Food Safety and Registered Premises
Food businesses are legally required to ensure the food they sell is safe to eat.
Sometimes things go wrong and when they do, your business must be able to quickly remove unsafe food from the marketplace.
This is known as a food recall, and if your business needs to recall an unsafe food product, the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) food recall team can help you. FSANZ will guide you through the steps that need to be undertaken during a food recall.
A food recall is action taken by a business to remove unsafe food from distribution, sale and from consumers.
If your business wholesales, manufactures or imports food, you’ll need a food recall plan. This plan should detail how your business will conduct a food recall such as staff responsibilities during a recall and the procedures that need to be followed.
To help you, FSANZ has developed a Food Industry Recall Protocol. You can find it on the FSANZ website.
If you have a food safety issue with a food that your business has produced or imported, contact the health department or food authority in the state or territory that your head office is located in. The contact details are on the FSANZ website. Once your business and your home state health department or food authority have discussed that the food should be recalled, you need to contact FSANZ, who will inform you of your legal obligations and step you through each process of the recall.
We can also provide guidance on how best to communicate information about the recall to the public. When you contact FSANZ, you should have ready:
- the reason you are recalling (it must be for health and safety reasons)
- detailed information about the product
- an image of the food in its packaging
- and a list of the stores where the product has been on sale to the public.
You are required to keep records showing the names and addresses of your suppliers and the customers you sell your food to, to enable the recalled food to be traced.
Retail businesses like restaurants, cafes and takeaways, generally don’t recall their food because the food they sell is likely to have already been eaten before it can be recalled.
It is also important to know that food may be removed from the supply chain for reasons other than a health and safety risk – this is called a withdrawal. Food may be withdrawn from sale if it has a quality defect, such as colour or texture, or if it is underweight, for example.
If you are unsure what to do or need some advice, visit the recall area of the FSANZ website or phone the recall team on 02 6271 2610.
The Department of Health Food Safety Victoria brochure "So, you want to run a food business?" provides a 6 page overview of the Food regulatory system and can be accessed from this link or from the Download Files section to the right of this page.It is designed as an introduction to the regulation of food businesses for those new to business of selling food and has been updated to include:
- Information about the single registration system for portable food premises, including how to determine the principal council;
- Links to Street trader a web based tool for advising Councils of the planned operation of off-premises food activities such as fairs, market stalls etc.;
- Food labelling minimum requirements;
- Registration/notification requirements for meat stall and van operators.
All food premises, including temporary premises at events or markets, are grouped into four class groups depending on your food activities and risk. Premises that fall into Class 1, Class 2, Class 3 require registration. Class 4 food premises are only required to notify their council. See the Classification Scale for more information.
To register/obtain approval to operate, Council must satisfy itself that the legislated standards have been met in relation to:
- Food Safety Plan development for highest risk Class 1 & Class 2 Businesses including Hospitals,
Childcare centres, Restaurants & take-away etc)
- A Food Safety Supervisor is available to the premises for those Class 1 and Class 2 premises
- The premises complies structurally with the standards
- The cleanliness and maintenance of the premises is adequate
Temporary food stall approvals will normally be granted for specific events but can be sought for the calendar year. Notification (no fee) is required where a Premises is registered by another Council and wishes to trade within this Municipality.
Acknowledging their lower risk, Class 3 food businesses are not required to maintain a Food Safety Plan or to nominate a Food Safety Supervisor but must maintain simplified records dealing with food safety.
Food Safety Supervisor: is a title given to the qualified person at the premises who has prime responsibility for the day-to-day management of the food safety and food handling procedures. Use the link below to access the Food Safety Victoria web site or contact Council for further detail on Food Safety Plans and the Food Safety Supervisor requirements.
Temporary and Mobile Food Premises, Water Carters
If trading at a temporary location(s) or from mobile food vehicle(s) you need to apply on Streatrader - a statewide website.
For first time users, check with your organisation or group to make sure you don't already have your details lodged on Streatrader. If not, then proceed to:
- enter the Streatrader website
- create your log in and password
- enter your registration / notification details
- lodge Statements of Trade to advise councils where you will be trading
Once your application has been approved, you can lodge future Statements of Trade against that registration / notification.
Classification is based on your activities at these temporary locations. Please Note: If you do preparation of food at a fixed premises or you are also required to register this premises.
For more information visit the Streatrader website.
Starting a Mobile Food Business in Victoria
Running a Market Stall in Victoria
Prior to the commencement of establishing a new business or undertaking renovations, operators are encouraged to make contact with the Council’s Environmental Health Officer. Business will be encouraged to provide plans clearly showing their intent regarding the premises layout and fit-out and a description of the proposed business activities and range of product to be offered. This will ensure a shared understanding is reached at this critical stage prior to fit-out. Once construction / renovation of the premises approach completion, an inspection by Council will be conducted. Any areas that require additional work or finishing will be noted. Where required you will need to provide advice regarding the Food Safety Supervisor and the form of Food Safety Plan that you will utilise to manage food safety. Council will provide an appropriate registration form. The form must be completed and returned with the appropriate fee to Council’s Environmental Health Officer. If minor items remain to be addressed, the Food Registration will be issued to allow business to commence trading.
- New Premises Fee 150% of renewal fee (except community groups)
Failure to register a food premises may result in significant penalties.
To legally operate the business, the registration of the Food Premises must be transferred from the name of the existing licensee to the name of the proposed purchaser. Before you purchase a food business you should:
- Check with Council’s Environmental Health Officer to determine registration requirements.
- Consider requesting a 'transfer inspection' of the property to ensure the premises complies with the requirements of the Food Act or that you are informed of any structural concerns. This request should be in writing and will also need to be accompanied by a consent form signed by the existing proprietors to allow this confidential information to be disclosed.
- Request and lodge the transfer form and appropriate fee (50% of registration fee up to a maximum of $200) when the purchase progresses.
2014 -2015 Council’s food premises registration fees are set by Council annually and are based on the Environmental Health Officer's risk classification of the business:
- Fee Class 1: Premises including Hospitals & Nursing Homes - $330 - waived for Council facility
- Fee Class 2a: Premises described as comprising hotels & similar licensed premises & restaurants, supermarkets with delicatessens, take away premises & larger cafés $430 .
- Fee Class 2b: Premises described as restaurant/cafés, cake shops, motels, B&B’s & guesthouses, bread baking premises, domestic premises offering a narrow range of products & school canteens $330
- Fee Class 3: Premises described as lower risk premises including those that supply or handle unpackaged low risk foods, or sale of pre-packaged potentially hazardous foods which simply need refrigeration to keep them safe above $155
- Fee Class 4: No fee and no registration – simply lodge a once-off ‘Notification form’
- Registration for less than 12 month period Pro rata per quarterly period – rounded up.
- Registration Transfer Fee 50 % up to a maximum of $200
The Victorian Department of Health has developed a short video and interactive website to help community groups understand and meet their food safety obligations when selling food to raise funds in Victoria.
The video provides an informative insight into community fund-raising activities while the website covers a range of topics, including community group obligations under the Victorian Food Act.
The website has been designed especially for first time users and those whose first language is other than English and we are encouraging councils throughout Victoria to promote the website to their local communities.
One of the key features of the website is a simple, interactive decision tree that takes users through a series of questions to arrive at their food premises’ classification.
After working through the decision tree, event organisers are directed to the appropriate business registration /notification system, depending on their food handling activities. For example, a food van or stall organiser will be directed to the online Streatrader system.
The decision tree is hosted on the Department of Health food safety website www.health.vic.gov.au/foodfundraisers