You may need to apply for multiple permits including a Planning permit. To find which permits you need and make a single application, or to talk to our Business Concierge, visit business permits.

For food business advice, regulations and updates, visit the Department of Health - Food Safety. You should also familiarise yourself with the food premises classes and tobacco reforms.

Selling food

All businesses, organisations, individuals or community groups who sell food or drinks must either register their premises with the Council or notify Council of their activities.

In Victoria, all sale of food or drinks must comply with the Food Act 1984, (The Act) which oversees food safety. The Act also requires food premises to comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code which specifies food safety practices and requirements for food premises and equipment.

Food premises are classified according the level of food safety risk. The requirements for food businesses (both structural and operational) are matched to the risk classification.

The four classes are summarised as:



hospitals, childcare centres and aged care services which serve high risk food to vulnerable people


other premises that handle high risk unpackaged food such as restaurants, cafes and take away food outlets


premises that handle unpackaged low risk food or high-risk pre-packaged food as well as warehouses and distributors


activities considered to be very low risk such as the sale of shelf stable pre-packaged foods, sale of uncut fruit and vegetables, some fundraising activities and low risk foods served in kindergartens or childcare

Please contact the Health Services Unit at if you wish to clarify the classification of your business.

New premises

The Health Services Unit is here to assist business owners in the City of Port Phillip when setting up a new food business or altering an existing food premises.

More information about structural requirements and submitting plans and specifications can be found in the Health Approval kit (DOC 179 KB).

Application Process

Step 1 – Application for a new food business

It is recommended that anyone setting up a new business or altering an existing premises submit plans and specifications for review by an Environmental Health Officer prior to commencing any works. This is not mandatory, however it may prevent costly or time-consuming mistakes. There is no additional cost to businesses for submitting plans.

Step 2 – Construction of your new food premises

Council’s Health Services Unit will conduct a progress inspection upon request during the construction of your premises. An Environmental Health Officer will visit your business at an agreed time to provide any guidance to ensure construction is completed in accordance with food safety standards.

Step 3 – Final Inspection

A successful final inspection is required prior to Council granting Food Act Registration. Please contact Council’s Health Services Unit 5 days prior to schedule an inspection.

Step 4 – Application for Registration/Notification

An Application for Food Act Registration needs to be completed and submitted with the prescribed fees. Forms and fees vary depending on the classification and size of your food business. An invoice can be provided after receival of the completed application form.

Step 5 – Registration granted

A certificate of registration will be issued following the successful completion of Step 3 and 4 above. Once you receive your certificate of registration you may commence trading.

Lodge your plans or application for registration with Council’s Health Services Unit:
In person: at any of our Customer Service Counters
Mail: Private Bag 3, PO St Kilda, 3182

Purchasing an existing premises

With recent changes to the Victorian Food Act 1984, if you are taking over an existing food business, you will need to apply for a new registration or notification in your name.

  1. Complete an Application for Registration of Food Act form, based on the classification of the business.
  1. Lodge your application:
    In person: at any of our Customer Service Counters
    Mail: Private Bag 3, PO St Kilda, 3182
  2. Pay the registration fee, pro rata for the calendar year. An invoice can be provided after receival of the completed application form.

Council will conduct a mandatory inspection of the food premises upon receiving the completed application and fee.

When Council is satisfied that all requirements of the Food Act 1984 have been met, we will register the premises in the name of the new proprietor and issue a certificate of registration.

If you are planning to make changes to the premises or the type of food sold, please contact the Business Concierge to discuss your plans, prior to making any changes.

Selling your food business

If you are no longer operating or are selling your business please email (OFT 52KB) Council's Health Services Unit to cancel your registration.

Condition reports

Council's Environmental Health Officers routinely inspect food premises to ensure compliance with food safety standards. A pre-sale inspection can be requested prior to settlement of a business and a current condition report will be issued.

A pre-sale inspection will focus on structural, maintenance and cleaning matters. The condition report will detail non-compliances with the National Food Safety Standards identified on the day of the inspection.

The current registered proprietor will need to complete an Application for Pre-Sale Inspection (DOCX 40 KB). There is a fee of $249 (Class 2) and $170 (Class 1 and Class 3).

The report can only be issued to the current proprietor and is provided in PDF format for distribution to potential purchasers.

Please allow one week for the inspection and report to be completed.

Making changes

It is recommended that businesses contact the Business Concierge prior to making any changes, whether it be structural or to the types of food you handle.

Changing the types of food you handle in your business may change the classification of your premises and consequently the regulatory requirements.

Depending on the type of business and the changes you are making, you may also require Planning and Building permits. It is the applicants responsibility to ensure all appropriate permits have been sought.

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