Running a food business

Guidance for food businesses:
Starting a food business from home
Guidance for community cooking and food banks
Guidance for packaging and labelling food

Guidance for all workplaces:
Guidance for employers/employees on working safely during Covid-19

You should read the Food Standards Agency information on starting a food business.

We have created a check list for anyone starting a new business.

You will have to register your business with us at least 28 days before you want to start trading. It is free and cannot be refused.

You can find further advice on the legal requirements for disposal of surplus food, labelling, food allergens and packaging on the Business Companion website.

If you want to run a catering or cake making business from home you have to follow the same rules and regulations as other food businesses. We have produced information leaflets to help you: preparing food as a home business and starting a home cake making business.

All food handlers must undergo training in food hygiene. The level of training depends on the amount and type of food handling you do.

If your food business will be selling alcohol, serving food after 11pm or is a mobile catering unit, you may require a premises licence.

Approved premises

Premises subject to approval must be inspected and granted approval before trading can commence. You must apply for approval using the approved premises application form.

Bespoke food hygiene advice

If you are starting a new food business or want advice on how to improve your rating, we have a paid advice service where you can have dedicated time to your business from one of our qualified Food & Safety officers. The charge of this service is £196.80 (inclusive of VAT). This provides you with up to 2 hours of advice, and can include a site visit or pre-inspection.

Please complete our bespoke food business advice order form to apply.

“The advice provided to me during the advisory visit was really helpful and beneficial…. It impacted the food hygiene rating of my take away positively and I was really grateful for the rating I received following the food hygiene inspection.

I would recommend this service to anyone who would like to start a catering business or even for someone who is already in the trade.”

Jas Cafe & Grill


We run training courses in food safety to help individuals and businesses understand what they need to do keep food and safe and to help meet the legal requirements for food businesses.

We are currently refreshing our training courses and plan to run the following courses in the upcoming months.

Course dates

We run training courses in food safety to help individual and businesses. The course cover how to keep food safe and to meet the legal requirements for food businesses.

We are currently refreshing our training courses. We plan to run the following courses in the upcoming months.


We inspect of all food premises regularly. We do not give notice of our visits.

You can see the food hygiene ratings we awarded.

You can apply for a re-rating inspection if you believe your business has improved. The fee for a re-rating inspection is £210. Please fill out and pay using the revisit request form. You must fill in all parts of the form telling us what you have done to improve since your last inspection in the following areas; food hygiene, structure and confidence in management. You will receive an unannounced inspection within 3 months of us receiving your application. It is important to understand that your rating may go, down or stay the same depending on the conditions found during your re-inspection.

Due to the impact of Covid-19 on our inspections we are not currently taking applications from businesses that are overdue or due their next routine inspection.

The Food Standards Agency has developed a national recovery plan. This dictates which premises we must prioritise. We are a small team and are working hard to get back on track. We are aware of the pressures delivery platforms are placing on businesses. Please do not phone requesting we come to inspect your business. It takes valuable officer time to deal with your request and explain the reason for our delays.

If you are an existing business with a poor hygiene rating you can apply for a re-rating as described above

Non-business catering for large numbers

Catering from Home Safely

Contact the food and safety team for more information or to inform us of any changes to your business.

Please see the Data Privacy Notice for more details of how we keep your data secure.

Food Standard’s Agency

To contact the Food Standard’s Agency (FSA) about general enquiries, visit their website: or call: 0330 332 7149. The line is open 9.00 until 17.00, Monday to Friday.