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Starting a food business

This guidance document is for anyone who sells or distributes food for public consumption. If you sell, cook, store, handle, prepare or distribute food for the public, you may be considered a food business

Last updated: 9 February 2023
Last updated: 9 February 2023
This page provides guidance on how you can get ready to start your food business. Please read all the pages in this guide to ensure you have the information you need to run your food business.

Overview

If you sell, cook, store, handle, prepare or distribute, you may be considered a food business and will need to register with your local authority.

This includes food businesses trading: 

  • from physical customer-facing premises
  • from home
  • from a mobile unit or temporary premises
  • online (for example via social media or a website) or through distance selling (distance selling means any selling that happens without face-to-face contact with the consumer)

Who needs to register

You will need to register with your local authority if you:

  • sell food
  • cook food
  • store or handle food
  • prepare food
  • distribute food 

      Registration will apply to all types businesses who sell food and or drink, regardless of where they operate from. It includes businesses trading from home, a  mobile unit, or temporary premises such as a stall of van and applies if you only sell food or drink online.    

      Companies involved with food distribution, brokerage or food supply that operate from an office should also register as a food business. This applies even if no food is kept at the premises.

      If you operate in more than one location, you need to register each premise with the local authority in which they are located. If you are un-sure if you need to register or require further advice, please contact your local authority in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. 

        Guidance on how to register your food business with your local authority

        When you start a new food business, or take over an existing business, you must register with your local authority. You should do this at least 28 days before you start trading.

        Registration of your food business is free and can’t be refused. If you are already trading and have not registered yet, you need to register as soon as possible as this is a legal requirement.

        If you supply food regularly, for free or otherwise, to the public, then you need to register as a food business. 

        Register your food business on the food business registration portal

        Anyone who sells, cooks, stores, handles, prepares or distributes food for the public needs to register as a food business, however there are also other guidelines you need to follow to make sure you're running your business correctly. 

        When to register

        You are required to register at least 28 days before trading. We recommend that you do not register too early, but that you wait until 28 days before you are ready to start your operations. Use our checklist to make sure that you have considered everything before you register. 

        If you cease trading at any point, you need to inform your local authority.

        Selling food from customer-facing premises

        If you are trading from physical customer-facing premises, please make sure you also read our guidance on and setting up your food business premises. You may also want to read our guidance on selling food for delivery

        Selling food from home

        If you are trading from home, please make sure you read our guidance on starting a food business safely and starting a food business from your home.

        Selling food from mobile or temporary premises

        If you are trading from a mobile unit or temporary premises please make sure you also read our guidance on starting a food business safely and setting up your food business premises

        Selling food online

        If you are selling food online (for example via social media or a website) or through distance selling (distance selling means any selling that happens without face-to-face contact with the consumer) please read our guidance on starting a food business safely, setting up your food business premises, and selling food for delivery

        Registering as a childminder

        If you provide food with your childminding business in England, the details you provide to Ofsted or your childminder agency will also be used to register you as a food business with your local authority. You will not have to register separately.

        You must comply with food safety and hygiene regulations if you provide food and drink for children or babies including:

        • meals
        • snacks
        • drinks (apart from mains tap water)
        • reheated food provided by a parent/carer
        • food that you cut up and prepare

        Childminder registration requirements differ in Wales and Northern Ireland if you provide food with your childminding business. Contact your local authority for more information.

        You can find more information on food safety management for registered childminders or childcarers in our Safer Food Better Business Pack.

        FSA Explains

        Checklist: things to consider before starting a food business

        Planning

        Having a business plan is important to running a successful food business. Further guidance on how to write a business plan, including examples of business plans are available online.

        Registration 

        Once you are ready to start your food business, you must register with your local authority at least 28 days before you begin trading.

        Permissions 

        If you are running your business from home, there are certain requirements that need to be met. For more information go to our guidance on starting a food business from home.

        Register as self employed 

        If you are starting a food business, you need to inform HMRC that you are self-employed. To get more advice on the financial aspects of becoming a food business owner, head to our additional help and support

        Set up food safety procedures

        Food businesses must have food safety management procedures in place. Read our guidance on starting your food business safely.

        Consider food safety training

        It is important to demonstrate the highest standards of food preparation, handling, storage and serving. For more information read our guidance on starting your food business safely.

        Practice good food hygiene

        Good food hygiene is essential to make sure that the food you serve is safe to eat. For more information read our guidance on starting your food business safely.

        Prepare your premises to run a food business

        Your food business premises, which could be your home, must be kept clean and maintained in good repair and condition. For more information read our guidance on setting up your food business premises.

        Selling food online and delivering it safely 

        You must ensure that all food is delivered to consumers in a way that ensures that it does not become unsafe or unfit to eat. More information on safe delivery can be found in selling food for delivery.

        Provide allergen information and follow labelling rules 

        Food businesses of all sizes are required to provide allergen information and follow labelling rules as set out in food law. More information on allergen management can be found in our guidance on starting your food business safely.

        Was the information on this page helpful? Give us your feedback.

        This page provides details on the requirements you must consider when starting a food business. Please read all the pages in this guide to ensure you have the information you need to run your food business.

        There are several requirements you need to consider when starting a food business. These are: 

        Risk assessment

        When starting a food business, you should carry out a risk assessment. The Health and Safety Executive has issued guidance on how to carry out a risk assessment and what to include.

        Food businesses must use Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedures or a HACCP-based Food Safety Management System such as the Safer Food Better Business Guide

        The packs contain information on: 

        • personal hygiene
        • pest control
        • cross-contamination
        • cleaning 

        Food hygiene

        Good food hygiene is essential to make sure that the food you serve is safe to eat. When you are setting up a food business, you need to introduce ways of working that will help you ensure hygiene standards are right from the start.

        The four main areas to remember for good food hygiene are the 4Cs:

        Food hygiene training

        Wherever food is served, it is important to demonstrate the highest standards of food preparation, handling, storage and serving. You will need to demonstrate that you have been adequately trained in food hygiene.

        It is not compulsory for you to have a food hygiene certificate, but if you are looking to start a food business, we recommend that you pursue a food hygiene qualification to improve your knowledge.

        The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health provides guidance on the different levels of food hygiene certificate available. Other accredited training providers are available. Your local authority will be able to advise on which course is most suitable for your needs.

        Allergen management

        Food businesses are required by law to provide allergen information and follow labelling rules.

        The law says that you must:

        • provide allergen information to your customers
        • handle and manage food allergens effectively in food preparation

        You need to tell customers if any food you provide contains any of the 14 allergens that are required to be declared as allergens by food law.

        This also applies to any additives, or any other items present in the final product, such as garnishes or cake decorations.

        There are a number of ways in which allergen information can be provided to your customers.

        Our allergen guidance for food businesses will help you to decide which is the best method for your business. 

        You can take steps to provide allergen-safe meals by:

        • cleaning utensils before each use
        • regularly washing hands thoroughly
        • storing ingredients and prepared foods separately
        • labelling takeaway meals clearly

        It is important for food businesses to take steps to avoid cross-contamination in food preparation. 

        This protects customers with a food allergy. We have further guidance available on how to provide allergen information in food delivery.

        We provide free online food allergy training which can be used to learn more about managing allergens in a kitchen, as well as how to cater for customers with food allergies.

        Traceability

        Traceability rules help keep track of food in the supply chain. They ensure that efficient and accurate withdrawals and recalls of unsafe foods from the market can be made in the event of any food safety problems.

        You must keep records of:

        • all the suppliers that provide you with food or any food ingredients
        • any businesses you supply with food or food ingredients

        All your records need to be kept up-to-date and always be available for inspections

        Specific details of what you should include in your traceability records can be found in managing food safety.

        Avoiding food crime

        When sourcing ingredients, only purchase food from reputable suppliers. Ensure that you are fully aware of where the food has come from.

        Be vigilant when approached by businesses you have not previously had dealings with. Determine where the food has originated from before purchasing anything.

        Check whether the price is in line with the current market price. Prices of products fluctuate, but be wary if suppliers are offering products at a lower price than usual.

        Find out more on food crime in our Food crime - guidance for businesses.

        You can report suspected food crime to the National Food Crime Unit. 

        Health and safety

        If you have five or more employees, you must have a written health and safety policy that describes the arrangements in place.

        The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has developed H&S ABC – An easy guide to health & safety to help small and medium-sized businesses understand health and safety.

        FSA Explains

        Starting your food business safely checklist 

        Carry out a risk assessment

        You should carry out a risk assessment and have a safety procedure in place for your food business. 

        Provide staff with food hygiene training

        You will need to demonstrate that you have been adequately trained in food hygiene

        Ensure you are complying with allergy law

        Food businesses are required by law to provide allergen information and follow labelling rules.

        Ensure you have adequate traceability records

        Specific details of what you should include in your traceability records can be found in managing food safety.

        Avoid food crime

        Read our Food crime - guidance for businesses. You can report suspected food crime to the National Food Crime Unit. 

        Ensure you have the correct health and safety procedures in place

        The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has developed H&S ABC – An easy guide to health & safety.

        Was the information on this page helpful? Give us your feedback. 

        This page provides information on how to choose the right premises and what facilities you need to provide in your food business. Please read all the pages in this guide to ensure you have the information you need to run your food business.

        Choosing the right premises

        The premises you choose for your business, whether commercial or in your home, must:

        • comply with the necessary regulations
        • allow you to prepare food safely

        You must keep your premises clean, maintained and in good condition. Your premises must allow you to follow good food hygiene practices, including protection against contamination and pest control.

        Tips
        When you are choosing new premises, or making changes to premises, it’s a good idea to ask your local authority for advice.

        The following rules apply to your whole premises, not just the areas used for preparing food.

         

        Handwashing facilities and toilets

        You must have enough washbasins for everyone working in the business to wash their hands with hot and cold running water and materials for cleaning hands and drying them hygienically.

        Changing facilities

        You must provide adequate facilities for anyone working in the business to change their clothes, where necessary.

        Other requirements

        Your premises must have adequate ventilation, lighting and drainage.

        Food preparation areas

        The following rules apply to rooms where food is prepared.

        Floors and walls

        Floors and walls must be:

        • maintained in a good condition
        • easy to clean
        • disinfected
        • smooth, hard-wearing, washable and in a good state of repair

        Ceilings

        Ceilings should be:

        • in good condition
        • easy to clean to prevent dirt from building up
        • free from condensation and mould
        • free from flaking paint or plaster

        Windows and doors

        Windows and any other openings (such as doors) must be constructed in a way that prevents dirt from building up. If they open to the outside, they must be fitted with insect-proof screens that can be easily removed for cleaning.

        Doors must be easy to:

        • clean
        • disinfect  

        Surfaces

        Surfaces (including surfaces of equipment) in areas where food is handled, particularly those that are touched by food, must be:

        • maintained in a good condition
        • easy to clean
        • disinfected

        Facilities for cleaning equipment

        Your premises must have adequate facilities for cleaning, disinfecting and storing utensils, including equipment. The facilities must have an adequate supply of hot and cold water.

        Facilities for washing food

        Separate sinks must be provided, where necessary, for washing food and cleaning equipment in food preparation areas.

        Every sink must have an adequate supply of hot and cold water for washing food and be of drinking quality. These facilities must be kept clean and be disinfected.

        Equipment

        All items, fittings and equipment that food touches must be:

        • kept in good order, repair and condition
        • cleaned effectively and be disinfected frequently enough to avoid any risk of contamination 

        You can find more information on maintenance in our Safer food better business for caterers guide.

        Food waste

        All food businesses must dispose of waste securely and properly

        To prevent your kitchen or any neighbouring properties from being flooded with waste and sewage you should put all food waste in the bin rather than down the sink and use commercial sink strainers to stop fat, oil and grease (FOG) and small bits of food waste entering the sewer network. 

        You should dry wipe plates and pans with kitchen roll before washing them and install grease management equipment such as a grease trap or a grease removal unit. This equipment must be maintained appropriately to remove any residual FOG going down the drain. More advice on grease management can be found in this guide from the Foodservice Equipment Association.

        Not only can blockages flood your premises, but you could also risk prosecution if your business disposes of FOG carelessly. Contact your Local Authority to check the correct way to dispose of waste responsibly.

        You must also remove food waste and other rubbish from rooms containing food as quickly as possible to avoid it building up and attracting pests.

        The three main groups of pests that are encountered in food businesses are:

        • rodents - rats and mice
        • insects - cockroaches, beetles, ants and flies
        • birds - pigeons etc

        You can find more information on pest control in our Safer food, better business for caterers pack.

        What to look out for and what to do to keep pests out of your business.

        Fire safety

        You must carry out a fire risk assessment at your premises and take fire safety precautions to help protect you, your staff and customers.

        The type of precautions you need to have will depend on the outcome of the fire risk assessment of the premises.

        If you are planning to adapt your premises, it is a good idea to get fire safety advice before you start the work. You can get advice from your local fire authority.

        Food hygiene rating

        The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme gives businesses a rating out of 5 so that consumers can make informed choices about where to buy and eat food.

        The local authority will inspect your food business and publish the rating.

        All businesses should be able to achieve the top rating of 5. If you do not, the food safety officer will outline the improvements that you need to make and will advise on how to achieve a higher rating.

        The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has variations between EnglandWales and Northern Ireland.

        FSA Explains

        Choosing the right premises checklist 

        Handwashing facilities and toilets

        You must have enough washbasins for everyone working in the business to wash their hands.

        Changing facilities

        You must provide adequate facilities for anyone working in the business to change their clothes, where necessary.

        Other requirements

        Your premises must have adequate ventilation, lighting and drainage.

        Floors and walls in food preparation areas 

        Floors and walls must be in good condition, easy to clean, disinfected, smooth, hard wearing and washable. 

        Ceilings in food preparation areas 

        Ceilings should be easy to clean, in good condition, free from mould, condensation, flaking paint or plaster. 

        Windows and doors

        Windows and doors must not allow dirt to build up. If they open to the outside, they must be fitted with insect-proof screens that can be easily cleaned.

        Surfaces

        Surfaces (including surfaces of equipment) in areas where food is handled must be maintained in a good condition, easy to clean and disinfected to avoid contamination.

        Facilities for cleaning equipment

        Your premises must have adequate facilities for cleaning, disinfecting and storing utensils, including equipment to avoid contamination.

        Facilities for washing food

        Separate sinks must be provided for washing food and cleaning equipment in food preparation areas.

        Equipment

        All items, fittings and equipment that food touches must be kept in good order, repair and condition and cleaned effectively to avoid any risk of contamination.

        Food waste

        You must remove food waste and other rubbish and have adequate facilities for storing and disposing of food. 

        Prevent pests

        Find out more about pest control in our Safer food better business guide.

        Fire safety

        You must carry out a fire risk assessment at your premises. You can get advice on this from your local fire authority.

        Get ready for your food hygiene inspection

        The local authority will inspect your food business and publish the rating.

         

         

        This page provides specific information for those running a food business from home. Please read all the pages in this guide to ensure you have the information you need to run your food business.

        This guidance is for individuals starting food businesses from home. However, you must also read our guidance on getting ready to start your food business and starting your food business safely.

        We also have guidance on selling food for delivery.

        While you may not define yourself as a business, if you are providing food on a regular and organised basis, you are a food business under food law. 

        Once you have registered as a food business, local authority officers will make arrangements to visit your home to conduct a food hygiene inspection. This inspection is to assess whether your food preparation areas and food safety procedures are suitable for running a food business.

        Tips
        Remember, if you supply food regularly to the public, for free or otherwise, you need to register as a food business. 

        Managing food waste

        All food businesses, including home-based businesses, must dispose of waste securely and properly

        To prevent your kitchen from being flooded with waste and sewage you should put all food waste in the bin rather than down the sink and use sink strainers to stop fat, oil and grease (FOG) and small bits of food waste entering the sewer network.

        Instead of pouring any cooking fats and oils down the sink, these can be collected in a container like a jam jar or yoghurt pot. The fat, oil and grease solidifies as it cools down. Once it is solid, you should put it in the bin. Any liquid foods like gravy can be soaked up using kitchen roll or newspaper and then also put into the bin.

        It is important to dispose of FOG in this way because not only can blockages flood your home, but you could also risk prosecution if your business disposes of FOG carelessly. Contact your Local Authority to check the correct way to dispose of waste responsibly.

        Practical requirements for setting up a food business from home

        Register as self-employed

        When you start a food business from home you need to inform HMRC that you are self-employed. This is to alert them that you will pay tax through Self-Assessment. You need to register as self-employed when starting a food business, even if you are part-time or have another job.

        You should register at GOV.UK to verify your account and confirm the specifics of your food business. Failure to register may result in a fine.

        HMRC has further guidance on working for yourself and how to check if you should set up as a limited company instead.

        Running a business from home

        The government has guidance for running a business from home. This includes advice on:

        • getting permission from your mortgage provider or landlord
        • getting permission from the local council
        • insurance
        • tax allowances
        • business rates
        • health and safety
        FSA Explains

        Starting a food business from home checklist 

        Register with your local authority

        You should register with your local authority at least 28 days before you start your food business. 

        Check you have the appropriate permissions 

        If you are running your business from home, or a domestic premises, you need to ensure you have the appropriate permissions in place.

        Register as self-employed

        When starting a food business, you need to inform HMRC that you are self-employed. 

        Contact your local authority for advice

        Your local authority’s website may have helpful guidance relating to starting your food business.

        Set up food safety procedures

        You should have a safety procedure in place for your food business. 

        Consider food safety training

        Contact your local authority’s Food Safety or Environmental Health team for advice on relevant food safety training courses.

        Practice good food hygiene

        Good food hygiene is essential to make sure that the food you serve is safe to eat. 

        Prepare your premises to run a food business

        Your food business premises, which could be your home, must be kept clean and maintained in good repair and condition. 

        Ensure you manage waste correctly

        All food businesses, including home-based businesses, must dispose of waste securely and properly

        Learn about selling food without face-to-face contact and delivering it safely 

        More information on selling without face to face contact and via delivery can be selling food for delivery

        Provide allergen information and follow labelling rules 

        Food businesses of all sizes are required to provide allergen information.

        This page contains information for businesses who sell food for delivery, either without face-to-face contact with the consumer, or from a takeaway premises. Please read all the pages in this guide to ensure you have the information you need to run your food business.

        Selling food without face to face contact with the consumer 

        When you sell food without face to face contact with the consumer, the food you sell is subject to UK law. The main law on this type of selling is the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.

        This law applies to all goods sold without face to face contact with the consumer, not just food.

        Methods of selling include:

        • online via your own website or an external site like Deliveroo
        • text messaging
        • phone calls
        • interactive TV
        • mail order
        • via social media, for example Facebook Marketplace 

        As with any food business, you need to register your food business 28 days before opening. The environmental health department can also provide advice on compliance with food safety and food hygiene laws.

        Selling food online

        The below guidance provides information for businesses selling food online, which outlines legal requirements and safety considerations.

        We have also produced a guide for local authorities when dealing with businesses selling food over the internet.

        England, Northern Ireland and Wales

        England, Northern Ireland and Wales

        England, Northern Ireland and Wales

        The law covers:

        • information the seller needs to provide customers before making the sale
        • rights to cancel the contract
        • recovery of sums paid on cancellation
        • restoration of goods by the consumer after cancellation
        • delivery of food and drink to a consumer’s residence or workplace

        If you are selling via the internet the UK Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002 will also apply to your business.

        More information about online and selling without face-to-face consumer contact can be found on the GOV.UK website.

        References to EU legislation in FSA guidance

        Directly applicable EU legislation no longer applies in GB. EU legislation retained when the UK exited the EU became assimilated law on 1 January 2024, published on legislation.gov.uk. References to any legislation in FSA guidance with ‘EU’ or ‘EC’ in the title (e.g. Regulation (EC) 178/2002) should now be regarded as assimilated law where applicable to GB. References to ‘Retained EU Law’ or ‘REUL’ should now be regarded as references to assimilated law. 

        For businesses moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, information on the Windsor Framework is available on GOV.UK. 

        The Windsor Framework was adopted by the UK and EU on 24 March 2023. The Framework provides a unique set of arrangements to support the flow of agrifood retail products from Great Britain (GB) to Northern Ireland (NI), allowing GB standards for public health in relation to food, marketing and organics to apply for pre-packed retail goods moved via the NI Retail Movement Scheme (NIRMS).

        Allergen information for food deliveries

        Food businesses need to tell customers if food they provide contains any of the specified allergens as an ingredient. These 14 allergens have been chosen because they are the most common and dangerous.

        Consumers may be allergic or intolerant to other ingredients, but you are only legally required to provide information for these 14 allergens.

        The 14 allergens are: celery, cereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters), eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs (such as mussels and oysters), mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million) and tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts).

        If food is sold online or by phone through distance selling, allergen information must be provided at two stages in the order process.

        You must provide allergen information:

        • before the purchase of the food is completed - this can be in writing (on a website, catalogue or menu) or orally (by phone)
        • when the food is delivered - this can be in writing (allergen stickers on food or an enclosed copy of a menu) or orally (by delivery driver)

        It is important for food businesses to take steps to avoid cross-contamination in food preparation. This protects customers with a food allergy.

        There are a number of actions you can take to prevent cross-contamination with allergens in your food business. These include: 

        • cleaning utensils before each usage
        • regularly washing hands thoroughly
        • storing ingredients and prepared foods separately
        • keeping ingredients that contain allergens separate from other ingredients
        • takeaway meals should be labelled clearly so customers know which dishes are suitable for those with an allergy

        Food delivery protocol

        If you are delivering food orders, all food must be delivered to consumers in a way that ensures that it does not become unsafe or unfit to eat. 

        If you use a domestic vehicle (or a non-food industry business vehicle) to transport your food orders, there are particular hygiene requirements and vehicle specifications that should be met.

        Food-grade packaging

        If you deliver food orders, it is important to select appropriate food-grade packaging. 

        For example, packaging materials may be required to be liquid or fat repellent to prevent leaks, or to stop paper becoming soaked through.

        Without this type of packaging, chemical contaminants or germs could transfer onto the food. Well-fitting lids or closures will also minimise any hygiene or spillage risks.

        Temperature

        Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool while they are being transported. The food may need to be packed in an insulated box with a coolant gel or in a cool bag. 

        Food sent by post needs to be sent to consumers in packaging that is strong enough to remain intact. Once sent, the food should be delivered as quickly as possible, ideally overnight.

        When the order is made, the consumer must be told when they can expect delivery.

        FSA Explains

        Selling food for delivery checklist

        Register your food business 

        You need to register your food business 28 days before opening. 

        Check you’re complying with  the law 

        The main law on distance selling is the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. If you are selling via the internet the UK Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002 will also apply to your business

        Provide customers with allergen information

        Tell customers if food you provide contains any of the specified allergens as an ingredient. You must provide allergen information before the purchase of the food is completed and when the food is delivered.

        Prevent cross-contamination 

        Take steps to avoid cross-contamination with allergens

        Meet vehicle hygiene requirements

        Check your transportation vehicle for food meets hygiene requirements and vehicle specifications.

        Use appropriate packaging

        Select appropriate food-grade packaging for deliveries. Foods that need refrigerating must be kept cool while they are being transported, for example in a cool bag. 

        Food sent by post needs to be sent to consumers in packaging that is strong enough to remain intact.

        Keep customers informed

        The consumer must be told when they can expect delivery of their order. Food should be delivered as quickly as possible, ideally overnight.

        Was the information on this page helpful? Give us your feedback. 

        This page contains guidance for changing the way your food business operates. Please read all the pages in this guide to ensure you have the information you need to run your food business.

        If you are changing the operating model for your food business, such as selling food online, selling food from a mobile unit, or diversifying your business, it is important to understand the additional safety risks this may introduce.

        This guidance on changing your business model includes the steps you need to take to address these risks, and how to communicate these to your customers effectively.

        Inform your local authority

        You must make sure your local authority has up to date information about your food business.

        You should inform your local authority of any changes to your registerable food activities. This includes the introduction of a new delivery or takeaway service.

        The local authority may not need to inspect your new business operation, but should be informed of any changes that may introduce additional risks into your food production processes.

        You should tell your local authority if:

        • you decide not to start trading
        • you are planning to make significant changes to your business model
        • you plan to close your food business.

        Risk assessment

        Food businesses which have made changes should review and, update their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedures, or HACCP-based Food Safety Management System (such as Safer food, better business, or the Safe catering pack in Northern Ireland.) 

        You should check that the changes you have made have not introduced any additional hazards which you are not controlling.

        You must:

        • document any changes you make 
        • document the start-up checks you undertake

        Your risk assessment should consider the impact of these changes to your usual hygiene and food safety practices.

        You should make all staff aware of changes to your Food Safety Management Systems, and make sure they receive training when processes are changed. 

        Was the information on this page helpful? Give us your feedback. 

        This page contains additional help and resources for those who sell or distribute food to the public. Please read all the pages in this guide to ensure you have the information you need to run your food business.

        Was the information in this guide helpful? Give us your feedback

        Your business can get advice on:

        You may have other responsibilities depending on what your food business does.

        Make sure you check:

        • licences or permits for example to sell food or to trade in the street
        • insurance
        • your employees have the right to work in the UK. All employers in the UK have a responsibility to prevent illegal working. You do this by conducting simple right to work checks before you employ someone.

        There are also rules you must follow if you’re:

        England

        GOV.UK provides useful information and resources for starting a business.

        For general business guidance you can also contact the national Business Support Helpline service. Additionally, you can find free support, advice and sources of finance through your local ‘growth hub’

        Wales

        Business Wales is a free service that provides impartial, independent support and advice to people starting, running and growing a business in Wales. 

        Northern Ireland

        nibusinessinfo.co.uk is a free service offered by Invest Northern Ireland, is the official online channel for business advice and support for starting a business.

        Remember: 

        When you start a new food business or take over an existing business, you must register with your local authority