Food Safety

Council monitors local businesses and organisations to ensure they comply with food safety requirements and legislation. This includes registration and inspection of food businesses as well as issuing permits for temporary food premises and stalls. Council also investigates complaints and concerns regarding food premises.

Food Premises and Classification

The Food Act 1984 controls the sale of food in Victoria. Its main purpose is to protect people from food borne illness by way of monitoring and surveillance.

The Food Act 1984 adopts a preventative approach to food safety by grouping food premises into separate ‘Classes’, and sets out different food safety requirements for each class based on the food safety risks of its highest risk food handling activity. There are four classes – from highest risk (Class 1) to lowest risk (Class 4).

Councils are responsible for classifying every food premises within their municipal district under the Act. The Department of Health has developed a Food business classification tool which outlines a wide range of food business activities and applies a classification of 1 to 4 according to food safety risk of each activity.

What class is my food premise?

Mildura Rural City Council is responsible for classifying all food premises within their municipality.

To help determine classifications, all councils apply the Act by using the Department of Health Food Businesses Classification Tool. The aim is to promote a consistent approach to the classification of food premises across the state. Use the tool to get an idea of what class your food premise might be.

About Class 1
Class 1 food premises are those that predominantly handle potentially hazardous food that is served to vulnerable people in: 

  • Hospitals
  • Child care centres providing long day care
  • Aged care facilities such as nursing homes

About Class 2
Class 2 food premises are those that handle unpackaged potentially hazardous foods which need correct temperature control during the food handling process – including cooking and storage – to keep them safe. This includes: 

  • Restaurants
  • Fast food outlets
  • Pubs
  • Delicatessens
  • Supermarkets with delicatessens
  • Cafes
  • Most manufactures.
The Department of Health have an easy to use Food safety program template for Class 2 retail and food service businesses, available for download at their website.

About Class 3
Class 3 food premises are those whose main activities involve the sale of foods not commonly associated with food poisoning. This includes the supply of or handling of unpackaged low risk foods, or sale of pre-packaged potentially hazardous foods which simply need refrigeration to keep them safe. Premises that commonly fall into Class 3 include: 

  • Fruit stalls selling cut fruit
  • Wholesalers distributing pre-packaged foods
  • Most milk bars, convenience stores and coffee bars
  • Food vending machines handling lower risk foods.
Class 3 food premises need to keep completed basic records about certain food safety practices on site.

About Class 4
Class 4 food premises are those whose food handling activities pose low risk to public health. They include the following: 

  • Premises which sell shelf stable pre-packaged confectionary such as newsagents, pharmacies, and video stores
  • Bottle shops
  • Premises which sell uncut fruit and vegetables such as farmers markets and green grocers
  • Premises offering wine tastings
  • Shops and stalls selling packaged shelf stable cakes, bottled jams or honey
  • Sessional kindergartens serving low risk food and cut fruit
  • Stalls running simple sausage sizzles, where the sausages are cooked and served immediately. This means sausages, sauce, onions and bread

Starting a food business

Before starting up, all food businesses must contact their local council for information on their registration requirements and charges, their food business class, and whether they are required to have a Food Safety Program or Food Safety Supervisor. If you need to register a food business, (most businesses that sell food will), Council will charge a registration fee, which will need to renewed every year.

Class 1 and Class 2 Food Premises will require a Food Safety Program and must nominate a Food Safety Supervisor.

All food businesses – regardless of class – MUST comply with the Food Standards Code.

For more information regarding fees specific to your food business contact Council.

Further information is available at Department of Health Food Safety Website.

When registering a food business, whether a mobile, temporary or fixed premises, the following steps are generally taken: 

  • Contacting an Environmental Health officer at Mildura Rural City Council to discuss your plans in operating a food business. You may contact Environmental Health Services on 5018 8216 or by email mrcc@mildura.vic.gov.au
  • You will generally be requested to supply a plan or your premises with the layout or equipment, food preparation, storage, serving and cleaning areas so that a written response can be given. Along with this, your business details are requested also.
  • Inspections will be conducted of the premises during the construction & fit out phase, or before you take over an existing business. This is to ensure that any works being done are in line with the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code.
  • Once the premises is in compliance with the Australian New Zealand Food Standards code, and a final inspection has been conducted by an Environmental Health Officer, your registration paperwork will be drawn up, and you are able to operate your food business upon payment of the registration fee.

Community Groups

Most community groups raise much needed funds for a wide variety of causes by selling food. These fundraisers occur in many ways including fetes, dinners, cake stalls and sausage sizzles. At these activities, the risk of food becoming unsafe depends on the type of food, and how and where it is stored, prepared, handled and transported by volunteers and staff members. Similarly to ordinary food businesses, as the activities involve different levels of risk, community food activities may fall within Class 2, 3 or 4 under the Food Act.

Council’s Environmental Health Services is happy to work with you to run any kind of food activity, as long as you meet the food safety requirements that apply to that food premises class.

More information about community food premises classes can be found at the Department of Health website.

Food Safety Programs

Class 1 and 2 premises are required to have a food safety program. This is a written plan that shows how your business will manage the safety of the food you prepare, serve, manufacture or sell.

If you business needs a food safety program, it is a legal requirement that you have it in place before you open.

Class 1 businesses will need to write their own food safety program which must be audited by a Department of Health approved food safety auditor.

Class 2 businesses have the choice of writing their own food safety program or using a Department of Health registered Food Safety Program Template available at their website.

Class 3 and 4 Premises
Due to the lower food safety risks associated with the food handling premises, class 3 and 4 food premises do not need a food safety programs. Class 3 businesses must still keep minimum records to ensure that the food they sell is safe for human consumption.

Further information about the requirements that apply to class 3 and 4 premises are available at the Department of Health website.

Food Vans and Stalls

A state-wide registrations and notification system now applies for temporary and mobile food premises under the Food Act 1984. 

If you operate, or are looking to operate, a food van, food stall, food vending machine or a drinking water carting business you will only need to register with one Council.

This is all done via an online system known as Streatrader. Visit the website and create an account to find out more.

If you are looking at starting a food business that primarily involves the sale of food from a temporary stall or van, you MUST complete a Streatrader Application prior to an inspection being conducted, and registration being approved by Council’s Environmental Health Services. The correct use of Streatrader helps food providers ensure they are meeting their requirements under the Food Act 1984 when selling food from temporary stalls or vans.

Recalling Food

Visit the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website to find out more about recalling food, or view their short film on YouTube.