Start and register a new food business

If you are thinking about starting a new food business in Merri-bek, the information below will help you understand some of the requirements.

Anyone who sells food in Victoria must register with their local council under the Food Act 1984. Council Environmental Health Officer’s inspect food businesses to ensure they comply with the Food Act and Food Standards Code. The purpose of this legislation is to protect people from food-borne illness. 

Before starting your new food business

As well as Food Act registration, there may be other laws that your food business needs to comply with. The ‘Australian Business Licence and Information Service’ has a questionnaire that can help you work out which permits you may need:

Council also provides a service for new businesses called ‘Business Approvals Merri-bek’. You can provide some basic details about your business plan and we will arrange a meeting with the relevant staff from council. Learn more about it on the Business Merri-bek website:

Some examples of other permits you may need are:

How to register a new food business

You can lodge your application for registration online by clicking the link below:

Submit an application to register a food business

Step 1: Complete your application

Complete the online form to submit your application. The online lodgement guide (DOC 1Mb) (DOC 1Mb) will assist if you are having any issues lodging online. If you require a paper copy form, please contact Council – details are provided on the contact page.

You will need the following information to complete the application:

Step 2: Submit and pay

You can pay the fee at the end of the application by Visa or MasterCard. You will receive email confirmation with your application reference number.

Step 3: The next steps

Your application will be referred to an Environmental Health Officer. They will contact you to discuss what stage you are at, whether you would like plans assessed or arrange an on site meeting.

They will work with you until your business is suitable for registration. Once registration has been granted, you can start trading.

Fit Out Guide

The initial registration fee includes an optional plans assessment service. An Environmental Health Officer will assess your plans and provide feedback and recommendations to assist your food business in meeting the requirements of the Food Standards Code and relevant standards.

Our Food Premises Structural Guidelines for Businesses (PDF 198Kb) outlines the standards for construction and fit-out of a food premises. 

Home-Based Food Businesses

If you are interested in starting a home-based food business, please refer to our Home-Based Food Businesses Guide (PDF 388Kb) to work out whether your home is suitable.

The application process for home-based businesses is the same as above, however you will not need to submit plans unless you are fitting out a new area of your home.

You may require a Planning Permit to operate a food business from home – refer to the Planning Home Business Checklist (PDF 192Kb).

Temporary and Mobile Food Businesses

Registration for a temporary food stall or mobile food vehicle differs from the process above. In Victoria, you can register online via the Streatrader website. For more information, see temporary and mobile food premises.

Primary Industry Businesses (Meat, Fish or Dairy)

Some primary industry businesses need to be registered with other authorities. Meat and poultry processing facilities, butchers and fishmongers need to register with PrimeSafe.

Dairy processors, transporters, manufacturers and distributors need to register with Dairy Food Safety Victoria.