Support for businesses

You might need more than one permit to operate your business.

To find out, you can:

What is it?

If you want to sell food or drinks in the City of Port Phillip, you must either register with Council or notify Council of your activities.

This is true for:

  • businesses
  • organisations
  • individuals
  • community groups.

All sales of food or drinks must:

  • meet Victorian food safety standards
  • follow the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand Code

The Code applies to food safety practices and requirements for food premises and equipment.

Starting a new business

If you’re starting a new food business, we suggest talking to Council’s Health Services Unit before you register your business or choose a site.

We can help you make sense of health rules and regulations and guide you through the permits and approvals process.

You can also read the guides below:

Food business classification

Before you start an application to register your business, you’ll need to know your food business class. Classes relate to the level of food safety risk.

There are different requirements for different classes.

The five classes are:

ClassDescription
1Hospitals, childcare centres, and aged care services serving high risk food to vulnerable people.
2Other premises that handle high-risk unpackaged food such as restaurants, cafes, and takeaway food outlets.
3Premises, warehouses, and distributors that handle unpackaged low-risk food or high-risk pre-packaged food.
4Low-risk activities. Selling shelf-stable pre-packaged foods, uncut fruit, and vegetables, and some fundraising activities. Serving coffee, tea, alcohol, and soft drinks to be consumed immediately. Low-risk foods served in kindergartens or childcare.
5Some accommodation getaways preparing high-risk food for immediate consumption or home-based premises using a hot-fill process such as chutney, relish or other similar food.

Will I need more than one?

How many registrations and permits you need depends on your business.

Food businesses doing indoor trade often need:

Food businesses doing in and/or outdoor trade often need:

If you think you might need more than one permit, go to our Business Permit Finder to determine the permits you need. This will save you time and hassle.

Fees

Type of feeCost
Application fee$171 to $279
Registration feeVaries by type, class and number of employees from $70 to $1384

Before you apply

Setting up a new business (premises)

It’s a good idea to get advice on your plans and specifications before you apply to register your food business. You can submit them to Council for review by an Environmental Health Officer.

Food businesses that have a fixed premises

Food businesses that operate out of your home

There is no extra fee for this service.

Progress inspections

You can ask Council's Health Services Unit to conduct a progress inspection at a time you suggest.

During this inspection, an Environmental Health Officer will make sure that the work meets food safety standards.

If there are any problems, they will give you advice on how to fix them.

Final inspection

You also need a successful final inspection before Council can register your business.

Please contact Council’s Health Services Unit 5 days prior to your opening date to schedule an inspection.

Contact your EHO or the Health Services Unit:

Email: healthservicesunit@portphillip.vic.gov.au
Phone: 03 9209 6292

When you apply

To register your business, you need to complete an Application for Food Act Registration.

You’ll also need to pay any relevant fees.

Forms and fees vary depending on the classification and size of your food business.

Council will provide an invoice after they have received the completed application form.

You can submit an application form along with all required documents via email, post or in person.

If Council approves your application, you have to pay the required fee before your registration is complete. A card payment fee applies.

After you apply

Council has to inspect your premises as part of the registration process.

If you are starting a new premises, Council will do this inspection before you submit your application.

If you are changing ownership of an existing business, Council will do this when they receive the application and fee.

Council issues a certificate of registration when we are happy that you have satisfied all the requirements of the Food Act 1984 and Food Safety Standards.

If you are changing ownership, this registration will be in the name of the new proprietor.

Selling your food business

You need to cancel your registration if you are no longer operating or are selling your business. You can do this by emailing Council's Health Services Unit.

Before you sell your business, you can ask Council to inspect it. After this inspection, they can write a current condition report.

This pre-sale inspection will focus on structural, maintenance and cleaning matters.

The condition report will detail non-compliances with the Food Safety Standards identified on the day of the inspection.

To request this inspection, the current business owner needs to complete an Application for Pre-Sale Inspection (PDF 74 KB).

You can submit it via email, post or in person.

An application fee of $249 (Class 2) and $170 (Class 1 and Class 3) applies - and a card payment fee.

Note:

  • Council will only issue the report to the current proprietor
  • Council sends the report in PDF format for distribution to potential purchasers
  • allow one week for Council to complete the inspection and report.

Making changes

Before you make any changes to your business, you should complete the Business Permit Finder. This will help you determine if you need a permit.

Changes can include:

  • structural changes to the premises
  • changes to the types of food you handle.

If you do make changes, you’ll need to notify Council. This is because changes to the type of food you handle or alterations to your kitchen can change the regulatory requirements you need to meet.

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

Learn more about Food Business permits and approvals