Food business registration
Anyone starting a new food business or taking over an existing food business is required to register their food business premises at least 28 days before beginning to trade. Registration is free, it is a legal requirement and cannot be refused. Registration applies to all food businesses that store, sell, distribute, or prepare, food and drink. Once you have submitted a signed food business registration form you are free to begin trading.
Existing food business operators must notify the food authority of any changes in their food business activities.
Upon registration, your premise will be allocated to a food safety officer for inspection. The time scale for inspection will depend upon the risk posed by the food activities of your business. Please do not contact us after you have registered your food business. A food safety officer will either make an unannounced visit to your food business or contact you when we are ready to do so.
Registration forms should only be completed and returned when you are certain that you are going to start your new food business.
A food broker is a business that purchases, ‘takes title to’ or has legal ownership of food for resale to other businesses such as manufacturers, retailers, caterers, other brokers. Often the difference between food brokers and other food business operators (FBOs) is that they take legal ownership of the food and not physical possession. You are classed an FBO because you are supplying food to other businesses even if you may never take physical possession of food. As an FBO it is a legal requirement to register your business with your local authority 28 days before you intend to trade. If you are already trading and have not registered you need to do so as soon as possible. Registering your business is free of charge.
Mobile catering trailers / vans and ice cream vans
If you operate a food business from a mobile catering trailer / van or an ice cream van you are required to register your food business with the local authority where your business is based. This could be your home or at a business premise where you store food, carry out food preparation, store your equipment or park your mobile catering trailers and vans. You are required to tell the local authority how many mobile catering trailers / vans and ice cream vans you have. You do not need to register each mobile catering trailer / van or ice cream van separately.
If you store your mobile catering trailers / vans and ice cream vans in a different location to where your food business is registered you are required to notify the local authority where your mobile catering trailers /vans and ice cream vans are normally kept and how many you have.
If you operate a food business from a market stall you are required to register your food business with the local authority where your business is based. This could be your home or at a business premise where you store food, carry out food preparation, store your equipment or park your vehicle used to transport food and equipment.
Vehicles used to transport food
If you use vehicles in connection with a permanent food premise 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 used to transport and or distribute food, but no permanent premises, you must tell the Local Authority where the vehicles are normally kept.
Home producers, home baking, home catering
If you produce food at home to supply individual customers or businesses, you will need to complete a food registration form. When we receive your registration form, we will contact you if your business is low risk e.g. home cake baking, and ask you to complete a low risk food business questionnaire.
For more information and to see if your business is low risk please go to our low risk food page.
Charitable and community food provision
Generally, community or charity operations where a group or individual handles, prepares, stores or serves food occasionally and on a small scale (e.g. a church, school or village fair and other situations such as organised charities comprising individual volunteers where the food is prepared occasionally) do not need to register as a food business. Please refer to the guidance below.
However some activities that occur on a regular basis or in some cases less than once a month, for example, lunch clubs, which involve complex food safety controls such as temperature control or the provision of food to vulnerable consumers such as the elderly, infants under 5 years, expectant women, the chronically sick, would be required to register as a food business. The following food standards agency guidance should be considered.
Are childminders classified as food businesses? When childminders register with Ofsted they are automatically referred to the relevant local authority for food business registration.