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Register a food business

In Knox, all food businesses must be registered through us and follow regulations to ensure that the food they sell is safe to eat in order to comply with the Food Act 1984.

About registration

The registration process differs depending on whether you are:

  • opening a new business
  • buying or selling an existing business
  • a temporary or mobile food business.

Classification of food businesses

All food businesses are classified according to the level of food safety risk they pose to the public.

This classification determines the level of registration and legal requirements that your business must comply with.

Visit the Victorian Government's Department of Health website to find out which category your food premises comes under.

Class Registration requirements
Class 1, 2 and 3

Class 1, 2 and 3 premises must register with Council.

Registrations must be renewed annually.

Class 4

Class 4 premises only need to register with Council once.

Apply to register a food business

To apply to register a food business, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Before you apply

Guidelines

Before you set up a new food business and apply for registration, it's a good idea to check the guidelines for:

These are step-by-step guides to help walk you through the process.

Required documents

You will need to provide the following documents as part of your application:

  • A detailed floor plan for the food premise including all food preparation, storage and serving areas. This must include the dimensions of the space and all fixtures.
  • schedule of finishes detailing the finishes on all surfaces including the floor, ceiling, walls, benches and cabinetry.
  • copy of the menu or description of the types of food you will serve or sell.

If you are applying to register a home-based food business, you will also need to provide:

  • an ingredients list and details of the method of preparation for each of the food items you intend to make
  • business proposal detailing:
    • the nature and type of your business (e.g. making cupcakes to sell at a farmer's market)
    • frequency of operation 
    • description of how the food will be transported.

Privacy statement

Before applying, please read the Knox City Council Privacy Statement.

Step 2: Apply to establish a food business

You can register your food business online. You must be a registered user to use this service.

Register for online services

Apply to establish a food business

Once your application is submitted:

  • we will review your plans to ensure they comply with the requirements of the Food Standards Code
  • we will contact you via email if your application is incomplete or if we require more information
  • we will contact you via email within 10 days if your application has been approved.

Permits and licences

It is your responsibility to apply for a planning permit and/or a building permit before you commence works on your food business.

For example, you may need a permit if you want to renovate the building. Or you may require a liquor licence if you want to serve alcohol.

Step 3: Book a final inspection

Once we have assessed your application, you may begin works (if required).

As the works near completion or you are ready to begin trading, contact our Health Services Department to arrange a final inspection of your premises.

This inspection must take place once:

  • all structural works have been completed
  • tradespeople are no longer required to conduct works on the premises, and
  • the premises is ready to trade. 

You can book a final inspection online.

Book an inspection

An environmental health officer will inspect your premises to:

  • make sure you have met the regulations
  • discuss processes to ensure you have the expected food safety knowledge to safely operate a food business.
Step 4: Register your food business

Once we have conducted a final inspection and you have met the requirements, you will receive an email from us to complete your Application for Registration online.

At this stage you will need to:

  • pay the prescribed fees
  • submit your food safety program
  • submit details of your food safety supervisor and proof of competency.

If your registration application is successful and your fees have been paid, you will receive a Certificate of Registration by email.

Food safety program

Class Details
Class 1

If you are purchasing a Class 1 food business, you'll need to develop a Food Safety Program and submit it to us.

 

This program needs to be audited by an independent third party auditor. For a list of approved food safety auditors visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.

 

You are also required to appoint a qualified food safety supervisor. Find out more on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Class 2

If you are purchasing a Class 2 food business, you'll need a Food Safety Program. You can choose to develop your own, or alternatively, you can use the Department of Health and Human Services Food Safety Program template.

 

You are also required to appoint a qualified food safety supervisor. Find out more on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Class 3 and 4

If you are starting a Class 3 or a Class 4 food business you don't need a Food Safety Program, but we recommend you complete the Victorian Government's Do Food Safely online training.

 

If you are a Class 3 food business, you're also required to maintain Class 3 records, which can be found in the Food Safety Guide for Food Businesses - Class 3.

Additional legal requirements

Depending on your premises, you may be subject to other legal requirements. You may need advice on things like:

  • the change of use of the building
  • car parking space requirements
  • structural and signage changes
  • public and staff toilet requirements.

If you need advice, please call our City Development Department (Building and Planning) on 9298 8000.

If you need advice on whether you need to install an oil or food waste interceptor, call South East Water on 9552 3662.

If you need advice on commercial use of footpaths, call our Community Laws Department on 9298 8000.

Other types of registrations

You are also required to register with Council if you intend to:

  • change ownership of a food business
  • close an existing food business
  • start a temporary or mobile food business.

You can also request an inspection before purchasing an established food business. Find out more below. 

Change of ownership

If you are planning to buy or sell a food business, a new registration will be required.

Follow the steps above to apply to register a food business.

Pre-transfer inspection (premises enquiry)

You can request an inspection before a purchase or sale in order to establish the current state of the premises. This is called a premises enquiry.

You can request either a 4 or 10 business day turnaround for the inspection report.

Download a premises enquiry form

Complete the form then:

Closing a food business

You need to let us know if you are closing a food premises.

Email the following information to health.services@knox.vic.gov.au:

  • address of the premises
  • trading name of food premises
  • date that trading cease
  • name and contact details of person submitting closure advice.
Temporary or mobile food businesses

Operators of temporary or mobile food businesses (including community groups) must must register online via the Streatrader website.

Examples of activities that are registered through Streatrader include:

  • sausage sizzles
  • coffee vans
  • market stalls.

Registration fees

Find out about food business registration fees and charges.

Food safety

As the owner of a food business, it is your responsibility to ensure that:

  • your food is safe and suitable for consumption
  • you comply with legislative requirements under the Food Act 1984 and the Food Standards Code.

For more information about food safety and your legislative obligations, see the Department of Health website. 

For more general information about food safety you can also visit the Food Safety Information Council website.

Food business prosecutions

The Department of Health and Human Services maintains a Food Safety Register of Convictions that identifies businesses that have been convicted of breaches of the Food Act 1984.

Need help?

Email health.services@knox.vic.gov.au and we will get back to you.

Or call our Health Services department on 9298 8000.

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