Department of Health

Starting a food business - what you need to know

Key messages

  • Any business or group selling food must be registered or notified with their registering council.
  • All food businesses are classified by their local council according to the food safety risk undertaken at the premises.
  • All businesses selling food or drink in Victoria must have a Food Act 1984 (the Act) registration from their registering council before trading.
  • Mobile and temporary premises can apply to their council online via the department’s online portal called FoodTrader (previously known as Streatrader).

The class of your food premises determines what requirements you will need to meet before registration will be granted by council. A food business is an enterprise or activity involving the sale of food.

All food businesses must contact their local council before starting up. Your council will let you know:

  • your registration requirements and any associated fees
  • your food business class (1, 2, 3A, 3 or 4)
  • if you are required to have a food safety program and a food safety supervisor.

Under the Act, most businesses operating in Victoria cannot sell food to the public unless they register as a food business with their local council.

A small number of businesses do not need to register with their council. However, they must notify their local council of their intended food business activities.

Food business classification

Councils classify every food premises within their municipal districts. Classification is determined by the food safety risk of the premises. Your registering council will determine the classification of your premises in accordance with the Act.

See the related webpages on food business classification for more information.

Food business registration and notification

If you need to register as a food business, your local council will charge a food business registration fee and you will need to renew your registration every year.

Please note that class 4 businesses notifying their council will not be charged a fee.

Temporary and mobile food premises

Temporary and mobile food premises are required to use FoodtraderExternal Link to manage their food business registration and activities and activities.


If your business primarily sells, transports or prepares meat or seafood (such as a butcher or fishmonger), then you must register with PrimeSafe.

If you operate a meat or seafood business within a premises that sells other food (such as a supermarket), you will need to be registered under the Act with your local council and comply with the Victorian Standard for the Hygienic Production of Meat at Retail Premises (March 2006), which can be obtained from PrimeSafe.

Dairy Food Safety Victoria

If your business primarily wholesales, makes, transports or prepares dairy products (such as milk or cheese products) then you must be registered with Dairy Food Safety Victoria.

Business Victoria

If you wish to start a food business, you may want to check the Business Victoria websiteExternal Link , which will help you to:

  • work out if you need to be registered
  • get your business premises registered
  • see what other registrations, licences and permits you'll need.

Business Victoria also provides other useful information for starting a business, such as business plans, marketing plans, business structures, and costs and finances.

Reviewed 13 November 2023


Contact details

Food Safety Unit

Was this page helpful?