Guide to registering your business

Find out if your business needs to be approved or registered, and how to do this. 

All food businesses must register with the environmental health service at their local authority at least 28 days before opening. If you have multiple premises you will need to register all of them. Registration of food businesses is free.

Registration applies to all types of food businesses, including those that:

  • grow food
  • produce food
  • cook food
  • sell food
  • store or handle food
  • distribute food — business involved with distribution or food supply should also register as food businesses, even if no food is kept at the premises

Find out if your business needs to be registered or approved

Businesses which redistribute surplus foodstuffs (for example, out-of-date bakery products) as animal feed must register with Food Standards Scotland.

Important information

If you are already trading and have not yet registered, you need to do so as soon as possible.

Contact your local authority to find out how to register your business.


Exceptions to registration

Approved premises

Food businesses that make, prepare or handle meat, fish, egg or dairy products for supply to other businesses may require approval and not registration.

Whether or not you need approval will depend on the type of business and whether foods are handled or processed. If you are unsure whether you need approval refer to the flow chart below or contact your Local Authority. 

Childminders

If you are planning to start or have started a childminding business in a domestic premises that provides food you may need to register as a food business with your local authority, depending on the food services you provide. 

The following guidance should help you understand whether you need to register as a food business.