03 September 2020
Duration: 3:21
Animation about how to start a food business – Home-based kitchen.

Deciding to open a food business, to share your love of food and cooking skills with the public, is an exciting one. It’s important to be aware of the many considerations and steps involved before you can start selling your food.

The Victorian Food Act sets out the rules to ensure food for sale in Victoria is safe to eat. Knowing the rules that cover how to safely handle, store and prepare different types of food for sale is essential.

A good place to start is to visit the Department of Health and Human Services’ website, where you can find a range of relevant information about key considerations to be made when starting a food business.

Once you know a little more about what to expect when starting a food business, it is a good idea to get in touch with your local council. By calling or visiting the council, you can talk to an Environmental Health Officer – an EHO - who can guide you through the food safety considerations.

In order to proceed, you will need to comply with the legislation in the Victorian Food Act and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Preparation is a key factor when starting a food business. Being organised from the start, by doing multiple tasks at the same time, may mean you will be able to open your business without unnecessary delays.

If you’re thinking of running a food business from your kitchen at home, you need to make sure your kitchen is suitable, and that you have the correct food handling skills to ensure the food is handled safely.

A home kitchen must be able to handle and prepare foods as safely as a commercial kitchen or premises. You must discuss the type of foods you will be preparing, and who you are selling to, with your local council EHO.

This may mean you will have to make alterations or upgrades to ensure your kitchen meets food safety standards. For example, you may need to install a separate sink.

Any necessary upgrades can be worked on alongside other processes. If you’re unsure about any of the kitchen upgrades, don’t hesitate to run them past your local council before undertaking them.

Depending on the type of food you would like to sell, you may need to develop a Food Safety Program, and obtain a Food Safety Supervisor Certificate– which shows you have the required food safety competencies from a registered training organisation. This can be you or a senior staff member. The department’s webpage has further information about how to obtain these certificates.

Your assigned EHO will come to inspect the premises, and if everything is compliant, approve your registration.

If food is sold in another location from where it was prepared or cooked, both premises will need to meet all the requirements.

In addition to registering your home based premises with the council, you will also need to apply – either online or in person – for a Statement Of Trade before you start selling your food at an event.

Once your food is being sold to the public, an EHO may conduct spot checks to ensure your food business remains compliant with the Act and the code.

Make sure your premises remains staffed with people knowledgeable and skilled in food safety. A good resource is the department’s free online food handling training program called DoFoodSafely.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the food sold is safe to eat and free of any contamination. Food safety is great for business, for your customers, and for you.