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Food establishments

How do I start a food business?

When you start a new food business, or take over an existing business, you must register the business at least 28 days before you start trading.

Registration is free and cannot be refused. If you are already trading and have not yet registered, you need to register as soon as possible as this is a legal requirement.

Below are examples of types of operations that require registration. This list is not exhaustive:

  • restaurants, cafes and takeaways
  • retail shops selling food
  • making food and selling from your home
  • catering businesses run from home, mobile catering including marquees, food stalls, food pop-ups and food vans
  • nurseries, schools and care homes
  • distance selling, mail order and food delivery, including food supplied online or through social media channels or marketplaces
  • fishing vessels

Once you have registered, you must make sure the information is kept up to date. You should tell us if you:

  • decide not to start trading
  • make significant changes to your operating model, such as selling food online or from a mobile unit, or diversifying your business
  • plan to close your food business

If you are unsure whether you need to register or to inform us of any changes, please contact us.

Further information and guidance about starting a food business is available from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) (opens new window).

Last modified on 14 April 2023

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