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Register your food business

New food businesses must register with us 28 days before trading starts.

Do I need a licence to run a food business?

With some exceptions, most food businesses don't require a licence to operate.

There is often confusion about consent to operate and this is usually coupled to a misunderstanding of some common terms such as 'licence', 'registration' and 'approval'.

To help you, here's the answers to some frequently asked questions.

Do I need a licence to start a food business?

Not in most cases unless you also intend to trade on the street, in which case a street traders licence will be required.

However, you must register your new food business with the council. Food business operators should register with us at least 28 days before trading begins. This is to allow us time to carry out a food safety inspection of your business before you open your doors to the public.

If you give us sufficient advance notice, we will do our best to arrange for an inspection of your new food business within a few working days. Please note that you mustn't start trading without speaking to us first.

A food registration form can be emailed or posted to you. Please contact us to request a form.

I've heard that food businesses need council 'approval' but what does this mean?

'Approval' is a term applied to specialist food businesses concerned with the manufacture of foods of animal origin. Examples include meat products production, shellfish processing, dairy processing and collagen manufacture.

This type of business can't trade legally without successfully undergoing an approval process conducted by the our environmental health or food safety officers.

This includes a rigorous, systematic inspection of the business's food safety practices, as well as its compliance with certain structural standards and hygiene provisions which depend on the type of approval being sought. For example different requirements apply to a shellfish processor than to a meat products manufacturer.

Page last updated:
27 Oct 2020

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