Starting a Food Business

Before opening, get in touch with us. We will be able to help you:

  • Determine whether you need to register your food business, or apply for approval
  • To plan your business
  • Organise waste and recycling collection
  • Get appropriate training and tools

Registration applies to most types of food business, including catering businesses run from home and mobile or temporary premises, such as stalls and vans. You should register your food business with the Environmental Health service at least 28 days before opening – registration is free. If you have more than one premises, you will need to register all of them. You can register using the food business registration service on GOV.UK or by returning the form above via our email address

If you plan to manufacture food using products of animal origin such as meat, fish, milk and dairy products and you aren’t exclusively selling the products that you make to the public, then you might need to be “Approved” first by the local authority.

Contact us for advice before you start, and we can provide you with advice, registration and the application processes. You will also need to be inspected once your business is running and a Food Hygiene Rating System (FHRS) score issued where applicable.

There are some useful documents on the above right hand menu that may be appropriate to the business you are planning.


Further Resources and FSA guidance

Safer food, better business

Safer food, better business (SFBB) helps small businesses with food safety management procedures and food hygiene regulations.

Food law inspections and your business

If you run a business that makes or prepares food, it will be inspected to make sure you are following food law. Find out what inspections might involve and the action that inspectors can take if they find a problem in your business.

Distance selling guidance for food businesses

The FSA has produced guidance for food businesses on selling food for delivery. This type of selling is known as distance selling. It includes online selling and mail order.

Childminders: registration and food

Food safety is very important for childcare because children are a vulnerable group. This means children can be more seriously affected by food poisoning and food allergy than some other groups of people.

Other things to consider:

  • Have you registered your premises?
  • Do the design and construction of your premises meet legal requirement?
  • Are you aware of the main General Food Law Requirements?
  • Do you keep written records of all the suppliers that provide you with food or any food ingredients?
  • Have you put food safety management procedures in place and are you keeping up-to-date records of these?
  • Do you and your staff understand the principles of good food hygiene?
  • Have you considered health and safety and fire safety arrangements?
  • Have you registered as self-employed?
  • Do you need to register for VAT?
  • Are you keeping records of all your business income and expenses?
  • Are you keeping records of your employees’ pay and do you know how to pay their tax and National Insurance contributions?
  • Do you describe food and drink accurately?
  • Do you need to apply for a licence to sell alcohol, for entertainment, for selling hot food and drink late at night, or selling food on the street?