Starting a new food business
This information is designed to help you understand your legal responsibilities and help you get your business off to a good start. The following legislation will apply:
- Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013
- EC Regulation 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs
In some circumstances the following legislation may also apply:
- EC Regulation 853/2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin
Always seek advice from Wiltshire Council’s Food and Safety Team before starting any work. The team will be able to give advice regarding design of your kitchen, correct food handling techniques, food hygiene training and food safety hazard analysis. We may be able to save you money in the long term by preventing you from undertaking unnecessary work.
- Surfaces - There are many different surfaces that can be used in a kitchen for floors, walls, ceilings, and equipment. The basic requirements are that surfaces are smooth, impervious to water, non-toxic and easy to clean.
- Extraction system - Sufficient ventilation must be provided and designed to allow easy access for cleaning and maintenance. Planning permission may be required for certain systems.
- Toilets – must be clean, have a hand wash basin with hot and cold water and be well ventilated. Toilets must not lead directly into food preparation or storage rooms.
- Hand wash basin - Provide a hand wash basin in food rooms supplied with hot and cold water, soap and hand drying facilities.
- Protective clothing - Clean, protective over-clothing must be worn by food handlers. It must only be worn at work and therefore suitable changing areas must be provided away from food rooms
You must make suitable arrangements for the hygienic disposal of waste materials.
Food businesses are required to have a documented food safety procedure based on HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) principles. This requirement is designed to make food business operators focus on the activities critical to the safety of food in their business and to find ways of controlling them and where appropriate document the process.
The Food Standards Agency has developed a pack called 'Safer food better business' to help retailers and caterers to comply with the above requirements.
Further information can be found on the Food Standards Agency website
- Have you registered your business with us?
- Do the design, layout and construction of your premises meet the legal requirements? Planning Department
- Is any building work required that may require permission? Building Control
- Do you and your staff understand the principles of good food hygiene?
- Have you and your staff had food hygiene training? Food Hygiene Courses
- Have you considered what food safety problems there could be at each stage of your business?
- Have you put the necessary food safety procedures in place and are you making regular checks to make sure they are working?
- Do you need pest control advice? Pest Control
- Do you have a refuse collection service? Commercial waste
- Have you considered Health and Safety and Fire Regulations?
- Do you describe food and drink accurately?
- Have you considered allergens? Food Allergy
- Do you need to apply for a license to sell alcohol? Licensing
- Do you need to apply for Street trading consent to operate a mobile food business? Street Trading Consent
Food business registration
Food businesses are legally required* to notify their local authority of any premise used to prepare, store, transport or sell food. Registration allows local authorities to keep an up-to-date list of all those businesses in their area so they can visit them when they need to. The frequency of the visits will depend on the type of food activity.
Anyone starting a new food business must register with the local authority at least 28 days before they open.
Registration is not a ‘licence’ and does not indicate compliance with food safety law.
Registration cannot be refused.
*(Article (6) of EC Regulation 852/2004)
Food business registration formRegister your food business
Food registration guidance
If you run a food business, you must tell (or arrange for someone else to tell) the local authority about any premises you use for preparing, storing, selling or distributing food.
A ‘food business’ means any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any of the activities related to any stage of production, processing and distribution of food. EU rules apply only to such ‘undertakings’, which involve a certain degree of organisation and a certain continuity of food activities.
(Regulation 178/2002 - General Food Law)
In practice this covers a wide variety of businesses: e.g. food retailers; wholesalers; food brokers; manufacturers; cold stores; warehouses; catering outlets including restaurants takeaways, pubs and clubs; guest houses and bed and breakfast businesses; home caterers, staff canteens, care homes, schools, day nurseries, mobile food vehicles including food delivery vehicles, market and other stalls, mobile catering and ice cream vans, etc.
Food organisations that donate food such as charities and homeless shelters and people who produce food in their home for members of the public e.g. jam making, cake baking etc. will also need to be registered.
If you have any questions please contact the Food and Safety team for further information.Close
Certain types of food activity do not need to register, for example;
- Infrequent activities, such as one-off events. For example, the summer school BBQ or a ‘one-off’ charity cake sale.
- If you make foods for your friends and family.
- Village halls with kitchens let out only for use by members of the public.
- Places where the main activity is not to do with food. For example, hairdressers providing tea and biscuits.
- Places where food is only sold through vending machines.
- Voluntary or charitable organisations providing only tea, coffee, and biscuits.
- Food prepared for personal use in your own home with the help of a support worker or carer.
If you are unsure, please contact the Food and Safety Team first. If you need any advice on how to produce food safely please read the information on the food safety information for businesses page.Close
A mobile food trader is someone who trades from a self-contained movable unit, e.g. burger van, ice cream van, stall, cart, etc. A mobile trader may trade from one or multiple locations and the unit may be left in one trading location for a number of consecutive days before being moved. These locations may include trading on the highway, in a street, at markets or outdoor events such as festivals.
You must register your mobile food business with the local authority in which you store your mobile unit. For example, if you trade in Wiltshire but store your unit in Hampshire, you must register with Hampshire county council. If you trade outside of Wiltshire, but store your unit in Wiltshire, then you need to register with Wiltshire council.
If you are planning on selling food in a street, for example:
- An ice cream van
- Burger van
- Or stall
you may require a street trading consent. Please read the information provided on the street trading consent page before registering.
If you plan to trade on the highway you should first contact the Highways Department.Close
Some food businesses require approval instead of registration. Approval may be required if you produce products of animal origin (meat, fish, dairy or eggs), and supply these to other food business establishments. This is a requirement of European Community Directive 853/2004.
In general the following types of food business will require approval:
- food manufacturers producing products of animal origin
- standalone cold stores
- central production kitchens which supply caterers or retailers
- establishments that pack or wrap (or repack or re-wrap) products of animal origin such as meat fish dairy or egg products.
This is not an exhaustive list.
Further information on the approved premises process can be found on our approved premises guidance pageClose
- The name and contact details of the Food Business Operator.
- The name of your Primary or Home Authority, if you have one.
- Details about the nature and scope of your business. It is very important that you provide as much information as possible so we can understand your business.
- The date you plan to start trading.
- The type of water supply you have, for example, mains, spring, well or borehole etc.
- Planned opening time (commercial premises only).
- Mobile food traders will need to provide details about where and how they plan to trade
There is no charge for registration
In accordance with the Food Law Code of Practice Wiltshire council does not issue certificates of registration because of their potential to mislead consumers into believing that a food business has official approval.
You will receive an automated acknowledgment email of registration on submission of the online form.
The information provided on the registration form will be entered on the public register. The register of addresses and the type of food business is available to the public. Records of the other information provided will not* be publicly available but will be used by the Food and Safety team when carrying out visits and to assist in providing specific advice and guidance for different types of food businesses.
Some of the information you provide will be shared with other Wiltshire council teams or partner agencies so that they are aware of your business and can offer further advice.
*Please note that redacted copies of inspection material may be provided in response to FOI requests.
Once you have registered you will only need to notify the council if there has been:
- A change of food business operator
- A change of food activity carried on
- Closure of business,
- If the business moves address or a mobile food vehicle is stored at a different address.
Notification must be made in writing to the council or by submission of a new online registration.
If the local authority wishes to change an entry in the register relating to your business you will be given 28 days notice and an opportunity to comment on the proposed changes.Close
Approval may be required if you produce products of animal origin (meat, fish, dairy or eggs), and supply these to other food business establishments. This is a requirement of European Community Directive 853/2004.
In general the following types of food business will require approval:
- Food manufacturers producing products of animal origin
- Standalone cold stores
- Central production kitchens which supply caterers or retailers
- Establishments that pack or wrap (or repack or re-wrap) products of animal origin such as meat fish dairy or egg products.
This is not an exhaustive list.
These types of premises are required by law to be approved by the local authority and generally their products must display a health mark or be accompanied by a health certificate. Each local authority in the country (and places across the EU) has a unique code which ensures that the origin of the food can always be established.
Once approved, details of the premises together with information relating to types of foods produced are forwarded to the Food Standards Agency to be kept on a central EU register.Close
Food premises that require approval must meet additional requirements above the general requirements for food premises as they usually involve more high risk operations. If your food premise requires approval you will need to meet the hygiene standards set out in the following regulations:
Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 Hygiene of foodstuffs
Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 Hygiene rules for food of animal origin
If any part of your business requires approval you will not be able to operate this part of your process until you have completed the application form and you have received confirmation of your approval or conditional approval for a certain time period.Close
There are a number of exemptions from the approval process which are briefly explained below:
If there is an element of retail (selling direct to individuals) involved in your business and you intend to supply any other retailers or caterers (wholesale) you may be exempt from approval if the supply of the food of animal origin is marginalised, localised and restricted.
Marginal - a small part of the establishments business meaning up to one quarter of the business in terms of food.
Localised - sale within the supplying establishments own county plus the greater of either the neighbouring county or counties or 30 miles/50 km from the boundary of the supplying establishment’s county.
Restricted - concerning only certain types of products being made or establishments being supplied.
Should your food business be exempt from the approval process then you will still need to register your food business with Wiltshire Council.Close
The sale of unstamped/ungraded eggs to catering or retail premises is not permitted. Catering or retail premises should not use unstamped/ungraded eggs from any source other than their own hens.
If you handle hens eggs sold to shops, catering establishments, village shops, pubs, bakeries and other similar outlets, the eggs must be graded as ‘Class A’.
Eggs can only be graded in a council approved and Egg Marketing Inspector authorised packing centre.
The local authority is responsible for ‘approving’ egg packing centres and ensuring they meet the requirements of the above food hygiene regulations. The same packing centres must also be ‘authorised’ by the EMI. The EMI is responsible for checking that the grading processes meet the Egg Marketing Standards Regulations.
You will need approval as a packing centre by Wiltshire council if:
- You grade eggs and supply these to wholesalers, retailers, caterers and other similar outlets.
You will NOT need approval as a packing centre by Wiltshire council if:
- You produce eggs and sell ungraded eggs from the farm gate, through your own farm shop or on a local market stall or your own bed and breakfast.
- You produce eggs and pack them for supply to an approved packing centre for grading.
You must register with EMI if any of the following apply (regardless of if you need approval);
- If you have 350 or more hens;
- If you have 50 or more hens and any of your eggs are sold at local public markets;
- If you grade eggs.
More information on the above can be found on the following links:
To apply for approval you should download and complete an approval application form. This will need to be returned to the council together with the necessary documentation. If you are applying for approval in relation to eggs you must contact the Food Team first.
Once your application has been received an officer will be in contact with you and arrange to visit you at your premises. The officer will look in depth at your process and documentation and discuss any work you need to do in order to comply with the regulations.
If your business has achieved the required standards approval will be granted and you will be issued with a unique approval number which makes up part of the of the identification mark that you will need to apply to your products.
If you are unsure whether your intended business activity will require approval you should contact the Food & Safety Team on 01225 770411Close