If you are thinking of operating a food business at home you will need to register under the Food Act, in the same way as a café, restaurant or any other fixed premises.
Business Victoria is the first step in this process to ensure you give your business idea every chance of success.
On this website, there are templates for market research for your product and for business plans, as well as other related information on starting a business from home.
When you are ready registration under the Food Act and compliance with the relevant guidelines is arranged through our Environmental Health Services Unit.
You may need to deal with other parts of council including our:
- Town Planning department to ensure that you are able to operate your business from the site you wish. There are also home occupation guidelines which must be met and
- Building department should be contacted to determine if you need a building permit. Any building fit outs or alterations may require a building permit.
What you should be aware of
You will need to be familiar with the following information:
Minimum requirements for a home business
The requirements of a home business will generally depend on the size of the food operation and the type of food that is being handled. There are numerous variables and this is just one of the reasons why we strongly recommend you apply to have your plans approved prior to registration - see the application process below.
However generally speaking you will need the following in your home for a registration at home to be considered:
- double bowl sink
- separate storage for your equipment and food - apart from the normal family/household food and equipment
- ability to adequately exclude ALL pets from the food preparation area
- enough room for the amount of food to be prepared and stored safely.
If you are renting at the address where you want to set up you will need to show us that the owner of the property approves of this business.
We may charge a commercial rate on land used for predominantly commercial activities. (For example: where goods are made or services provided).
Where the commercial activities are located with a predominantly residential land use, we may apply a Mixed Use Rate which is lower than the commercial rate but higher than the residential rate.
The current rates are available in our Rating Strategy.
Sale of your product
As part of your business plan you need to consider where you will sell your product. You may wish to use the Business Victoria templates to research this part of your business plan.
What you need to do
When all planning and building requirements are met there are two ways you can apply:
- You can lodge a proposal to register a premises form and if your premise meets the required standard we will arrange for the registration under the Food Act. This is the recommended application process to ensure that all standards and requirements are met before you begin any construction or alterations to your home. This will keep costs to a minimum and ensure that no added expenses are encountered because something does not meet particular parts of the Food Standard Code.
- Apply for a Food Act registration. This process is usually recommended when the business is a large corporation or business and you are completely confident that your business meets all the requirements and aspects of the Food Act and the Food Standards Code.
What we will do
When the proposal form is received an Environmental Health Officer will assess your proposal. If it meets all the requirements you will receive an approval letter by mail or email.
Our Environmental Health Officer may request further information and/or an inspection of the premises prior to approval being given.
Included with your approval letter will be an application to register your business under the Food Act. This form and any payment, should be returned to us immediately.
After the necessary inspection by the Environmental Health Officer a Registration Certificate will be sent to you. All registrations are valid to 31 December each year.
If you decide to apply directly for Food Act registration without the proposal application, an Environmental Health Officer will contact you by telephone.