Food Businesses: Registration and Approval
Register your food business with us and find out if it also needs approval.
Registering your food business
By law, you must register your food business with us if you prepare, store, distribute or sell food on premises. This includes restaurants, cafes, hotels, shops, canteens, market stalls, mobile catering vans and food delivery vans.
There is no fee for registering your food business. If you use premises in more than one Council area, you must register with each authority separately.
If you are planning on starting a new food business, you will need to register with the Council at least 28 days before you begin trading.
The majority of food businesses must be registered. However, businesses that are already registered for food law purposes and domestic dwellings producing for private domestic consumption may be exempt. You should contact the Council if you think you may be exempt.
Food premises approval
Some manufacturers handling animal products (such as meat, fish, egg or dairy products) may also need food premises approval. These may include:
- meat preparation plants
- meat processing plants
- minced meat processing operations and mechanically separated meat processing plants
- egg grading and packing plants
- cold stores
This means that they must meet specific food safety requirements and have a management plan in place to make sure risks are properly controlled. Read guidance from the Food Standards Agency.
There is no fee for applying for food premises approval.
It is a criminal offence to run unapproved food premises, and the Council must have processed your application before you can begin trading. Once the Council receives your completed application form, a visit will be made by an Environmental Health Officer to assess your premises. We will aim to complete your application within 28 working days.
You will also need to inform the Council in writing if there are any changes to your business (such as introducing new activities, new owners or closing establishments) or if you have bought an existing approved premises.
Occasionally, you may be exempt from approval depending on the type of product you sell and where you sell it. We recommend that you contact the Council if you think you are exempt, as the exemption process can be complicated and depends on individual business arrangements.