Food business registration

Register a food business

There is no charge for registration but all food businesses in Havering are required by law to register with the Council.

About registration

Food businesses are required by law to register with their local authority 28 days before trading. Mobile traders should register with the authority where the stall or vehicle is left overnight.

Registration is free and the business cannot be refused registration. It is a criminal offence not to register if you should have, so seek advice if in doubt.

A food business is defined in EU Regulation 178/2002 as:

"Any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any of the activities related to any stage of production, processing and distribution of food."

However, the regulations also say that:

"Community rules should not apply either to primary production for private domestic use (eg allotments), or to the domestic preparation, handling or storage of food for private domestic consumption. Also, they should apply only to undertakings, the concept of which implies a certain continuity of activities and a certain degree of organisation."

Who needs to register?

In addition to the obvious high street or factory businesses, we would expect to register:

  • people frequently preparing food for sale from their home
  • outside caterers using a community hall kitchen for bookings
  • social/sports clubs or similar offering hot food after matches or with a bar or selling eg rolls/sweets
  • charities holding a regular lunch club

Who doesn't need to register?

Examples of activities we would not expect to register are:

  • people preparing food for sale at summer and Christmas fêtes only
  • people running a barbecue at an annual club fund-raiser
  • social/sports clubs or similar where low risk food is provided by members on rota, eg cricket teas

Charities, clubs and other volunteer groups may not need to register although the food sold must be safe and fit to eat. Detailed catering advice for charity and community groups providing food has been provided by the Food Standards Agency.

On the basis of the activities carried out, certain food business establishments are required to be approved rather than registered eg manufacturers of products of animal origin.

If you are unsure whether any aspect of your food operations would require your establishment to be approved, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

As with many laws, there will always be grey areas.

Registered premises

Any food for sale must be safe, hygienically prepared and accurately described, whether from registered premises or not.

Once registered with the local authority, the food business operator only needs to notify them if:

  • there is a change of proprietor (the new proprietor must complete a new registration form)
  • the nature of the business changes
  • there is a change of address at which a moveable establishment is kept
  • the businesses stops trading - Please fill in the de-registration form, complete it and send it to us

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