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Fees for non-compliant food businesses

Ensuring your business complies with food safety laws is one of your most important responsibilities as a food business owner.

It is critical that all food businesses comply with the Food Act 1984 and the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code to provide safe food and protect Merri-bek community members and visitors from food-borne illness.

Merri-bek City Council is introducing an additional fee for food businesses that are not complying with important food safety standards.

When will this new fee come into effect?

This new fee will impact businesses assessed to be major or critical non-compliant under the Act from 1 January 2024.

If your food business is found to be major or critical non-compliant from January 2024, you will be charged the non-compliant fee in November 2024 as part of the annual Registration Renewal Process. 

Important: this fee does not apply to businesses that are assessed to be compliant under the Food Act.

How much is the non-compliant fee?

Non-compliant fees are detailed in the table below.

This fee differs between food premises classifications, and between the period in which the premises has been non-compliant (e.g, whether the premises has been non-compliant in the previous 12 months or non-compliant for two consecutive years). 

Name Unit Fee for 2023/24 (inc. GST)
Renewal Class 1 (Base Rate)- Non compliant in previous 12 months per application $942
Renewal Class 1 (Base Rate) - Non compliant last 2 consecutive years per application $1,160
Renewal Class 2 (Base Rate) - Non compliant previous 12 months per application $942
Renewal Class 2 (Base Rate) - Non compliant last 2 consecutive years per application $1,160
Renewal Class 2 (Base Rate) - Non compliant in previous 12 months per application $704
Renewal Class 3 (Base Rate) - Non compliant last 2 consecutive years per application $832
Renewal Class 3A (Base Rate) - Compliant previous 12 months per application $552
Renewal Class 3A (Base Rate) - Non compliant in previous 12 months  per application $704
Renewal Class 3A (Base Rate) - Non compliant last 2 consecutive years per application $832

Premises that have been compliant in the previous 12 months will only be charged the base rate for renewing their registration, as detailed in the table below.

Name Unit Year 2022/23 Fee (inc. GST) Year 2023/24 Fee (inc. GST) Increase % Increase $
Renewal Class 1 (Base Rate) - Compliant in previous 12 months per application $699.35 $720 2.95% $20.65
Renewal Class 2 ,(Base Rate) - Compliant in previous 12 months per application $726.65 $748 2.94% $21.35
Renewal Class 3 (Base Rate) - Compliant in previous 12 months per application $540.90 $557 2.98% $16.10

Why is Council introducing more fees for businesses?

Over the past several years, Council has seen an increase in the number of food premises in Merri-bek who are not complying with food safety regulations.

Some commonly observed non-compliances include inadequate hand washing facilities, not having a suitable temperature measuring device, not having a suitable sanitiser for food contact surfaces and equipment, inadequate cleaning practices, structural non-compliances that pose a direct risk to food safety and a range of food storage non-compliances.

Council has an important role in ensuring that food for sale in Merri-bek is safe and suitable for human consumption through administering and enforcing the Food Act 1984. Under legislation, Council is required to consider compliance with regulations as a factor in determining the suitability of businesses to remain registered.

Council is introducing this fee to recover costs from businesses who are not meeting important food safety standards, rather than levying all businesses. The overall goal is to ensure that food businesses in Merri-bek are providing safe and suitable food.

Is this a one-off fee?

Businesses that are found to be non-compliant from January 2024 will be charged the new non-compliant fee as part of the annual Registration Renewal process in November 2024.

If your business is found to be non-compliant for 3 or more consecutive years, this may trigger additional enforcement action by Council, which may involve revoking, suspending, or refusing to renew registrations.

This fee does not apply to businesses that are compliant under the Food Act.

How do I know if my business is non-compliant?

Our Environmental Health Officers inspect registered food premises annually to ensure businesses comply with the Food Act 1984 and the Food Standards Code. The inspecting Environmental Health Officer will provide the licensee of the food business with a report following the inspection, clearly detailing the outcome.

Victorian food business proprietors have a responsibility to ensure that their premises complies with the Food Act 1984 and the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code. Businesses should take proactive steps to ensure their business complies.

Council’s Environmental Health Team will distribute a self-assessment checklist prior to January 2024, when businesses will be impacted by this new fee, to assist businesses in making a self-assessment of their level of compliance with the legislation.

Self-assessment checklist

Download our self-assessment checklist here.

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