Registering a food business

If you store, prepare, distribute or sell food on premises, it is a legal requirement that you register your business with us online by completing a Food Premises Registration Form or alternatively you can worddocuments icon download the form [35kb] at least 28 days before opening. This includes catering businesses run from home and mobile or temporary premises such as stalls and burger vans.

This scheme allows us to keep an up-to-date list of all food businesses in our area so we can visit them when we need to. The frequency of the visits will depend on the type of food business.

You may be fined, imprisoned for up to two years or both if you run a food business without registering.

Mobile traders

If you run a mobile catering van, food delivery van or market stall, you must be register with the council where:

  • your business is based (where you pay your council tax)
  • you keep your mobile stall
  • you store your food overnight

* Please note that you may also need to register for VAT, apply for planning permission and pay Business Rates.

Who needs to register?

Food premises includes restaurants, hotels, cafes, shops, supermarkets, staff canteens, kitchens in offices, warehouses, guest houses, delivery vehicles, buffet cars on trains, market and other stalls, hot dog and ice cream vans etc.

Food organisations that donate food such as charities and homeless shelters and people who produce food in their home for members of the public; jam making, cake baking etc. will also need to be registered.


Certain types of food activity do not need to register, for example;

  • infrequent activities, ie one off events
  • if you make food for your friends and family
  • village halls with kitchens only let out for use by members of the public
  • places where the main activity is not to do with food, eg hairdressers providing tea and biscuits
  • places where food is only sold through vending machines

What information will I need to register?

  • name and contact details of the Food Business Operator
  • name of your Primary or Home Authority, if you have one
  • details about the nature of your business. It is very important that you provide as much information as possible so we can understand your business
  • date you plan to start trading
  • type of water supply you have, if you have a spring, well or borehole etc
  • planned opening time (commercial premises only)

Mobile food traders will need to provide details about where and how they plan to trade

How do I register?

You can register using the food business registration form available on the website or alternatively you can worddocuments icon download the form [35kb]. There is no fee chargeable.  If you use premises in more than one local authority area, you must register with each authority separately.

Seasonal businesses operating for a certain period each year should give the dates between which they will be open.

Registration cannot be refused.

What happens to the information given on the form?

The information will be entered on our public register. A register of the name, address, telephone number and the type of business carried on at each can be viewed by the general public. The other information provided will not be publicly available.


Once you have registered with us you only need notify us of a change of owner or if the nature of the business changes. The new owner will have to complete a new form.

Notes are provided for information only and should not be regarded as a complete statement of the law.

Once the food registration form is received you will be subjected to a food inspection.


If you intend to make, prepare or handle food of animal origin (eg meat, fish or dairy) for supply to other businesses, then the food business and its activities in most circumstances will require what is known as approval. Further information on the approved premises process can be found on our Food Premises Approval page.

Further information

The Food Standards Agency provides general information on starting up a business and they also produce three booklets which provide further information: