Starting a food business

When starting a new food business, it is important to get legal matters, such as registering your business, health and safety and food hygiene right from the very start because this will make it much easier for you to run your business well in the future.

You need to:

  • register your food business at least 28 days before opening. There is no charge
  • apply for a licence by contacting if you are:-
    - selling alcohol
    - putting on public entertainment
    - selling hot food and drink late at night
    - selling food on the street

Register your food business online

We advise you to read the food business guidance.

This explains who needs to register and who doesn't need to apply and offers other general information. Your business will then be inspected by a food safety officer and if your business is within the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, given a food hygiene rating.

Information to help you with starting up:

Note: in some instances, businesses may require specific approval for handling certain products of animal origin (POAO). Guidance in relation to this approval can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.

Should your proposed food business fall within the scope of approval, it is recommended that you contact us on 01423 500600 prior to completing the application form below.

Food business establishment approval application

New food business assessment form

Useful links

Building control
Business and investment
Food law inspections
Health and safety made simple
Pest control
Trade waste