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Running a food business

Food business registration

When you start a new food business, or take over an existing business, you must register it 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.

You are required to register your food business if you:

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

Businesses that require registration include:

  • restaurants, cafes and takeaways
  • catering businesses run from home, B&Bs, mobile catering and temporary businesses
  • marquees, food stalls, food pop-ups and food vans
  • nurseries, schools and care homes
  • distance selling, mail order and food delivery including online

If you are a food business that makes, prepares or handles meat, fish, egg or dairy products for supply to other businesses, a higher level of Approval may be required.

More information on the types of food businesses that need to register.

Register your food business

Once you have submitted your registration form:

  • you are then free to trade
  • you must notify us of any changes to your business
  • most should expect to receive an unannounced food hygiene inspection visit, the timing of which cannot be expedited. You will be assigned a Food Hygiene Rating score following the visit unless exempt.
  • others may may be provided with a questionnaire in place of a visit

Animal Feed Legislation

Businesses that make, market or use animal feed need to be registered and/or approved as animal feed businesses. You will need to complete a Feed Registration Form and send this back to

You will also need to be aware of the Feed Hygiene Regulation 183/2005.

It applies to feed for farmed livestock, but also covers feed for:

  • horses
  • pets
  • farmed fish
  • zoo and circus animals
  • creatures living in the wild

Further guidance on Animal Feed Legislation.

Last Modified: 06/04/2023 09:38:57