Food Safety

Council has a responsibility to ensure all food sold within the shire is safe and prepared in a hygienic manner. This applies to restaurants and cafes, home food businesses, and temporary and mobile food stalls. Council’s health protection officers regularly visit sites and venues selling food, including shops, markets, stalls, sporting functions and festivals to ensure the correct preparation and sale of food.

Anybody wanting to sell food within the shire must first register their intent to sell by contacting Councils Health Protection Unit to discuss their operation and set up requirements. The Council’s Health Protection team will send you the correct application form and associated information to you within five working days. For more information about selling food or setting up a food business, visit the Food Business page of our website.

Our food safety regulations are in line with the State Government’s Food Act 1984, and anyone wanting further information should visit the food safety section of the government’s website.

Classifications of Food Businesses

Class 1

Businesses that handle food that may be potentially hazardous, and/or is served to vulnerable groups. These food premises are deemed to have the highest risk. Examples include hospitals, aged care facilities and child care centres.

Class 2

Businesses whose main activity is handling unpackaged, potentially hazardous foods which need correct temperature control to keep them safe. Examples include restaurants, caterers, cafes and most manufacturers.

Class 3

Businesses whose main activity involves the handling or sale of unpackaged low-risk foods, or pre-packaged potentially hazardous foods that are not commonly associated with food poisoning. Examples include milk bars, convenience stores, wholesalers and water carters.

Class 3A  -  new classification

A food premises at which one or more of the following food handling activities occurs:

  1. preparation and/or cooking of potentially hazardous foods which are served to guests for immediate consumption at an accommodation getaway premises; or
  2. food made using a hot-fill process resulting in a product such as chutney, relish, salsa, tomato sauce or any other similar food, that:
    1. is made at home-based business or temporary food premises (for example, a hired kitchen)
    2. has been heat treated to a temperature of not less than 85 °C and then filled and sealed hot into its packaging
    3. is acidic (pH of less than 4.6), and
    4. has salt or sugar or any other preservative added.


Class 4

Businesses that pose a low risk to public health. Generally, this includes the sale of pre-packaged shelf-stable foods. Examples include uncut fruit and vegetables, bottle shops, simple sausage sizzles.

For more information about food business classifications, visit the Victorian government's Food business classifications page.


Food Safety Program Requirements

In Victoria, all Class 1 and some Class 2 food premises need a Food Safety Program. To find out which Class applies to your food business, see 'Classification of food businesses' above.

A Food Safety Program is a written plan that shows what a business does to ensure that the food it sells is safe for people to eat. It is an important tool to help businesses handle, process or sell potentially hazardous foods. This is necessary to maintain safe food handling practices and protect public health. 

There are two categories of Food Safety Programs:

  • Standard Food Safety Programs: These are templated Food Safety Programs developed by a food industry group or by the Department of Health. Refer to the Department of Health website for a list of registered templates or to download the template at no cost.
  • Non-standard Food Safety Program: this is an independent, audited Food Safety Program. Some franchise businesses, large businesses, manufacturers, child care and aged care facilities have non-standard Food Safety Programs. Food businesses who use a non-standard Food Safety Program must undergo an annual third party audit.

Class 1

Must complete and submit a Food Safety Program to Council.

Class 2

Food services and retail food premises that conduct one or more high-risk food handling processes* and large scale manufacturers must complete and submit a Food Safety Program to Council.

Class 3 & 3A

No food safety program is required.

Class 4

No food safety program is required.

Find more information about Food Safety Programs at the Department of Health website.


*The high-risk food handling processes are:

  • sous vide cooking below 75 °C
  • handling of potentially hazardous foods without temperature control as described in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code)
  • acidified or fermented foods/drinks
  • preparing ready-to-eat foods containing raw eggs
  • preparing ready to eat raw or rare minced or chopped meats
  • preparing ready to eat raw or rare poultry or game meats
  • off-site catering
  • any complex food process activity that does not use temperature control as described in the Code.


Food Safety Supervisors

Everyone who works in a food business is responsible for ensuring that the food they sell or prepare for sale is safe and suitable for people to eat.

Business proprietors of a food premises must ensure that food safety processes are put in place and that they work. The business owner may nominate a food safety supervisor to work under the owner’s direction. The food safety supervisor’s role is to supervise food handing in the business and to make sure it’s done safely.

A food safety supervisor is a person who:

  • knows how to recognise, prevent and alleviate the hazards associated with food handling at your premises
  • has met an appropriate food safety competency standard for your type of food premises through a registered training organisation
  • has the ability and authority to supervise other people handling food at your premises and ensure that food handling is done safely

A food safety supervisor must have completed recognised training, and you must submit their Statement of Attainment to council when registering your food business. The training must meet the Minimum Competency Standards. To find a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) visit MySkills

Class 1

Must ensure there is a food safety supervisor for the premises.

Class 2

Must ensure there is a food safety supervisor for the premises.

Class 3A

Must ensure there is a food safety supervisor for the premises.

Class 3

Do not need to have a food safety supervisor. However, must ensure that all staff working at the premises have skills and knowledge to safely handle food in their premises.

Class 4

Do not need to have a food safety supervisor. However, must ensure that all staff working at the premises have skills and knowledge to safely handle food in their premises.

Class 3 and 4 businesses are encouraged to complete food safety learning programs such as Do Food Safely.

Find more information about Food safety supervisors at the Department of Health website.

Food Handler Hygiene

Good personal hygiene can prevent food poisoning.

Bacteria that cause food poisoning can be on everyone – even healthy people. You can spread bacteria from yourself to the food if you touch your nose, mouth, hair or your clothes, and then food.

Food handlers – personal hygiene tips

To prevent food poisoning using good personal hygiene, follow these tips:

  • wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling food, and wash and dry them again frequently during work
  • dry your hands with a clean towel, disposable paper towel or under an air dryer
  • never smoke, chew gum, spit, change a baby’s nappy or eat in a food handling or food storage area
  • never cough or sneeze over food, or where food is being prepared or stored
  • wear clean protective clothing, such as an apron
  • keep your spare clothes and other personal items (including mobile phones) away from where food is stored and prepared
  • tie back or cover long hair
  • keep fingernails short so they are easy to clean, and don’t wear nail polish because it can chip into the food
  • avoid wearing jewellery, or only wear plain-banded rings and sleeper earrings
  • completely cover all cuts and wounds with a wound strip or bandage (brightly coloured waterproof bandages are recommended)
  • wear disposable gloves over the top of the wound strip if you have wounds on your hands
  • change disposable gloves regularly
  • advise your supervisor if you feel unwell, and don’t handle food.

Food handlers – handwashing

Thoroughly washing your hands reduces the chance of contaminating food with bacteria from yourself.

Wash your hands with soap and warm water, and don’t forget the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.

Thoroughly dry your hands immediately after you wash them. Always dry your hands with a clean towel, disposable paper towel or under an air dryer. The important thing is to make sure your hands are completely dry. Never use a tea towel or your clothes to dry your hands.

Wash your hands after:

  • going to the toilet
  • handling raw food
  • blowing your nose
  • handling garbage
  • touching your ears, nose, mouth or other parts of the body
  • smoking
  • every break
  • handling animals.

If you are wearing disposable gloves, change them regularly – at the same times you would normally wash your hands if you weren’t wearing gloves. Wash and dry your hands before putting on gloves.

Food handler health and working

Food handlers may contaminate food, so employers and employees must be careful to ensure that no illness is passed on by those working in the industry.

You should not go work if you are vomiting or have diarrhoea. Don’t return to work until your symptoms have stopped for 48 hours. If you are unsure, you should contact your doctor for advice.

Do not go to work if you sick with an illness that is likely to be transmitted through food. Such illnesses include gastroenteritis (often called ‘gastro’) – including viral gastroenteritis (norovirus or rotavirus) – hepatitis A and hepatitis E, sore throat with fever, and fever with jaundice.

You must advise your supervisor if you are feeling unwell, including when suffering from a cold, flu, and sties and other eye infections.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand explains the requirements for food handlers and food businesses.

Food handlers – skills and knowledge

Food handlers need to know how their actions can affect the safety of the food they handle.

Food handlers need to know:

  • how to locate and follow workplace information
  • about their own food handling operations
  • how to identify and correct (or report) situations or procedures that do not meet the business' food safety obligations
  • who to report food safety issues to within the business
  • their responsibilities in relation to health and hygiene requirements.

The Australian Food Safety Standard 3.2.2 (Food Safety Practices and General Requirements) requires that people who handle food must have the appropriate skills and knowledge for the work they do.

Food handlers – training

Everyone working in a food premises are encouraged to be trained in safe food handling. 

DoFoodSafely is a free online learning program, is a good place to start.



Under Clause 4 of Standard 1.2.3 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code), eleven foods or substances are identified as requiring mandatory declaration on the label of packaged foods for sale in Australia. These foods or substances can cause an allergic, intolerant or auto-immune response in some people. Declaring the presence of these substances on the label of packaged food allows people with allergies to make informed and safe choices about the food they buy.

For unpackaged food that is not required to bear a label, such as meals from a café or restaurant, allergen advisory statements and declarations must be stated in labelling that is displayed in connection with the display of the food or provided to the purchaser on request.

The Code also states that food businesses must take reasonable measures to ensure they do not compromise the safety and suitability of food. For example, by keeping preparation areas and equipment separate, and ensuring equipment is properly cleaned and sanitised so that non-allergenic food is not mixed in with allergenic food.

The eleven common allergens are:

  • gluten – wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt, and their hybrid strains
  • crustacea and their products
  • egg and egg products
  • fish and fish products
  • milk and milk products
  • peanuts and peanut products
  • tree nuts and tree nut products (does not include coconut)
  • sesame seeds and sesame seed products
  • soybean and soybean products
  • added sulphites in concentrations of 10 mg/kg or more
  • lupin

There are also strict mandatory warning statement requirements to declare the presence of royal jelly.

Find out more by reading the Food Standards User Guide to Labelling of Ingredients.

Cleaning and Sanitising

Cleaning and sanitising should usually be done as separate processes. A surface needs to be thoroughly cleaned before it is sanitised, as sanitisers generally do not work well in the presence of food residues and detergents.

The six recommended steps for effective cleaning and sanitising are:

1. Pre-clean: scrape or wipe food scraps and other matter off surfaces and rinse with water.

2. Wash: use hot water and detergent to remove grease and food residue. (Soak if needed.)

3. Rinse: rinse off detergent and any loosened residue.

4. Sanitise: use a sanitiser to destroy remaining microorganisms (refer to manufacturer’s instructions.

5. Final rinse: wash off the sanitiser if necessary (refer to manufacturer’s instructions).

6. Dry: allow to drip dry or use single use towels.



Check with your chemical supplier for advice about what cleaning and sanitising agents are suitable for your food premises, vehicles, food contact surfaces and equipment.

However, if you are using a bleach sanitiser the following must be undertaken -

  • To sanitise equipment at 100 parts per million chlorine, use appropriate bleach and water solution ratios –
    • 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon of bleach) to 1 litre of water for household bleaches (4% chlorine) or 1 ml of bleach to 1 litre of water for commercial bleaches (10% chlorine).
  • Make up your bleach and water solutions every 24 hours because the chemical breaks down and becomes ineffective after this time.
  • Prepare solutions away from food and food preparation areas. Old batches or out of date chemicals should be disposed of safely.

Refer to Food Standards Appendix 6: Cleaning and sanitising surfaces and utensils for more information

Food Recalls

The Food Industry Recall Protocol provides information on recalling food in Australia and guidance for food businesses on developing a written food recall plan. A food recall is action taken to remove from distribution, sale and consumption, food which is unsafe. This means food that may cause illness or other physical harm to a person consuming the food.

The three primary objectives of a food recall are to:

  • stop the distribution and sale of the product as soon as possible
  • inform the government, the food businesses that have received the recalled food and the public (consumer level recalls only) of the problem
  • effectively and efficiently remove unsafe product from the market place.


Manufacturers need to have a recall plan in place.


Find further information at the Food Standards website.

Labelling Requirements

All packaged foods sold in Australia must comply with the labelling requirements stated within the Food Standards Code. These requirements have been adopted into food law by all states and territories in Australia, ensuring that food labelling regulations are consistent across Australia. The Code can be accessed via the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website.

Food labels are required by law to carry essential information so that consumers are informed of the nature and properties of foods prior to purchase –- this includes statements about the presence of allergenic ingredients that could lead to life-threatening allergic reactions in susceptible persons if the labelling information is not accurate. Some information may also voluntarily be offered on food labels by food businesses, giving consumers greater information to make informed purchasing choices.

Food businesses must also ensure that they are not potentially misleading or deceiving consumers with any claims that are made on food labels (whether intentional or not).

As food labelling requirements may differ around the world, businesses that are importing food for sale in Australia need to ensure that these foods comply with Australian labelling regulations before selling the food.

It is an offence under the Victorian Food Act 1984 to sell food that is not compliant with the Code. It is the responsibility of the supplier of the food (this includes manufacturers, distributors, importers and retailers) to ensure that food labels are compliant with all relevant regulations before selling the food. If food businesses are unsure whether their food complies with the relevant regulations, they should engage the services of a lawyer or food regulatory consultant.

Further information


Food Complaint

Urgent issues or incidents

All urgent issues or incidents should be reported to Council immediately on 5232 9400 (24-hours).

Please call 000 if someone is seriously injured or in need of urgent medical help, your life or property is being threatened or you are in immediate danger.


Submit your request for service online

Help us provide better services to the community by letting us know when there's an issue.

Use our new Submit a Request and Report a Concern forms to alert Council to your issue, or provide feedback.

Submit a Request

Please be descriptive and provide all details.


If you want further information on food safety, contact the Council’s health protection team on (03) 5232 9400. For more information on starting a food business, visit the Starting a Business page of our website.