Department of Health

Food business classifications – examples

Key messages

• To help determine food business classification, the department has prepared 26 examples covering a wide range of scenarios.

Retirement village – scenario 1

Retirement villages are defined and governed by the Retirement Villages Act 1986 (Vic.). People over the age of 55 can buy and sell leases on their own home. The retirement village houses are independently metered and receive separate rate notices from council, therefore, no accommodation is provided by the aged care facility. In contrast, accessing most government-funded aged care facilities requires formal assessment and the facilities are regulated by the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cwlth). Therefore, retirement villages are not aged care establishments as defined by the Commonwealth Aged Care Act, and not class 1 premises as per the classification tool.

A retirement village has a kitchen facility that provides meals to residents and their guests. The facility may be a class 2, 3 or 4 premises, depending on the type of food sold. The premises type will also be determined by the set up at the facility – for example, a restaurant, cafe, club or takeaway food premises.

Where a retirement village is connected to an age care facility, the two establishments have separate requirements.

Small hospital kitchen – scenario 2

A kitchen facility in a small hospital processes potentially hazardous food for service to those in its care. The hospital has facilities to care for seven patients at any one time. At the moment, there are only two patients in the hospital.

A hospital serving or handling potentially hazardous food is always class 1, regardless of how many patients there are in the hospital at any one time.

Cafe in hospital – scenario 3

A business operates a cafe in a hospital. The cafe processes and serves ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food to members of the public, staff and, possibly, patients.

Although hospital patients may choose to eat at the cafe, the cafe’s principal activity is to provide food to visitors, making it class 2.

Food preparation unit in a large hospital – scenario 4

A centralised food preparation unit in a large hospital processes potentially hazardous food for service to patients, as well as supplying meals for service at another hospital and for delivery by a delivered meal organisation (DMO).

The principal activity is to process potentially hazardous food to patients in a listed facility, as per a class 1 definition.

Rural hospital serving prepackage meals – scenario 5

A small (30 bed) rural hospital receives meals (including sandwiches, salads and stews) from an external provider to serve to the residents in its care.

The hospital is a listed facility that handles potentially hazardous food served to patients, and is thus a class 1 facility.

Catering company providing meals to care facilities – scenario 6

A large catering company has a cook-and-chill facility that processes ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous meals for several aged care facilities and a regional hospital.

The principal activity of the business is to produce ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food to people in class 1–listed facilities.

Supported residential service facility – scenario 7

A supported residential service (SRS) facility provides accommodation and services people that are mostly elderly residents, including providing meals prepared in the facility. Food is distributed through a dining facility located on-site.

SRSs are privately operated facilities, providing accommodation and services, including meals, to people that are elderly, as listed in the class 1 definition. A class 1 facility lists an SRS at which potentially hazardous food is prepared for, or served to, residents, and the majority of those residents are aged persons.

Supported residential service facility – scenario 8

An SRS facility provides accommodation and services people that are young or middle-aged, including providing meals prepared in the facility. Food is distributed through a dining facility located on-site.

SRSs that provide accommodation and services, including meals, to mostly young or middle-aged adults, are class 2 premises.

These types of SRS facilities do not apply to a class 1 premises because the facility provides accommodation to residents who are young or middle-aged.

Group homes or community residential units – scenario 9

Group homes or community residential units (CRUs), either state or privately owned. Usually, 4–6 people live in a residential home, where rent may be paid. Part of the service provided by the owner may include preparing meals on-site for service to residents.

No classification is required, because group homes and CRUs are not food premises for the purposes of registration under the Food Act 1984.

Childcare centre that has its own kitchen – scenario 10

A 55-place childcare centre provides long-stay day care to preschool children. It serves lunches, and morning and afternoon tea to the children in its care. The food is processed in the centre’s kitchen and includes potentially hazardous food.

A childcare centre that provides ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food is a class 1 facility. Children’s service has been defined as a children’s service within the meaning of s. 3 of the Children’s Services Act 1996 attended by children aged 5 years of age or less. This Act does not apply to:

• a school, service or activity

• a recreational activity, such as a camp or party

• a service at which, ordinarily, the children attending are entirely or mostly different on each occasion care is provided, such as a resort at which children of guests of the resort are temporarily cared for in the absence of their parents or usual carers

• an outside school hours service that provides care or education to students outside school hours.

Childcare centre that does not provide meals – scenario 11

A 30-place childcare centre provides long-stay care, but parents provide their own food (lunches and other snacks) for the children. Centre staff may warm children’s meals brought from home.

No classification is required. Because the lunches are provided by the parents, there is no sale of food occurring under the Act.

Residential kitchen supplying meals for a DMO – scenario 12

A small business operating from a residential kitchen prepares meals for distribution by a DMO. The DMO collects the meals daily before lunchtime and delivers the meals to its clients (10 people).

The small business is a class 1, because its principal activity is to produce ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food for people.

The DMO is not classified, and does not need to be registered under the Act. However, the DMO must still comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Day centre providing refreshments – scenario 13

A day centre for renal dialysis services provides its clients with beverages (tea, coffee, juice, water) and dry, prepacked snacks such as biscuits.

Because the food being served is low risk, the premises are considered to be class 4.

DMO providing meals to older people – scenario 14

A DMO uses a community centre kitchen to prepare meals for delivery to up to 40 elderly residents in the local area. Volunteers organised by the DMO collect the meals daily and deliver them. Clients pay a fee for meals provided. The centre kitchen is operated by both volunteers and paid employees of the DMO.

The DMO is preparing and delivering ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food to older people, as per the class 1 definition.

Caterer providing food to a meals-on-wheels organisation – scenario 15

A meals-on-wheels organisation contracts out the food preparation for its clients to a commercial caterer. It organises volunteers to collect the meals and deliver them to around 150 clients.

Thecaterer’s class will be determined by its principal activity. If the caterer also provides a service to the general community it would be considered to be a class 2 premises. If it prepares meals solely for the DMO, it would be considered a class 1 premises.

The DMO is not classified, because it is not involved with the preparation of food, but it must still comply with the Food Standards Code. However, if the DMO stores the food in coolrooms before distribution to clients it would be considered to be a class 3 premises.

Nursing home sausage sizzle and tea stand – scenario 16

A nursing home holds an annual fete, at which it operates a sausage sizzle and Devonshire tea stand. The nursing home regularly processes and serves potentially hazardous food to its residents (30 elderly people), and is required to have a food safety program, under Standard 3.2.1 in the Food Standards Code.

The nursing home is a class 1 premises. No further action would be required by the nursing home, as the fete activity would be included within the facility’s food safety program.

School fundraiser and food stalls – scenario 17

A school charity fundraiser has food stalls, where potentially hazardous food is prepared, cooked and refrigerated in private homes. The food is transported the next day and stored in a portable coolroom at the festival. The food is collected from the coolroom when required, then reheated at the food stall.

The school group is classified as a community group, which is one of the following:

  • a not-for-profit body
  • a person raising funds for charitable purposes or for a not-for-profit body.

This is a class 2 community group food activity, where the handling of potentially hazardous food includes a process of cooking, refrigerating and reheating before the food is sold. The private homes do not require registration because they are donating the food to the school charity. This is not considered to be a sale.

Primary school bake sale – scenario 18

A local primary school is setting up a food stall along the main shopping strip, selling bottled jams, honey and cooked cakes (without cream).

The food safety risk associated with these fundraising stalls is low. The requirement to notify the council (as a class 4) in conjunction with guidance material and access to free online training.

Community group selling spit-roasted meats – scenario 19

A community group plans to participate in a cultural event over a weekend by preparing and selling lamb, beef and chicken from a spit. The food is to be stored in a portable coolroom located at the event and cooked on-site at the market stall on both days.

The activity is a class 3, because a community group is selling ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food where:

  • all of the food is cooked on-site with the intention of being served immediately
  • the majority of persons involved in the handling of the food are volunteers
  • the activity takes place at the premises for a maximum of 2 consecutive days at any one time.

Community sporting club selling ready-to-eat food – scenario 20

A local community sporting club operating a canteen that sells ready-to-eat, unpackaged, potentially hazardous foods to spectators and players. The activity involves a cook and serve process. All profit goes back to the club.

Class 3 for the same reasons described in scenario 19.

Sporting club selling ready-to-eat food – scenario 21

A sporting club sells ready-to-eat, unpackaged, potentially hazardous foods to members. The club claims that they are a community group, as the money received is used to arrange special events and maintain facilities. The person who owns the sporting club receives all the profits from the club.

Because the premises sells potentially hazardous foods it is considered a class 2 business. To be considered a community group, it must be either a not-for-profit organisation or a person raising funds for charitable purposes. In this scenario, the owner receives all the profits, and therefore it must be considered as a food business for profit.

Bakery selling inhouse baked goods – scenario 22

A retail baking company uses meats, cheeses and other potentially hazardous foods as ingredients in their products. Products may be displayed at room temperature.

A class 2 premises handles unpackaged, potentially hazardous foods.

Milk bar or convenience store – scenario 23

A milk bar will be considered a class 2 if it handles potentially hazardous, unpackaged food that requires temperature control. This includes:

  • thawing, steaming and serving unpackaged dim sims
  • cooking fish, hamburgers and chips
  • making sandwiches.

A class 3 milk bar only sells prepackaged foods that require temperature control (excluding milk).

A class 4 milk bar sells shelf-stable package foods and milk only.

Greengrocer selling some cut fruit – scenario 24

A greengrocer cuts a few watermelons, cantaloupes and other fruit, but the majority of food displayed for sale is uncut.

Fruit that is cut, regardless of the amount, introduces a potential risk to the food. Therefore, class 3 control procedures are required to minimise the potential risk.

Local charity selling cakes – scenario 25

A local charity has a cake stall on the main road.

Notification(class 4) is required for a community group selling prepackaged, low-risk foods, such as cakes. If cakes include fresh cream, the event must be registered as a class 3.

Cooking classes – scenario 26

Businesses that provide cooking classes are excluded from the Food Act.

Reviewed 12 November 2021


Contact details

Food Safety Unit

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