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Register a food business

Who needs to register and how to register your food business

Who needs to register?

It is a legal requirement for the operators of most food businesses (including charities and organisations not for profit) to register.

Registration of your food business is free and cannot be refused. You should complete this 28 days before you begin trading. Registered food businesses will be subject to periodic food hygiene inspections by officers of the Council. Once registered you do not have to wait for an inspection to begin trading.

You'll need to register your business if you:

  • prepare or sell food or drink (this includes where all food is pre-packed)
  • store and distribute food
  • are a mobile catering vehicle or market stall (you need to register where you store the food and vehicle)
  • prepare food or drink at home as part of your business (for example, cupcakes or celebration cakes)

If you have multiple premises or catering vehicles, you'll need to register each one. It is not unusual for mobile catering vehicles to trade across more than one local authority area and in such circumstances you do not need to register with every local authority for the areas you trade in. You are advised to check with the local authority for each area you will trade in as to whether street trading consent is required.

Who doesn't need to register?

You won't need to register if you:

  • are engaged in farming activities
  • supply only small quantities of farmed products (for example eggs, honey, fruit & veg) to the final consumer
  • only have vending machines
  • are operating a food premises that is subject to approval, such as manufacturers’ of animal products (Such premises operators will have to apply for approval with the Council)
  • are a childminder and have registered with Ofsted
  • are hiring a catering company for an event (The catering company should already be registered)
  • are running a one off event such as a street party, charity event

How can I register?

To register your food business; you'll need to know:

  • your business name and location
  • how many people will be working for the business
  • the nature of the business

Register your food business

If you're unable to apply online you can download our paper application form.

What we do with your information?

We have to maintain a list of registered food businesses within our borough. We have to make this list available for inspection by the public if they ask. The list will contain the name, address and type of food business only.

Changes you need to tell us

You must tell us if your business closes, or if there is a:

  • change of business activity (for example caterer to manufacturer)
  • change of food business operator
  • change of address for the food business operator, or where you store your mobile food vehicle when you are not trading

It's an offence to give false or incomplete information. It's your responsibility to register and notify us of any changes.

Advice and Guidance 

We provide advice and guidance free of charge as well as advice visits to assist new food business operators with ensuring that food is produced safely and hygienically. You can request advice and guidance by emailing or alternatively by calling 01553 616200.

Further information

If you need advice on how best to set up your business, please visit our environmental health business support page or