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Registering a food business

Businesses, in the UK, are required to get in touch with the local Council for registration of any ‘food operations’ business. The term ‘food operations’ comprises – cooking food; distributing food; handling or storing food; preparing food; selling food. It is mandatory for food businesses, in the United Kingdom, to register by law for most food trades, 28 days before opening the business. If not registered, it is considered an offence under Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs, Article 6(2) – it must be noted that registration is free!

Registering a food business in UK

Food business must list every location where the food operations are carried out – this can include home address, office address, and mobile or short-term premises such as vans and stalls. If the food business prepares, makes, or manages food that originates from animals, such as dairy products or meat, rather than direct sale to consumer, then in such a scenario the food business will be required to get an approval from the Council before undertaking the activity. Food premises comprise the following:

  • Buffet served on trains
  • Cafés
  • Delivery vehicles
  • Food served in guest houses
  • Food in hotels
  • Kitchens operational in offices
  • Market and stalls such as ice cream vans, hot dog etc.
  • Private houses used for a food business
  • Restaurants
  • Shops
  • Workforce canteens
  • Supermarkets
  • Warehouses

Additionally, voluntary associations and charities are required to register if they are offering food to the public

Rules and procedures might vary for each local Council, however, when a local Council receives an application, the business details are entered into the system – now the food business is open to examination by the general public. Proceedings of additional data provided will not be openly accessible unless they are enclosed by The Freedom of Information Act. The food business location will then be allotted to an officer to commence the first food hygiene review. During the review, the officer will cross-check the below mentioned food safety management papers:

Food premises approval (England)

If a food business is involved in managing dairy products, egg, fish or meat, then it is important to get the business reviewed and may need authorisation from the local Council. The council will choose if the food business gets authorisation or needs to register. A food business does not require any approval if it sells directly to the retailers or public such as caterers, restaurants and pubs, as long as:

  • Percentage of food is below 25% of total trade
  • The business do not manage any wild game meat foodstuffs
  • The business do not trade food to a country other than where the business is registered

With regards to fines and penalties, it is an illegal to operate a food business without approval and the individual can be put on trial for doing so

Food premises approval (Northern Ireland)

If a food business is dealing in trade of meat, dairy products, egg, or fish, then the food business owners must get the business reviewed and also, the food business might need to seek permission from the local Council. The Council will take a call on granting the food business authorisation. A food business does not require any approval if it sells directly to the retailers or public such as pubs and restaurants, caterers, as long as:

  • The business does not manage any wild game meat foodstuffs
  • Percentage of food is below 25% of total trade
  • The business does not trade food to a country other than where the business is registered

Food businesses in Northern Ireland can visit the website to file an online application or contact the Council for an application form. With regards to fines and penalties, it is an illegal to run a food business without approval and the business owner can be put on trial for doing so

Food premises approval (Scotland)

If it imperative for a food business trading in fish, dairy products, egg, and meat to seek approval for the local Council and also get the business reviewed. After evaluating all the parameters, the council will select the business for authorisation. A food business does not require any approval if it sells directly to the retailers or public such as caterers, restaurants and pubs, as long as:

  • The business do not trade food to a country other than where the business is registered
  • Percentage of food is below 25% of total trade
  • The business do not manage any wild game meat foodstuffs

With regards to fines and penalties, it is an illegal to operate a food business without approval and the business owner can even be put behind bars for doing so

Food premises approval (Wales)

If a food business is involved in managing dairy products, egg, fish or meat, then it is important to get the business reviewed and may need authorisation from the local Council. The council will choose if the food business gets authorisation or needs to register. A food business does not require any approval if it sells directly to the retailers or public such as caterers, restaurants and pubs, as long as:

  • Percentage of food is below 25% of total trade
  • The business do not manage any wild game meat foodstuffs
  • The business do not trade food to a country other than where the business is registered

With regards to fines and penalties, it is an illegal to operate a food business without approval and the individual can be put on trial for doing so

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