FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Licensing

Q. How do I apply for a Meat Transport Vehicle (MTV) licence and get my vehicle inspected?

Licence Application

An MTV licence allows transport of meat and/or seafood for human consumption. The MTV licence is valid for up to one year to 30 June of each year.

Applications for an MTV licence can be made online or by filling out an application form and sending it by post to PO Box 2057, South Melbourne VIC 3205 or by presenting it in person to PrimeSafe, 150 Albert Road, South Melbourne. The application form can be downloaded from the PrimeSafe website or obtained from PrimeSafe.

MTV application form

The payment must be included with the application. The cost of the licence is dependent on the type and capacity of the vehicle. Information regarding the cost of the different MTV categories can be found on the PrimeSafe website.

MTV fees & charges

Inspection

In order for the vehicle to be licensed it must be inspected. This can be done so by bringing your vehicle to PrimeSafe between the hours of 8.30am – 4.30pm Monday – Friday (no appointment necessary); or 
Have it inspected by a third-party PrimeSafe accredited auditor from a Conformity Assessment Body (CAB). The accredited CABs are listed on the PrimeSafe website.

Food Safety

As a condition of licence, records in relation to cleanliness of the vehicle, temperature of the meat/seafood and the maintenance of the meat/seafood carrying compartment must be kept and presented to PrimeSafe every year for verification.

Exceptions

A meat transport vehicle licence is not required for the following forms of transportation:

  • Live seafood;
  • Pet meat or pet food;
  • Seafood not for human consumption (i.e. bait);
  • Seafood from the point of unloading a harvesting vessel transported in a vehicle directly to a PrimeSafe licensed seafood business by a licensed wildcatch business;
  • Meat transported to Farmer’s Markets provided that the meat is processed, packaged, labelled at and transported from a PrimeSafe licensed meat processing facility or at a facility licensed under another State or Territory and stored and sealed in a robust, leak-proof container;
  • Meat from a retail butcher shop to a retail customer;
  • Meat to a cold store or a wharf if the vehicle is a taut liner and the meat is packaged in cartons;
  • Meat within a meat processing facility (e.g. pallets on a forklift);
  • If a vehicle is currently licensed in another State or Territory

Click the button below for more information regarding meat transport vehicles.

More information

Q. How do I apply for retail meat or seafood licence and what does it involve?

Determine the licence type

Use our online licence check to determine your licence type or view the full listing of PrimeSafe licences.

Licence check

Facility

Ensure the facility is ready and complies with the relevant standards (Victorian Standard, Australian Standards or Food Standards Code Australia New Zealand).

Licence Application

Apply for the licence online or by filling out an application form and sending it by post to PO Box 2057, South Melbourne VIC 3205 or presenting it in person to PrimeSafe, 150 Albert Road, South Melbourne. The application form can be downloaded from the PrimeSafe website or obtained from PrimeSafe. The payment (application and annual fee) must be included with the application. Refer to the PrimeSafe website for the suitable licence category and costs which are based on annual throughput.

Audit Confirmation

Get a letter of confirmation from a Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) that they will conduct the third-party audits at your facility. PrimeSafe approved CABs can be found on the PrimeSafe website via the following link:

PrimeSafe approved CABs

Inspection

Within 10 days of receipt of the application, an inspection of the facility and equipment construction will be conducted by PrimeSafe and an audit confirmation letter from a PrimeSafe accredited CAB must be provided at this stage. If there are no major or critical non-conformances raised during the inspection, then a licence is issued to commence operating. However, if non-conformances are raised then they must be resolved within 30 days before a licence can be issued.

Facility Audits

Following approval of the facility and equipment construction and issuing of your licence, there will be a third-party audit within 7 days. At this stage a food safety program will be required. Audits will be conducted including your processing activities as well as your food safety program.

Q. What are the construction requirements to make sure my facility complies?

The construction requirements for meat and poultry processing facilities can be found in the relevant Australian Standard using the following link:

Australian Standards

The construction requirements for retail butcher shops can be found in the Victorian Standard using the following link:

Download Victorian Standard (PDF)

The construction requirements for seafood processing facilities can be found in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code: Standard 3.2.3 Food Premises and Equipment.

Go to Food Standards website

If you have any other questions then please send an email to info@primesafe.vic.gov.au or call PrimeSafe on 03 9685 7333.

Q. Should I be licensed with PrimeSafe or local council?

A food business that manufactures meat and seafood products to be consumed at that premises (e.g. restaurants), schools and public events is not required to be licensed with PrimeSafe.

A food business which processes or sells unmixed or manufactured meat requires a PrimeSafe licence unless the sale of product other than unmixed or manufactured meat is the predominant activity.

Unmixed meat

Unmixed meat means meat that has not been mixed with any other substance, but includes meat that has had a negligible quantity of other food added to it that does not fundamentally change the character of the meat.

Manufactured meat

Manufactured meat means a processed food product that is a mixture of meat and other food (including water) and in which at least 66% of the unpacked weight of the product is meat, but does not included unmixed meat.

Seafood business

A seafood business requires a PrimeSafe licence if the handling of seafood for sale for human consumption is the main activity. The handling of seafood includes:

  1. the harvesting or collection of seafood;
  2. aquaculture;
  3. the maintaining of live shellfish, crustaceans and echinoderms for later processing;
  4. the depuration of shellfish;
  5. the processing of seafood including (but not limited to)-
    1. the skinning, gilling, gutting, filleting or shucking of seafood;
    2. the smoking, preserving, canning, curing or drying of seafood;
    3. the extracting, mincing, blending or slicing of seafood;
    4. the mixing of seafood with other substances;
    5. the cooking of seafood (other than the cooking of seafood for immediate sale for human consumption without any further processing);
    6. the packaging, storing and transporting of seafood.

The handling of seafood does not include:

  1. the maintaining or otherwise handling of fin-fish live for later processing; or
  2. the maintaining or otherwise handling of live seafood intended for sale for the purpose of growing on.
Exemptions from licensing requirements

An exemption from the requirement to hold a seafood safety licence also applies in certain circumstances in relation to the following activities:

  1. The sale of live yabbies.
  2. Abalone harvesting, collecting, maintaining live for later processing or handling live for later processing.
  3. Rock lobster harvesting, collecting, maintaining live for later processing or handling live for later processing.

Further details concerning the applicability of these exemptions are available in the Seafood Safety Regulations 2014.

Q. How do I become licensed/approved to manufacture smallgoods? (new licensee or current licensee)

New licensees

In order to manufacture smallgoods the following are the steps to follow:

Facility
Ensure facility is ready and complies with the relevant standards (Victorian Standard, Australian Standards or Food Standards Code Australia New Zealand)

Licence Application
Apply for the licence online, or by filling out an application form and sending it by post to PO Box 2057, South Melbourne VIC 3205 or presenting it in person to PrimeSafe, 150 Albert Road, South Melbourne. The application form can also be downloaded from the PrimeSafe website or obtained from PrimeSafe. The payment (application and annual fee) must be included with the application. The licence to apply for is a further meat processing licence and the costs can be found on the PrimeSafe website.

Audit Confirmation
Get a letter of confirmation from a Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) that they will conduct the third-party audits.

Inspection
Inspection of the facility and equipment construction will be conducted by PrimeSafe and an audit confirmation letter from a PrimeSafe accredited CAB is also required at this stage. If there are no issues raised during the inspection, then a licence is issued to commence processing activities. However, if issues are raised then they must be resolved within 30 days before a licence can be issued.

Facility Audits
Following approval of the facility and equipment construction, there will be a third-party audit within 7 days. At this stage a food safety program will be required. Audits will be conducted of both the processing activities as well as the food safety program.

Food Safety Program
Listeria Management Plan is required where a business packages or repackages ready-to-eat meat products.

Standard
The standard that must be complied with is the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption (AS4696:2007), which can be found under standards and guidelines on the PrimeSafe website.

Download Australian Standard

Current licensees

In order to manufacture smallgoods, a current PrimeSafe licensee must request in writing to PrimeSafe by hardcopy letter or email requesting to manufacture smallgoods. PrimeSafe will contact the licensee to organise a time to conduct a construction inspection specifically for smallgoods. Licensee will be required to amend their food safety program to include smallgoods and send it to their Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) for approval.  Once PrimeSafe has approved the construction/equipment and the CAB has approved the amended food safety program, the licensee can commence manufacturing smallgoods. The business will be subjected to a weekly intensified audit for 4 weeks upon commencement. The audit frequency will be 4 times a year.

It is a requirement for packaged or repackaged smallgoods that are ready-to-eat (RTE) to have a Listeria Management Plan as part of their food safety program. To find out more about Listeria Management RTE for meat products use the following links:

Download guidelines for control of Listeria (PDF)

Listeria management for ready to eat meat products

Q. Can I manufacture meat or/and seafood products in my own home?

Meat or/and seafood for sale for human consumption must not be manufactured or stored in your own home. The facility must be separate to your home but can be at the same address or a dedicated and separated section of the building. A licence is required to sell meat and the facility must meet the requirements of the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption (AS4696:2007) or the Victorian Standard for Hygienic Production of Meat at Retail Premises. The applicable standard is dependent on whether the sale will be predominantly retail or wholesale. Follow steps for a new licence application.

Q. Can I sell my packaged meat at the farmer’s market?

If you are interested in selling pre-packaged meat at a farmer’s market, you will need to obtain a registration or permit from your local council.

If you are intending to package or store the meat yourself then you will need to be licensed with PrimeSafe. Follow the steps to become licensed with PrimeSafe.

Meat sold at the farmer’s market must be:

  • Processed, packaged, labelled at and transported from a PrimeSafe licensed meat processing facility or at a facility licensed under Australian State or Territory; and
  • Stored and sealed in a robust, leak proof container.

A PrimeSafe licensed meat transport vehicle must be used to transport meat and meat products for human consumption in Victoria. However, vehicles other than PrimeSafe licensed meat transport vehicles can be used to transport meat and meat products provided that the meat and meat products meet the conditions above.

Where any of the above conditions are not met, meat must be transported in a PrimeSafe licensed meat transport vehicle.

Q. How do I lodge a complaint and get feedback on the action PrimeSafe has taken regarding my complaint?

A complaint can be lodged online on the PrimeSafe website, or reported by writing (email, letter or fax) or calling the PrimeSafe Office on 03 9685 7333. In order to assist PrimeSafe in resolving the complaint you will need to provide details such as the name of business, the address, date of alleged incident and a vehicle registration number. A reference number will be provided if the complaint is successfully lodged.  

Due to the confidentiality provisions of the Meat Industry Act 1993 and the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014, there are limitations on the information PrimeSafe can disclose to the complainant at the completion of an investigation. Where the complainant has provided contact details and requested feedback, a complainant will be advised that an investigation has been completed and whether their complaint was substantiated where requested.

Lodge complaint online

Audits

Q. How many audits are required for my business?

All meat and seafood processing facilities are required to undertake third party audits. The frequency of audits is set to the level of inherent risk in the products processed at each facility. The greater the assessed risk, the greater the number of audits required.

View audit schedule

Q. Can I change the date of my audit?

Request to change scheduled audit date will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by PrimeSafe. PrimeSafe may take into consideration certain circumstances (e.g. family emergency, serious illness) but will not approve a change of date because it no longer suits the licensee. For more information regarding audits or to request a change of date for an upcoming audit, contact PrimeSafe on (03) 9685 7333.

Q. Can I change to a different Conformity Assessment Body?

For approval to change Conformity Assessment Body, you will be required to send through a written request to PrimeSafe. PrimeSafe will review the business’ audit history to ensure all corrective actions raised from previous audit have been closed out. PrimeSafe will advise the licensee in writing of the approval to change Conformity Assessment Body.

Food labelling

Q. When does the new Country of Origin Food Labelling Standard commence?

The Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016 commenced on 1st July 2016 and requires most foods suitable for retail sale in Australia to carry country of origin information by 1st of July 2018. Food products that are labelled and packaged on or before 30th of June 2018 can be sold until end of its shelf life without the new labelling requirements.

Q. Who should I contact regarding labelling issues and complaints?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is responsible for the regulation, compliance and enforcement of country of origin labelling requirements. Visit the ACCC website for more information regarding country of origin labelling.

If you have any other questions, please send an email to info@primesafe.vic.gov.au or call PrimeSafe on (03) 9685 7333.

Further information