Advice for New Businesses

This section gives you all the advice you need to start a new food business.

Before opening, get in touch with your local authority. They will be able to help you:

  • determine whether you need to register your food business, or apply for approval
  • to plan your business
  • organise waste and recycling collection
  • get appropriate training and tools

Contact your Local Authority.

Register your business

Registration applies to most types of food business, including catering businesses run from home and mobile or temporary premises, such as stalls and vans. You should register your premises with the environmental health service at your local authority at least 28 days before opening – registration is free. If you have more than one premises, you will need to register all of them.

Checklist for starting up

  • Have you registered your premises?
  • Do the design and construction of your premises meet legal requirement?
  • Are you aware of the main General Food Law Requirements?
  • Do you keep written records of all the suppliers that provide you with food or any food ingredients?
  • Have you put food safety management procedures in place and are you keeping up-to-date records of these?
  • Do you and your staff understand the principles of good food hygiene?
  • Have you considered health and safety and fire safety arrangements?
  • Have you registered as self-employed?
  • Do you need to register for VAT?
  • Are you keeping records of all your business income and expenses?
  • Are you keeping records of your employees’ pay and do you know how to pay their tax and National Insurance contributions?
  • Do you describe food and drink accurately?
  • Do you need to apply for a licence to sell alcohol, for entertainment, for selling hot food and drink late at night, or selling food on the street?

Useful resources

CookSafe

ButcherSafe

RetailSafe

Related information

Food law inspections and your business

If you run a business that makes or prepares food, it will be inspected to make sure you are following food law.  Find out what inspections might involve and the action that inspectors can take if they find a problem in your business.

Childminders: Guidance and Registering as a food business

Food safety is very important for childcare because children are a vulnerable group.  This means children can be more seriously affected by food poisoning and food allergy than some other groups of people.  This guidance is aimed solely at registered childminders in domestic premises and is not intended for nannies and home child carers or care operating from non-domestic premises such as nurseries, care homes and schools.

If you are planning to start up a childminding business that provides food as part of your childminding service you may need to Register as a Food Business with your Local Authority, depending on the food services you provide.  The Legal Requirements for Registered Childminders in Domestic Premises Operating as a Food Business guidance should help you understand whether you need to register as a food business.

As a childminder, it is your responsibility to ensure that you can provide allergen information for the food you serve and that this is accurate, consistent and verifiable.  Further information on allergen legislation and advice can be found in Allergen Advice for Registered Childminders.  A Safer Food Better Business pack has been developed especially for childminders.

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