Anyone starting a new food business must register with the council at least 28 days before opening. Registration is free of charge and cannot be refused. Re-registration is necessary where a change of ownership has taken place.
If you use premises in more than one local authority area, you must register with each authority separately. If you are a mobile trader, you need only register with the authority where your vehicle is stored overnight.
Some establishments require approval instead of registration. Approval may be required if you produce meat, fish, dairy or eggs products and supply these to other food businesses. There are some exemptions to the requirement to be approved, but premises must not operate until approval has been granted.
The following types of business will usually require approval:
- Food manufacturers producing products of animal origin
- Home caterers selling products of animal origin to other businesses
- Central production kitchens which supply catering establishments or retailers
- Stand-alone cold stores
- Establishments that pack or wrap (or re-pack or re-wrap) products of animal origin.
The following types of business will not require approval, as long as food is not sold on to other establishments: restaurants, cafes, takeaway shops, supermarkets and other retailers, mobile food units, delivery vans, wholesale warehouses, and workplace or institutional catering operations. Only registration is required for these businesses.
If you think your business may be subject to approval, contact the food safety team for advice: telephone (020) 8825 6666 or email email@example.com.
How to apply
Fill in and submit the online registration form.
If ‘approval’ is required, download and fill in the approval application pack and complete the form and return it with all the relevant accompanying documents.
When filling in the registration form, please refer closely to the guidance notes to ensure that you complete the form fully and correctly. Seasonal businesses operating for a certain period each year should give opening dates in answer to question 12. It is an offence to give information which you know is false.
The council will enter the details you provide into its register. A register of the name of the business (if any), the address, telephone number and the type of business carried out at each premises will be available for inspection by the general public. Records of the other information provided will not be publicly available, however please be aware that some of these may need to be released in response to a Freedom of Information request.
It is an offence to give information which you know is false.
Further information is available from the Food Standards Agency.
Once you are registered, you must notify us if you stop trading, if there is a change of proprietor, if you relocate, if the nature of the business changes, or if there is a change of address at which moveable premises are kept. Any new proprietor will then have to submit their own registration form.
It is an offence to fail to register a food business.
Tacit consent applies for registrations, so you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you do not hear from the council by 28 days after the registration was submitted.
Where approval (rather than registration is required), tacit consent does not apply and approval must be granted before a business places food on the market.