Starting a food business

If you are planning to start a new food business, or taking over a food business, you must register your premises with us at least 28 days before opening using a Food Registration Form. There are no specific exemptions to registration under EC 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs, other than those businesses that require approval under Regulation 853/2004.  Therefore registration applies to all food businesses including catering businesses run from home, and mobile or temporary premises such as stalls and vans. Anyone can start a new business but it is recommended that you have some catering experience and/or qualifications. People handling food must have received adequate training.

Somebody who 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 very occasionally) cannot be considered as an "undertaking" and is therefore not subject to the requirement to register.  However, they must still prepare food in a safe and hygienic manner.

Detailed advice for new businesses can be found on the Food Standards Agency website. Information on this website covers covers managing food safely, good food hygiene, food safety management information and advice on non-food related issues such as menus, VAT and alcohol licensing.

When looking for a premises in which to operate there are certain considerations relating to current food safety legislation and that the layout and design of the premises that should be considered:

  • adequate workspace
  • facilities for cleaning food equipment and hands
  • storage space including refrigeration
  • waste disposal arrangements
  • staff facilities
  • ventilation
  • drainage

The most important food hygiene legislation that applies specifically to food businesses is :

Together, these set out the basic hygiene requirements for all aspects of your business, from your premises and facilities to the personal hygiene of your staff. They also include temperature control requirements, and the requirement to put in place 'food safety management procedures' and keep up-to-date records of these. Links to both documents are available at the end of this page.

Once a registration form has been received, we will inspect the premises as soon as possible after opening. Please remember that as an employer or self employed person, you must also comply with Health and Safety law.

Further information on kitchen design and layout, sanitary facilities, mobile and temporary caterers, childminders and catering from a domestic premises can be found using the links on the left hand side of this page. Alternatively you can read the District Council Starting Up Guide [PDF 85kb]. The Food Standards Agency have published two helpful documents called Starting Up and Food Hygiene - A Guide for Businesses.

If you are intending to operate a licensed facility serving or selling alcohol, further information is available on our licensing pages.