How to register a food business
What is registration?
UK law requires registration of establishments used for a food business (including market stalls, delivery vehicles and other moveable structures).
Registration allows local authorities to keep an up-to-date list of all those establishments 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 establishment you must tell (or arrange for someone else to tell) the local authority about any premises you use for storing, selling, distributing or preparing food. Food premises includes restaurants, hotels, cafes, shops, supermarkets, staff canteens, kitchens in offices, warehouses, guest houses, food brokers, delivery vehicles, buffet cars on trains, market and other stalls, hot dog and ice cream vans etc.
- 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.
- Anyone starting a new food business must register with the local authority at least 28 days before doing so.
- The majority of premises will have to be registered. However, certain premises are exempt from registration e.g. some which are already registered for food law purposes, certain agricultural premises, motor cars, tents and marquees (but not stalls), You should contact your local authority if you think you might be exempt.
- Food businesses that are not wholly retail may also need to be Approved under Regulation (EC) Number 853/2004. Full details are available on our approved premises page.
How do I register?
By filling in and returning to us a registration form which is available to download from this page. The registration form must be sent to your local environmental health team. There is no charge for registration.
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.
What happens to the information given on the form?
We will enter the details of your food business on our 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.
Once you have registered with the council you only need 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. 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.
These notes are provided for information only and should not be regarded as a complete statement of the law.
- Food Registration Form (Microsoft Word format, 73kb)
- Regulation (EC) Number 853/2004 (Adobe PDF format, 272kb)
If you are unable to view documents of these types, our downloads page provides links to viewing software.
This page was last updated on 17 May 2013