Register a Food Business
If you are planning to start a food business, you must register your premises at least 28 days before opening or producing food. This applies to most types of food business, including catering businesses run from home, mobile or temporary premises such as stalls and vans and those operating online or by distance selling. Failing to register can result in legal action being taken against you.
Registration of your food business is free and can’t be refused. If you are already trading and have not registered yet, you need to register as soon as possible as this is a legal requirement.
Businesses must also register with the local authority if they are taking over or make significant changes to an existing business food operation, such as starting to prepare foods or having a delivery service.
You can register your food business via the online food registration form on the Food Standards Agency’s website. If you use two or more premises you will need to register all of them. If food premises are to be used by several catering businesses (e.g. a village hall or conference centre) each of the organisations using the building for their food businesses need to register with us.
Once we receive a completed food registration we may contact you to confirm some of the details and gather any additional information we need. We will also plan an initial inspection at this point.
Food Safety Management
All food businesses are required to have a documented food safety management system based on the principles of HACCP. Although this may sound onerous a small catering business can get a free guidance pack called Safer Food and Better Business(opens in a new window) from the Food Standards Agency(opens in a new window).
While there is no law saying that you must have formal training in food safety if you run a business, the law does require you to ensure you have adequate training and supervision. This can be tricky unless you have had some form of training and instruction. The easiest way to do this is by placing food handling staff of food safety training which costs very little, and for managers and supervisors to have a more advanced training qualification.
Food Safety Training
The Food Standards Agency’s website contains comprehensive information on how to make food safely and run your business hygienically. More information on guidance and advice available can be found on our Food Business and Advice Page. Failures to follow good hygiene practices or managing food safety can have life changing or fatal consequences for your customers and potentially criminal charges all the way up to manslaughter. So, for those in charge of food safety it can be critical to ensuring you run your business safely. Training providers can provide you with a range of food safety qualifications, but the starting point for supervisors should be a Level 3 course in food hygiene and for food handlers a Level 2 course.
The Council is currently offering free, online food safety courses for businesses which meet these requirements