Starting a Food Business

If you supply food regularly, you must register your business with our department at least 28 days before opening. Registration is free.

Registration applies to most types of food business and includes catering businesses run from your home address, food provided on a not-for-profit basis, mobile catering and temporary event catering. Registration must be renewed after each change of ownership.

How to apply

Apply to register your business online for free, by completing our application for the registration of a food business establishment.

Once you have registered your business you will receive an unannounced inspection (unless your business is operated from your home address) and an officer will rate your business using the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, where appropriate.

View information on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

If you are unsure whether your business needs to be registered, or would like some advice about setting up a food business, contact us.

Starting a Food Business

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) website provides guidance for new businesses. This includes what you need to know about starting up a food business, as well as food safety and labelling law.

The law requires you to identify food safety hazards in your business, and to put in place procedures to ensure the food you provide to your customers is safe. These procedures do not need to be complex but they must be effective. You will need to provide documentation and evidence to show how you have identified and monitored the controls which are critical to making sure food is safe. Procedures and monitoring records must be available for inspection during opening hours.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has produced the Safer Food, Better Business pack to help small businesses comply with the requirement to have documented food safety procedures. Separate packs have been produced for caterers, retailers, childminders and care homes, as well as for Chinese and Indian cuisine. These can also be found on the FSA website.

The Safer Food, Better Business pack covers the majority of practices found in food businesses. If you use this pack to meet the required documented food safety procedures, it is essential that you work through and adopt the safe methods described in this pack. This includes tailored controls so that the pack is specific for the hazards and practices associated with your business. Employees must be properly trained and aware of the controls they need to undertake.

This is an important legal requirement and it is essential you fully understand what you have to do.

If you would like any further information or advice, contact us.

You can complete a food safety and food standards self-assessment online.