This section gives you information about setting up and registering a food business.
About food business registration
The registration of businesses used for food operations, including market stalls, delivery vehicles and other moveable structures, is required by law.
It involves completing a simple form which asks the name, address, type of food business, name of the proprietor and address of head office or registered office.
It is an offence to give false or incomplete information. Article 6 of EC 852/2004 requires food business operators to notify local authorities of their business operations.
The purpose of the registration is to provide information for the local authority, which is responsible for enforcing food law, about the food businesses in its area so it can target inspection and education programmes effectively.
The obligation to register and notify changes to the local authority lies with the proprietor of the food business. The form businesses use to register their premises is part of the regulations.
Who needs to register a food business?
All food businesses have to register unless they are exempt. The proprietor must tell (or arrange for someone else to tell) the local authority about any premises used for storing, selling, distributing or preparing food.
Food premises includes restaurants, hotels, cafes, shops, supermarkets, staff canteens, kitchens in offices, warehouses, guest houses, delivery vehicles, buffet cars on trains, market and other stalls, hot dog and ice cream vans, etc.
If you use vehicles for your food business in connection with permanent premises such as a shop or warehouse, you only need to tell the local authority how many vehicles you have. You do not need to register each vehicle separately. If you have one or more vehicles, but no permanent premises, you must tell the authority where they are normally kept.
The majority of premises will have to be registered. However, certain premises are exempt from registration, e.g. some which are already registered for food law purposes, certain agricultural premises, motor cars, tents and marquees (but not stalls), some domestic premises and some village halls.
You should contact the public protection commercial team if you think you might be exempt.
Food business registration FAQs
When do I register?
Anyone starting a new food business must register with their local authority at least 28 days before opening.
Is there a charge?
There is no charge for registration and local authorities cannot refuse to register premises.
What happens once I've registered?
Once a registration form has been received, the premises and food handling activities will be inspected to ensure it does not present a health risk to the public and complies with food hygiene law.
Does it run out after a period of time?
Registration does not need periodic renewal. However, it is the responsibility of the proprietor to notify the local authority of any changes in the detail provided.
What happens to my information?
The local authority is required to keep a register, open to inspection by the public, containing the name and address of the food premises concerned and the type of business operated there. Apart from this, the remaining information on the form is confidential.
You must inform us of any changes
Once you have registered, you must keep us informed of change of proprietor, if the nature of the business changes, or if there is a change of the address at which moveable premises are kept. The new proprietor will have to register with us.
Remember, as an employer or self-employed person, you must also comply with health and safety law, and products you sell will be subject to trading standards controls.