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8 August 2014. So, you want to open up a food establishment in Australia do you? Well, you can’t just hang a sign outside of your home and start cooking. There’s a lot to plan out, and a few licensing issues you need to navigate. And, here’s where a lot of people give up: the legalese. But, you don’t have to let the legal and regulatory requirements kill your dream. You also don’t have to let the minutia bog you down. Here’s how to sort it all out.


Making A Decision On The Building


You should make the decision to buy or build long before you ever start applying for licensing or doing anything else. Don’t actually buy anything just yet, but do look into the requirements for renovating or building. Why? Some local councils may not allow you to build a restaurant due to zoning regulations. Other times, a previously owned building may need extensive repairs before it can be used as a restaurant. You want to know what you’re up against before you go through the hassle of getting your licensing.


Get Your Licensing Out Of The Way


All food establishments need a license. So, regardless of whether you’re opening a pub or a large fine dining establishment, you need to be licensed. Basically, if you’re handling food that will be served to the general public, then you need to notify the proper authorities.


Check Your Classification


Food establishments have different classifications in Australia, depending on the type of business you’re running. Each state and territory in the country classifies things a bit differently. First, you need to determine your business classification based on your specific business (i.e. pub, restaurant, cafe, mobile food unit, hotel, etc.), and then apply for the proper permits.


So, for example, if you live in the NSW, you would go here and locate the classification for your business. If you live in:


ACT check here

VIC check here

QLD check here

SA check here

WA check here

NT check here

TAS check here


Basic Training For Your Staff


Your staff needs to be trained on food handling and food safety. It’s a legal requirement in Australia that all employees handling food be trained. Fortunately, you have a lot of options. You can send them through online nationally accredited training courses, set up a classroom-based training for them, use manuals to instruct staff, or hold in-house training through a business consultant that is certified to provide such training.


Food Safety and Labelling


Last, but definitely not least, you need to pay attention to labelling laws. All foods, even custom foods, need labels. Therefore, if you make your own in-house concoctions, you’ll need custom food packaging if you’ll be giving the custom product to your guests.


These labels should indicate the ingredients in the food. Certain laws in Australia also require food labels be presented in a certain way and format. For example, the law defines an ingredient as “any substance, including a food additive, used in the preparation, manufacture or handling of a food”. All food that is sold retail or for catering purposes much come with food labels. The label must be prominent and legible.


These labels are there to protect your customers, so make sure that you get this right, and you’ll avoid potential future lawsuits.


Indiana Donovan started cooking as soon as he could stir with a spoon. When he's not whipping up his latest dish, he's writing about it for a variety of foodie and cooking blog sites.

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