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Food Business Classifications

The Food Act 1984 (the Act) regulates the sale of food and beverages for human consumption. Under this Act, food businesses are categorised into class 1, 2, 3 or 4 and must adhere to their class requirements to operate and sell food to the Victorian public.

If you are unsure in which class your food business falls, you can use the Department of Health’s Business Classification Tool.

More information can be found on the websites of Food Standards Australia & New Zealand and Department of Health Food Safety.

Class 1

Class 1 food businesses predominantly handle potentially hazardous food that is served to vulnerable groups, such as hospitals, childcare centres, hostels and aged care facilities.

Class 1 food businesses must comply with the following requirements:

  • Register annually with Bass Coast Shire Council.
  • Undergo an inspection by Council when first registered
  • Have a current food safety program, which is kept on site at all times and tailored specifically to the food premises.
  • Have the food safety program audited by a Department of Health approved food safety auditor to determine adequacy and compliance.
  • Have a food safety supervisor with the necessary skills and accredited training.
Class 2

The main activity of class 2 food businesses is handling potentially hazardous foods, which need temperature control during handling, cooking and storage to ensure that food is fit for consumption. Examples of Class 2 food businesses include restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets, pubs, caterers, delicatessens, supermarkets with delicatessens and most manufacturers.

Class 2 food businesses must comply with the following requirements:

  • Register annually with Council and be inspected annually by Council Environment Health Officers.
  • Be inspected by Council prior to initial registration.
  • Nominate a suitability qualified food safety supervisor.
  • Keep an up-to-date food safety program on site at all times that is specifically tailored for the food business. If the food safety program uses a standard template from the Department of Health it will be assessed by Council. Otherwise, if the food safety program uses an independent template it must be audited by a Department of Health approved auditor.
  • Keep the food safety program on site at the business. Retain full audit reports of independent food safety programs for four years after they have been prepared by the auditor.
  • Undergo one mandatory compliance check.

It is at Council’s discretion to undertake further compliance checks or spot checks if Council receives a complaint or has reason to be concerned about safety of the business’s practises.

Class 3

The main activities undertaken by Class 3 food businesses include the supply and handling of unpackaged low risk foods, or sale of pre-packaged potentially hazardous foods, which simply need refrigeration to keep them safe. Premises that usually fall into Class 3 classification are milk bars, convenience stores, fruit stalls selling cut fruit and wholesalers distributing pre-packaged foods.

Class 3 food business must comply with the following requirements:

  • Retain annual registration with Council.
  • Be inspected by Council when initially registered, and annually thereafter as part of the registration renewal process.
  • Keep completed minimal records about your food handling practices on site at your business. A full food safety program is no longer required.
Class 3A

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

(a) preparation and/or cooking of potentially hazardous foods which are served to guests for immediate

consumption at an accommodation getaway premises or

(b) food made using a hot-fill process resulting in a product such as chutney, relish, salsa, tomato sauce or

any other similar food, that:

(i) is made at a home-based or temporary food premises (e.g., a hired kitchen) and

(ii) has been heat treated to a temperature of not less than 85 degrees Celsius and then filled

and sealed hot into its packaging and

(iii) is acidic (pH of less than 4.6) and

(iv) has salt or sugar or any other preservative added.

Class 4

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

  • the sale of shelf stable pre-packaged confectionery at newsagents, pharmacies and video stores
  • bottle shops
  • sale of uncut fruit and vegetables at farmers markets or by greengrocers (whether retail or wholesale)
  • wine tastings
  • shops and stalls with packaged cakes (excluding cream cakes), bottled jams or honey
  • sessional kindergartens serving low risk food including cut fruit, and
  • simple sausage sizzles at stalls, where the sausages are cooked and served immediately. This means sausages, sauce, onions and bread. (This does not include hamburgers or other high risk foods).

If you are unsure of the classification that your business would fall into you can use the classification information