Start a new food business, registration to sell food?

How Do I Register?

All food businesses must be registered with their local authority at least 28 days before they start trading. Registration is free.

Some food businesses will need to have written approval from us before they can operate, generally for manufacture and wholesale of food products of animal orgin. The approval process requires more detailed documention than the registration form. The link below provides guidance on the approval process.

If, after checking the section below and your business does not need approval, then you will need to register with the team. Registration can be done by completing the Online Food Business Registration Form or by pdf icon Downloading and Completing the Printable Registration Form [172kb] .

Once we have received your registration document, we will enter the information onto our database. Following receipt of your registration form we will schedule a visit to your premises to review your food safety documents, safety controls, kitchen equipment and structure. Registration is not a prior approval process so once you have registered, if you are confident you have all the safety controls in place you can commence trading. You do not need to wait for the visit before you start trading, however you must ensure the food you are selling is safe and that you are fully complying with food law.

Where Do Mobile Premises Register From?If your business will be operating from mobile equipment, such as a van, then you will need to register from the place where the equipment or van is usually kept overnight, such as your home. We have further information for mobile food businesses on our Mobile Food Traders page.

 pdf icon Food Hygiene a Guide for Business [489kb]

Does your business need a written approval?

To check whether your business needs to be approved, please check our starting a new food business Food Registration page. Businesses that operate within the Torridge District and require approval must obtain a written approval from us before they can trade.

Approved premises will be issued with a unique identifying number that must be displayed in an oval shape on the packaging of all products they produce. The unique number we provide you with must be displayed within an oval shape and contain the letters 'UK' and 'EC'. The purpose of this process is to allow for effective traceability of your products.

Planning And Setting Up Your Premises

Before you open your business, make sure you have the necessary planning consents, contact Planning for advise. If building works are needed you may also need to Building Control to ensure the works comply with the legal and safety requirements.

Waste Collection And Disposal

wheelie binBusinesses must have arrangements in place for the collection of the commercial waste. This is usually done via private commercial waste management companies. You can find contact details for such companies via the Yellow Pages or Thompson phone directories, as well as via search engines, online directories or business web sites.  


We strongly recommend all food handlers undertake the traditional level 2 or equivalent food hygiene training course. This is usually done over a day course and delivered by an experienced food hygiene trainer. Staff must be fully competent in temperature controls, the prevention of cross contamination, allergen awareness and food poisoning etc. In addition The Food Standards Agency, Safer Food Better Business pack can be used to train staff. If you have someone in your organisation that is fully competent in food safety matters commensurate with your business activity they could also provide training, the process should be documented to provide inspectors with evidence. Inspectors routinely ask questions to check food safety knowledge.

Food rooms structural requirements

Food preparation areas must be maintained in good repair, kept clean, and be designed in such a way that allows for good hygiene practices and maintenance to take place.

Floors, Walls, and Contact Surfaces
All surfaces need to be smooth, non-absorbent, in good repair, and capable of being effectively cleaned and disinfected. Unsealed wood does not comply, but wooden surfaces may be sealed with a cleanable paint or other sealed finish.

Ceilings need to be designed and constructed to prevent the build up of condensation, dirt, mould, and prevent the shedding of particles (Such as flaking paintwork). Please also refer to the lighting and ventilation sections below.

Windows and Other Openings
These need to be constructed in a way that prevents the accumulation of dirt and allows for cleaning to take place. Windows or openings that can be opened to the outside environment should be fitted with pest-proof screens that are secure but can be easily removed for cleaning. Where it is not possible to pest-proof the window or opening, and contamination of food could result from its' being open, the window must stay shut.

Doors and Other Means of Access
These must be easy to clean and where necessary, disinfect. As with walls and other contact surfaces, doors must have a smooth, non-absorbent, finish that is in good repair and capable of being effectively cleaned and disinfected. Unsealed wood does not comply, but wooden surfaces may be sealed with a cleanable paint or other sealed finish.

Any equipment that comes into contact with food must be kept in good repair and be made in a way that allows it to be cleaned thoroughly and, where necessary, to be disinfected. Equipment must be kept clean.

Facilities for Washing Equipment
Facilities for the cleaning and disinfecting of work tools and equipment must be provided. Suitable equipment will include sinks with a supply of both hot and cold running water, or an appropriately-mixed source of running water, as well as any necessary detergents or disinfectants for the cleaning of equipment, sterilising sinks, or dishwashers that allow for such cleaning to take place. Cleaning chemical residues should not be left on equipment or surfaces.

Drying of Equipment
Equipment that is used to dry other equipment must not itself cause contamination. Space should be provided to allow equipment or utensils to air dry effectively.

Facilities for Washing Food
Separate sinks must be provided for food preparation and equipment washing. The sinks must be provided with a supply of both hot and cold running water which is of drinking quality. In smaller operations, one sink may be used for both equipment and food washing, provided that both activities can be done effectively and without prejudice to food safety.

Wash Hand Basins

An adequate number of wash hand basins must be provided, suitably located and designated for cleaning hands. Washbasins for cleaning hands must be provided with hot and cold running water, materials for cleaning hands and for hygienic drying. Where necessary, the facilities for washing food are to be separate from the hand washing facility. We recommend you fit lever taps or non-hand operable systems.  We recommend you provide liquid anti-bacterial soap and paper towels. alternatively roller paper cabinet towels, warm air dryers, or washable fabric towels are acceptable. Where washable fabric towels are provided, these must be freshly laundered daily to prevent them from becoming a source of contamination. It is very important to reduce the risk of re contaminating hands when touching taps, accepted method are to get another food handler to switch the tap on and off for you if you have been handling raw meat etc, turn off the tap with a paper towel or use a plug and fill the sink with hot water draining when finished. Taps handles should be sanitised frequently using a commercial sanitiser marked with BS1276 or BS13697.

Sanitary Facilities
An adequate number of flush lavatories must be available and it must be connected to an effective drainage system. Lavatories must not lead directly into rooms in which food is handled. Two doors should provide an intervening, ventilated, space between the WC and the food room. Food should not be stored in this space. pdf icon Sanitary Standards adopted in Torridge [250kb]

Under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, businesses that provide seating for up to 15 people should provide at least a single, shared use toilet for their customers. Businesses that provide seating for 16 or more people should have at least one separate facility each for male and female use. The greater the number of people served by a business, the greater the number of conveniences that should be provided.

Ventilation may be provided by either natural or mechanical means. However, natural ventilation in rooms where food is cooked will only be suitable in small premises where there are limited appliances that do not produce grease and effluvia. Mechanically-drawn air into food preparation rooms must not be drawn from dirty areas such as waste storage areas or rooms used for dirty processes such as the pot 7 equipment wash up room. Whichever means of ventilation is used, it must be suitable and sufficient for the needs of the business, ensuring that heat and / or humidity do not build up to levels that could compromise the safety of the food. Ambient temperatures should be below 25°C. All parts of the ventilation system must be accessible for cleaning. Where gas appliances are used they must maintained in a safe condition under Regulation 35, Gas safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998, emergency cut off valves must be easy to access without leaning over appliances. You can find a gas engineer at www.gassaferegister.co.uk.

Adequate lighting must be provided to enable safe food handling, effective cleaning, and the monitoring of cleaning standards. Recommended illumination levels should be 150 lux in store rooms and 500 lux in food preparation areas. Glass lights should be fitted with shatterproof diffusers in areas where open food is handled.

Food Safety Management

Once your food business premises are running, you will need to design and implement a food safety management system. A food safety management system entails looking at your food business and identifying any steps in the process where a failure could result in the production of unsafe food. Where these steps occur, you must implement measures to monitor the food and, where control is lost, measures to either bring the food back under control (For instance, heat the food again), or to dispose of it to prevent it being put into the food chain.

SFBB PackThe Food Standards Agency (FSA) produce a piece of guidance known as "Safer Food, Better Business" which can help you to produce a food safety management system. This guidance can be downloaded from www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/caterers/sfbb, alternatively you can purchase a pack, using a debit or credit card only, for £8.00 from our reception at Riverbank House, Bideford or by calling 01237 428809 for a pack to be posted out at a charge of £10.00.

Safer food better business    Food hygiene training

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Links to   safer work better business..