Registering a food business

Notes on registration of food premises

What is registration?

Registration of premises used as a food business (including market stalls, delivery vehicles and other moveable structures) is required by law.  Registration will allow local authorities to keep an up-to-date list of all those premises 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 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
  • cafés
  • shops
  • supermarkets
  • staff canteens
  • kitchens in offices
  • warehouses
  • guest houses
  • delivery vehicles
  • buffet cars on trains
  • market
  • domestic premises and other stalls
  • hot dog and ice cream vans etc.

You do not need to register if you generally provide food less than once a month unless that involves food handling that requires a degree of organisation, for example:

  • you are serving a large number of people,
  • you are serving people who are young, elderly or unwell or,
  • you are handling higher risk foods.

If you are unsure whether or not to register please contact us to discuss your plans.

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.

To allow us to process your registration please register with us 28 days before you plan to start trading.

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), some domestic premises and some village halls. You should contact your local authority if you think you might be exempt.

How do I register?

By filling in the registration form.  Registration cannot be refused and there is no charge. If you use premises in more than one local authority area, you must register all your business separately with each authority.

You must tick all the boxes which apply to your business, answer all the questions and give all the information requested.  Seasonal businesses operating for a certain period each year should give the dates between which they will be open in answer to question 7.  If you have any questions, your local authority will help you. It is an offence to give information that you know is false.

What happens to the information given on the form?

The local authority will enter the details onto its 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 other information provided will not be made publicly available.

Changes

Once you have registered with the local authority you only need notify them of any 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 a new application form.

If the local authority wishes to change the entry in the register because of information which is 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.

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