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Starting a food business

Starting a business can be an overwhelming process.STARTING A FOOD BUSINESS

Starting a business can be an overwhelming process. And if you're starting a food business, there are even more rules and regulations to consider to ensure your operation runs safely. We've answered some common questions below.
 
 
I’m thinking of starting a food business in the Auburn area. What approvals do I need from Auburn City Council?
 
Development consent from Auburn City Council may be required depending upon the nature and extent of the work proposed.
 
Internal shop fit outs which satisfy Council’s criteria for complying development may be approved by Auburn City Council or by a private Accredited Certifying Authority.
 
Once development consent is issued, a construction certificate is required to be issued for any building works. 
 
We recommended that you discuss any proposal with Council’s Development & Assessment Department to clarify the type of approval required.

How do I get approval?

If your development requires consent to be granted, a development application can be submitted at Auburn City Council’s Customer Service Centre.
 
The application should include detailed plans of the internal layout of the premises. The cost of the application is based on the anticipated value of the building work involved. 

What type of detail needs to be provided?

The matrix on the land use application provides details of the required information.

The plans should indicate the proposed finishes on the walls, floor/s and ceiling together with all fixtures, fittings, washing facilities, toilets, storerooms, refrigeration facilities (including cool room/s and freezers) and garbage storage facilities.

In addition plans for mechanical exhaust ventilation or air conditioning systems are also required and approval must be obtained before any work is commenced. In some circumstances landscaping and car parking details may need to be provided.

The Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) is also required to be nominated. The PCA can either be Council or an Accredited Certifier and is responsible for the collection of compliance certificates and authorising the occupation or use of the premises.  

Is there any information available which will assist me in drawing the plans?

A copy of the Australian Standard for Design, Construction and Fit-out of Food Premises (AS4674-2004) should be obtained from Standards Australia. 

How long will it take to have the plans approved?

The length of time to obtain approval will depend on a number of factors associated with Council's assessment of the application. However, you are advised that no work should start until Council has granted approval. 

Will I be charged a licence fee?

Once your application has been approved and works completed you will be charged an annual administration fee that will be invoiced at the beginning of every financial year.   
 
The purpose of the administration fee is to enable Auburn City Council to recover all cost associated with undertaking its regulatory functions under the Food Act 2003. This fee has been adopted in accordance with the provisions of clause 183 of the Food Regulation 2004 
 
In addition to the annual administration fee, Auburn City Council will issue you with an invoice after each inspection of the food business for the associated inspection fees.  This fee is  to recover the costs associated with conducting an inspection of each retail food business.  
 
The inspection fee is charged under the provisions of clause 608 of the Local Government Act 1993, which indicates that a council may charge an approved fee for any service it provides. This clause also states that services for which an approved fee may be charged include the following services provided under this Act or any other Act or the regulations by the council.   

Do I have to pass any knowledge test prior to opening a food business?

It is a requirement under the Food Safety Standards that all persons undertaking or supervising food handling operation in a food business must have skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene matters. 

I’m thinking of buying an existing business. How can I be sure there are no outstanding matters that I need to know about?

It is recommended that any intending purchaser of a food business should ensure that there are no outstanding matters before signing a lease. 
 
A letter should be forwarded to Auburn City Council by your solicitor or yourself seeking information from Council with regard to any outstanding matters relating to the premises. A fee is charged by Council for the information which will detail any outstanding matter/s arising from the most recent inspection of the premises. 
 
You should be aware that any work required to be carried out on the premises, if not completed by settlement date, will become the responsibility of the new proprietor. Note also that the Food Act 2003 and Regulation hold the occupier (not the owner) responsible for both cleanliness and construction matters within the premises.
 

Is there anything else I need to know?

You should also: 
  • Contact Sydney Water Trade Waste Section on (02) 9622 2244 in regard to the existence of a grease trap in existing premises or the need for a grease trap in any new or existing business
  • Make appropriate arrangements with a private company in regard to the regular removal of trade waste from the premises
  • All operators of food businesses should take appropriate steps to inform themselves of the requirements of the food laws in New South Wales. Copies of the Food Act 2003 and the Food Regulation 2004 can be obtained upon payment of a fee from the Government Information Service or on the appropriate web site.

Regulated Premises Registration

To register your Food Business please follow the link to the registration form.