When you start a new food business or take over an existing business, you must register with your local authority. Many churches and other organisations think they are exempt from this ruling but they are not – check the information below to see whether you need to register.

It’s free to register, and your registration cannot be refused.

Who needs to register?

A food business is anyone preparing, cooking, storing, handling, distributing, supplying or selling food.

Registration applies to food business like:

  • restaurants, cafes and take-aways
  • catering businesses run from home, mobile catering and temporary businesses
  • food stalls, food pop ups and food vans
  • distance selling, mail order and food delivery
  • nurseries
  • companies involved with food distribution or supply (even if they operate from an office where no food is kept at the premises)

If you operate more than one premises, you need to register each premises with the local authority where it’s located. You can visit the Food Standards Agency for more information on starting a food business.

You may be fined, imprisoned for up to 2 years or both if you run a food business without registering.

When should you register?

You should register at least 28 days before opening.

If you’re already trading and have not registered, you need to do this as soon as possible.

What happens once you’re registered?

Once registered, you may be inspected by your local authority and given a food hygiene rating.

Preparing thoroughly for inspection means your business has the best chance of getting a top rating (5) in the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

Food Hygiene Rating Certificate