Running a food business
Registering your food business
Your food business needs to be registered 28 days before opening, this includes home catering businesses.
For full information see the details on Food premises registration.
You may need planning permission if you are starting a food business at a premises that has not been previously used as a food business.
Planning applications for new commercial hot-food premises in class E (formerly A3 use) or in Sui Generis (formerly A5 use) may have a planning condition added for the installation of a grease trap/separator.
Any installation of grease traps/separators must also comply with Building Regulations standards.
Food safety management
You must put in place food safety management procedures which are based on the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP).
To help with this the Food Standards Agency have information packs for small businesses.
We can send you a printed version of the pack for a fee.
You’ll need to register on our online portal.
- Go to Requests.
- Select Submit a request complaint.
- In Request Subject choose Safer Food Better Business pack.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the application.
A mobile catering unit includes a vehicle, trailer stall, caravan or other similar premises from which food (including drinks) is sold.
You must register your food business 28 days before you start trading and if you register with us your vehicle or trailer must be stored within our district overnight.
If your vehicle is stored elsewhere but you trade within our district, we will undertake food inspections.
You cannot trade from all streets within our district. For some streets you will need a permit or licence before you can trade. If you wish to trade from a street you should check with us that we allow trading from that street. Please see more detailed information on our street trading pages.
If you are trading from private land you do not need a street trading licence from us. You will however need the landowners’ permission and will need to be aware of any planning or trading time constraints.
Mobile food businesses must follow the same hygiene rules as all other food businesses.
Any rubbish generated by your or your customers is ‘trade waste’ and you must arrange for its collection by a licensed waste collector.
You’re responsible for the health and safety of yourself, any employees and customers. You must ensure that all electrical and gas appliances are in working order and you must have safety inspection documents.
Commercial waste management and drains
You need to have food waste bins for any food waste at your premises. You will also need to have a licensed waste carrier to remove your food waste.
You need to ensure that your drains continue to work effectively. Fat build-up in pipes can cause blocked drains and overflowing sinks or toilets in either your food premises or the neighbourhood.
Food businesses must not block or damage sewer networks and should have grease separators fitted to drains serving kitchens or have another effective way of removing grease.
Domestic drain guidance
You need to ensure that you only dispose of the 3 P’s (pee, poo and paper) down your pipes. Southern Water has more information and advice on keeping drains and pipes clear.
Sickness at work
The Food Standards Agency have all relevant information on what you should do if you or your staff are ill.
If you’re ill and work with food you may need to stay off work.