Register your food business

Page updated on: 07/03/2024

All food businesses need to be registered before starting any food operations.

The law requires food business operators to register with their local council 28 days before trading. All food business that carry out any of the stages of production, processing and distribution of food needs to be registered. 

Food premises include:

  • restaurants,
  • hotels,
  • cafés,
  • shops,
  • supermarkets,
  • staff canteens,
  • Public houses, bars (including drinks only)
  • warehouses,
  • guest houses,
  • delivery vehicles,
  • buffet cars on trains,
  • market and other stalls,
  • hot dog and ice cream vans, etc.

Further details on premises type can be accessed here : Getting ready to start your food business, Food Standards Agency.

If you run food business establishments in more than one council area, you must register with each council separately. Moveable establishments like ice cream vans, burger vans etc should be registered by the food business operator with the council in whose area the vehicle is normally kept.

Are there any exemptions?
Certain food activities do not need to be registered because the EC Regulation does not apply to them. These include:

  • growing or producing food for private domestic use, for example keeping hens to supply eggs to your own family
  • the domestic preparation, handling or storage of food for private domestic consumption.
  • Certain community based events - Community and charity food provision - guidance on the application of EU food hygiene law

Register your food business online

You must ensure that you are aware of the legal requirements that apply to you and have measures in place to meet these legal requirements. This work must be done in advance.
If you are confident that you have already done this and consider yourself to be at a stage where you are ready, to registering your business.
This series of questions focus on key fundamentals. They are not exhaustive but will provide you with an indicator as to whether you are ready to register.

Do you need to register your food business?