Guidance for completing a food business registration application. These notes are provided for information only and should not be regarded as a complete statement of the law.

What is registration?

Registration of a premises used for a food business (including market stalls, delivery vehicles and other moveable structures) is required by law. Registration will allow local authorities to keep an up-to-date list of all those premises in their area so they can visit them when they need to. The frequency of the visits will depend on the type of business.

Who needs to register?

If you run a food business you must tell the local authority about any premises you use for storing, selling, distributing or preparing food. Food businesses include restaurants, takeaways, hotels, food shops, supermarkets, staff canteens, care homes, nurseries, schools, pre- and after-school clubs, food warehouses, mobile caterers, food stalls and food delivery vehicles. Anyone starting a new food business must register with the local authority at least 28 days before doing so. Registration is free. Once you have submitted a food business registration form you can begin to trade.

How do I register?

By filling in and returning a registration form to your local authority. Registration cannot be refused and there is no charge. If you use premises in more than one local authority area, you must register with each authority separately.

You must tick all the boxes which apply to your business, answer all the questions and give all the information requested. If you have any questions, your local authority will help you. It is an offence to give information which you know is false.

Confirmation of registration

Confirmation of your food businesses registration is free and immediate if you register online. Please ensure you keep the confirmation email you receive after registering.

However we do not routinely send confirmation that your food business registration form has been received if you have sent your registration form by post.

If you require written confirmation that your food business is registered with the council after sending a registration form by post or if you have lost the email you received when you registered your business online, you will be charged a fee, see request confirmation of registration.

What happens to the information given on the form?

The local authority will enter the details on its register. A register of addresses and the type of business carried on at each will be open to inspection by the general public. Records of the other information provided will not be publicly available.

Changes to your business registration details

Once you have registered with the Local Authority, you are required to notify them of a change of proprietor, if the nature of the business changes, or if there is a change of the address at which movable premises are kept. The new proprietor will have to complete an application form. 

If the local authority wishes to change the entry in the register because of information which it receives from someone else, you will be given 28 days-notice and an opportunity to comment on the proposed change.