Registering your food business

When you start a new food business or take over an existing business, you must register with your local authority.  You must register at least 28 days before opening. Registration is free, and cannot be refused.

If you’re already trading and have not registered, you need to do this as soon as possible. You may be fined, imprisoned for up to two years, or both if you run a food business without registering.

It’s quick and easy to register your food business with us using our online form.

Who needs to register?

You need to register if you’re involved in preparing, cooking, storing, handling, distributing, supplying or selling food.

Registration applies to food business including:

  • restaurants, cafes and take-aways
  • catering businesses run from home, mobile catering and temporary businesses
  • food stalls, food pop-ups and food vans
  • distance selling, mail order and food delivery

If you’re involved in food distribution or supply and operate from an office you should also register, even if no food is kept on the premises.

If you operate more than one premises, you need to register each one separately with the local authority where it’s located.

Childminders and nurseries

If you’re a childminder or run a nursery providing food for the children you look after, the details you provide to Ofsted will be used to register you as a food business. Your details will be available to your local authority and you will not have to register separately.

Food hygiene rating scheme

Once registered, your business will be inspected by your local authority inspectors.

Preparing thoroughly for inspection means your business has the best chance of getting a top rating (5) in the food hygiene rating scheme.

Find out more about the food hygiene rating scheme and how to prepare for your inspection.

Approved food establishments

If your food business makes, prepares or handles food that comes from animals to supply to other food businesses, your premises may need approval. More information about applying for approval can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.

The application process is free of charge, but we must process and approve your application before you start trading. It’s a good idea to contact us for advice prior to starting the application process.

You can apply for food premises approval online by using the form on the government website.

Registration of farms

Farmers producing food for human consumption need to register their premises using the online food premises registration form. Inspections of primary producers of food are carried out by Nottinghamshire County Council.

Animal feed

More information on animal feed premises registration and a specific application form can be found on the Nottinghamshire County Council website.