Starting a new food business

If you are setting up a new business, or taking over an existing business there are a number of things you need to do:

Register your premises

Food registration – you need to register your food business with us at least 28 days before opening. This is free of charge.

Register a food business

What you need to think about before you start your business

  • Train your staff – make sure your staff are supervised, instructed and trained in food hygiene in order to produce safe food. Training can be done by reputable training providers or online courses. 
  • Produce a documented food safety management system - Before you start operating as a food business, and before your inspection, you'll need to complete a documented food safety management system; this is a document to explain the procedures that you undertake within your business to ensure that you produce food which is safe to eat. Any members of staff that you have must be trained in your system. The Food Standards Agency has produced a food safety management system pack called 'Safer Food Better Business' (SFBB) for smaller businesses. Failure to provide a documented system is an offence and under the Food Standards Agencies 'Food Hygiene Rating Scheme' (FHRS), the highest FHRS rating you can achieve without the appropriate documentation is 1 - Major Improvement Necessary. Safer food, better business (SFBB) | Food Standards Agency  

  • Design, layout and construction of your premises – do they meet the legal requirements? You can find out more here.

Do you know what Allergens are present in your food?

The Food Information Regulations (FIR) 2014 requires food businesses to provide allergy information to their customers on food sold unpackaged, in for example, catering outlets, deli counters, bakeries, sandwich bars etc. There is also legislation on labelling allergenic ingredients in pre-packed foods. 
To find out more about what you need to do, visit the Food Standards Agency's page where you'll find guidance and materials to help food businesses implement and comply with the regulations. 

The FSA also provide free Food Standards Agency food allergy online training which all staff should do. 

Also useful are two publications that you can download: 

When will I be inspected?

Once you are registered with us as a food business, an officer will come out to carry out an inspection of your business. We will aim to come out within 28 days but on occasions this may be a little longer. You can find further information here on what to expect.

What you need to know if you are a Home Caterer?

You are permitted to prepare some foods from your home domestic kitchen, depending on the risk and scale of production. Although we wouldn't expect to see the same things in a domestic kitchen as we would in a commercial one, we'd still expect the same high standards of food safety and hygiene. 

As a general principle, if you prepare high risk foods such as curries, lasagne etc. the standards required of you will be much stricter than if you only prepare low risk foods such as cakes and biscuits. 

If you're handling or preparing food at home as a commercial business it is your responsibility to ensure that the food is safe, and you must comply with current food safety legislation. 

If you're setting up or operating a food business from home, we advise you read the following guides: 

Guidance for home bakers

Further guidance on starting a food business from home can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.

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