Food businesses do not require a licence however they must be registered with the environmental health department at the Council 28 days prior to starting any food operations.
'Food operations' include:
Storing or handling food
Fines and Penalties
Registration is free but failure to register is an offence under Article 6(2) of Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs. You may be fined, imprisoned for up to 2 years or both if you run a food business without registering.
How to register a food business
Registration cannot be refused and there is no charge.
The registration form must be sent to your local authority. If the form is sent to the wrong address, your application will not take effect until it is received at the proper place.
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. Seasonal businesses operating for a certain period of each year should provide this information on the form. Please note, It is an offence to give information which you know is false.
Application form to register a food business
Registration will allow our food inspectors to keep an up-to-date list of all those premises in the area so they can inspect them when they need to. The frequency of the inspections will depend on the type of business.
The aim of the inspections is to maintain and improve conditions in food premises, promote and provide food hygiene training, address issues in relation to food borne disease, provide advice and carry out sampling.
Following your inspection, you will receive your food hygiene rating.
Who needs to register?
All food businesses including voluntary organisations need to register with their appropriate local authority, informing them of the premises used for storing, selling, distributing or preparing food. This is regardless of the amount of food produced, the number of days you trade for or who you supply the food to.
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 are a child-minder you do not need to register, your food business registration will happen automatically when you register with Ofsted.
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.
What happens to the information given on the form?
We will enter your details on to our food premises register. The register includes details of the types of food businesses and relevant addresses of the food businesses within the district. The register is a public document which means that members of the public can request to see the register.
Records of the other information provided will not be publicly available and will not be disclosed outside of the Council, local government departments and government agencies. The details will be used for the purpose of registration, enforcement and the protection of public funds. Anyone wishing to view an entry in the food premises register can do so by visiting the Council offices.
What about changes?
Once you have registered, you only need to notify us of a 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. All new proprietors will need to complete a new registration application.
Registration is not required for primary production for private or domestic use or for domestic preparation, handling or storage of food for private domestic consumption.
Businesses producing meat, meat products, eggs, milk, dairy products, fish and/or fish products are exempt from registering as they need approval under Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 instead.
If you are unsure if your business might be exempt, please contact the environmental health department.
Please note that planning permission may be required if premises are being converted to be used as food premises for the first time.
Should you wish to sell alcohol, a licence will be required, please see the licensing web pages.
All food businesses should carry out a hazard analysis in order to identify what could possibly go wrong with the food they produce or sell. This requires looking at each step of food preparation from choosing suppliers to serving or selling food to customers. Necessary food safety controls must be identified, documented and implemented to minimise or eliminate the hazards.
The environmental health department at the Council are happy to provide information and guidance to help you comply with food safety law.
Food Standards Agency (External link)