Register a new food business

Person serving coffee over the counter in a cafe

If you are thinking of starting a new food business or buying an existing food business, the Small Business Office can help you understand and comply with the relevant regulations and codes.

If you're buying an existing food business, we recommend you arrange a pre-purchase Food Inspection and Report. Our Public & Environmental Health Officers will inspection the business and prepare a report for your information. You can then work with the existing owner to resolve any outstanding items before purchasing the business. Apply for a pre-purchase Food Inspection and Report here(PDF, 111KB).

It is your responsibility to apply for any necessary planning permits or building permits before you can commence works on your new food business. For example, you may need a permit if you intend to do a shop fit out, renovate or extend the building, change signage or require a liquor licence.

If you're unsure what permits you may need, please contact our Small Business Office on 1300 368 333 or complete the Small Business Pre-Application Assessment.


More resources to assist you in your business can be found under Resources at the bottom of this page. 


Food registration 

Under the Food Act 1984 you must register your food business with Council if you want to prepare and/or store food.

You have a responsibility to sell food that is safe to eat. Our environmental health officers will help you understand and comply with your obligations under the relevant laws.

Once your business is registered with Council you will need to renew your registration and pay the registration fee each year. The registration period runs from 1st January - 31 December each year. You cannot trade if you do not have a current registration.

Before registering your business with us, visit the Victorian Governments website to learn more about

  • Food business registration
  • PrimeSafe
  • Dairy Food Safety Victoria
  • Food safety programs and supervisors

Find your business classification

Your food business will be given a classification of 1, 2, 3 or 4 as part of the registration.

Classification is determined by the food handling conducted by your business and the level of risk to food safety. The highest risk is class 1 (e.g. hospitals, childcare centres, aged care facilities) to lowest is class 4 (e.g. prepackaged lollies in a chemist). 

Each classification also has a specific requirements that your business needs to meet before it can be registered. If you change the type of food you handle, it may alter the classification of your food business and you must notify us

To find your classification visit the State Government website. 

Find your food classification

Trade Waste – For premises connected to sewer

Food businesses have waste that contains chemicals, grease, oil and solids and must be disposed of appropriately. You must have a trade waste agreement with Yarra Valley Water or South East Water. Visit their website/s for more information.  

Water & onsite waste water treatment system (Septic Tank)

Consideration must also be given to properties that operate with tank water to ensure that the water is fit to drink (potable) and safe for use in activities such as cleaning and food preparation.  

Private drinking water supplies:
Learn more about rainwater, groundwater, surface water & guidelines at here.
A property with a onsite waste water treatment system (septic tank) must also be able to demonstrate that the system is adequate in size and a state of repair that allows for additional wastewater to be treated and contained on site. In general, intermittent food handling practices do not generate much additional wastewater.
Home based businesses that have off site discharge will need to apply for a Permit to Alter and ensure that all waste water is treated and contained on site.

Click here for more information.

Register your business

Complete the Small Business Checklist