registration for the following year.
Vehicles used to transport food must be designed and constructed to protect food if there is a likelihood of food being contaminated during transport.
A food business must not permit live animals in areas in which food is handled or stored, other than seafood or other fish or shellfish.
This includes pets which can contaminate food with pathogenic organisms and also physically with hair, urine or faeces.
Areas in which food is handled include all indoor areas where food is prepared or stored and transported, including cars.
All packaged food prepared at the food business and sold off-site is required to comply with the labelling requirements of the Food Standards Code.
Labels on packaged food must include:
- best before date
- list of ingredients
- name and address of manufacturer
- nutritional panel
- mandatory declarations of any allergens.
Examples of labeling are to be provided to Council prior to any commencement of packaging.
Temporary Food Premises
Food businesses may wish to operate a temporary food premises at events such as festivals to sell food.
This page was last updated on 7 January 2021.