Department of Health

Changes to food business classifications and requirements from 1 July 2022

Victoria classifies food premises according to the level of food safety risk and the type of food handling activities occurring at the premises. Food premises are classified according to the highest risk food activity occurring at the premises. 

A review of the premises classification system and regulatory requirements has resulted in amendments to the definition of class 2, 3, 3A and 4 food premises.

There are no changes to class 1 premises.

New classification arrangements from 1 July 2022 Old classification

Class 1: Amendment to the definition of childcare, to align with the definition provided in Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010. This amendment will not impact on the classification of childcare centres.

Class 1
Class 2: Amended to include manufacturers of low-risk food for which any allergen-free claim is made. Class 3
Class 3A: Creation of a new class - class 3A - which targets home based or temporary businesses that make hot-fill chutney type products, and some accommodation getaways who prepare and cook potentially hazardous foods which are served to guests for immediate consumption at an accommodation getaway premises. Class 2
Class 3: Amended to include baked and unbaked sweet and savoury foods which do not require temperature control for food safety for a minimum period of 24 hours. Class 2
Class 4: Amended to include food tastings and the serving of low-risk drinks. Class 3

 

The amendments to the class definitions below are shown as (new).

Class 2 changes

Food premises where any unpackaged, potentially hazardous food is handled are classified as class 2. The definition has been expanded to include food premises that manufacture potentially hazardous food and manufacturers of low-risk food where any allergen-free claim is made.

A food premises at which:

  1. any unpackaged potentially hazardous food is handled or manufactured, or,
  2. (new) low-risk food is manufactured, for which any allergen-free claim is made, other than:
    1. a class 1 food premises, or
    2. a food premises at which the only handling of unpackaged potentially hazardous food is of a kind which renders the premises a class 3 food premises or a class 4 food premises, or
    3. (new) is a home-based business that produces low-risk packaged or unpackaged foods for which an allergen-free claim is made.

Legislative requirements of a class 2 food premises

All manufacturers are required to have a non-standard food safety program.

Food services and retail food premises that conduct one or more high-risk food handling processes are required to have a food safety program. The high-risk food handling processes are:

  • sous vide cooking below 75 °C
  • handling of potentially hazardous foods without temperature control as described in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code)
  • acidified or fermented foods/drinks
  • preparing ready-to-eat foods containing raw eggs
  • preparing ready to eat raw or rare minced or chopped meats
  • preparing ready to eat raw or rare poultry or game meats
  • off-site catering
  • any complex food process activity that does not use temperature control as described in the Code.

Premises with a non-standard food safety program will require:

  • registration under the Food Act 1984 (the Act)
  • an annual audit of the non-standard food safety program
  • compliance with the Code
  • a nominated food safety supervisor (FSS).

Premises with a standard food safety program will require:

  • registration under the Act
  • an annual assessment of the food safety program
  • compliance with the Code
  • a nominated FSS.

Premises that do not require a food safety program will require:

  • registration under the Act
  • an annual inspection
  • compliance with the Code
  • a nominated FSS.

What is meant by allergen-free claim?

Allergen-free claims are statements that declare the absence of specific food allergen(s); statements such as ‘gluten-free’, ‘nut-free’ or ‘dairy-free’ are considered an allergen-free claim (see Standard 1.2.3-4 of the Code for foods or substances where a declaration is required when they are present).

Class 3 changes

A food premises at which one or more of the following food handling activities occurs:

  1. the handling of unpackaged low-risk food
  2. the warehousing or distribution of pre-packaged foods
  3. the sale of pre-packaged potentially hazardous food
  4. the sale of shell eggs
  5. offering members of the public a free sample of a potentially hazardous food for immediate consumption if –
    1. that food is, or will be, available for sale at the premises in a packaged form
  6. the sale of ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food by a community group if –
    1. all of the food is cooked on site with the intention of being served immediately
    2. the majority of persons involved in the handling of the food are volunteers, and
    3. this activity takes place at the premises for a maximum of two consecutive days at any one time –
  7. (new) making of sweet or savory foods which do not require temperature control for safety, for a minimum period of 24 hours that are:
    1. uncooked and that may or may not contain dry nuts (whole or crushed), seeds, dry fruits, protein powder (or similar supplement), and other low risk ingredients; or
    2. after baking, are a low-risk food, include but not limited to cakes (including fruit cakes), cupcakes (with or without icing), bread, biscuits, crackers, muffins, croissants, and other pastry where all the ingredients are cooked; and
    3. have no potentially hazardous foods added to the product after baking (for example, fresh cream, custard)

but does not include a food premises at which the only handling of food is of a kind which renders the premises a class 4 food premises.

Legislative requirements of class 3 food premises

  • registration under the Act
  • annual inspection by a local council authorised officer
  • compliance with the requirements of the Code
  • minimum records.

Class 3A food premises – new classification

Class 3A premises handle potentially hazardous food and because of the specific nature of their food handling activity and the risks it poses, will still be required to appoint an FSS.

Class 3A

A food premises at which one or more of the following food handling activities occurs:

  1. preparation and/or cooking of potentially hazardous foods which are served to guests for immediate consumption at an accommodation getaway premises; or
  2. food made using a hot-fill process resulting in a product such as chutney, relish, salsa, tomato sauce or any other similar food, that:
    1. is made at home-based business or temporary food premises (for example, a hired kitchen)
    2. has been heat treated to a temperature of not less than 85 °C and then filled and sealed hot into its packaging
    3. is acidic (pH of less than 4.6), and
    4. has salt or sugar or any other preservative added.

Food premises not following these prescriptive requirements will remain a class 2.

Legislative requirements of a class 3A food premises

Class 3A premises will require:

  • a registration under the Act
  • an annual inspection by a local council authorised officer
  • compliance with the Code
  • an FSS.

Class 4 changes

A food premises at which the only food handling activities are one or more of the following:

  1. the sale to members of the public of:
    1. pre-packaged low-risk food 
    2. sausages that are cooked and served immediately, with or without onions cooked at the same time, and bread and sauce – when cooked and sold at a temporary food premises or by a non-profit body
    3. packaged or covered cakes (other than cakes with a cream filling) at a temporary premises by a community group
    4. biscuits, tea or coffee (with or without milk or soymilk) at a temporary premises by a community group
  2. a wine tasting for members of the public, which may include the serving of cheese or low risk food that has been prepared and is ready to eat
  3. the sale to members of the public or the wholesale of whole (uncut) fruit or vegetables 
  4. (new) the handling of low-risk food or cut fruit or vegetables and the serving of that food to children at an education and care services facility within the meaning of the Education and Care Services National Law, and children’s services within the meaning of the Children’s Services Act 1996 (Victoria)
  5. (new) offering members of the public a free sample of a low-risk food for immediate consumption if that food is, or will be, available for sale at the premises in a packaged form
  6. (new) serving of coffee, tea (with or without milk, soy, almond or any other liquid), alcohol (including the addition of sliced fruit, pasteurised dairy products), water, soft drink (except fermented soft drinks containing a live culture) intended for immediate consumption but does not include unpasteurised processed fruit or vegetables (for example, fresh juice) or any drink which has any other potentially hazardous food added, such as unpasteurised egg.

Legislative requirements of class 4 

Class 4 premises require: 

  • local council notification 
  • compliance with the requirements of the Code and the Act. 

These changes were gazetted on 18 November 2021 and come into effect on 1 July 2022. Read the Government Gazette notice here

Reviewed 05 August 2022

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