Setting up a new food business and registration
Before opening a new food business, please read the below information which we hope you may find helpful when setting up a new business.
This section also gives advice regarding how to register your food business with South Cambridgeshire District Council.
Before setting up
Good food hygiene is essential to help prevent food poisoning and protect your reputation with customers. The Food Standards Agency provides resources to help food businesses produce safe food, including:
- Starting up: Your first steps to running a catering business
- Food hygiene: a guide for businesses
- Or go to the Food Standards Agency website
Our Food & Safety Team provides a paid for advisory service where we can visit you before you open for business, or begin construction, and provide advice regarding food hygiene and health and safety. See our Food Business Advice page for more details.
If you are setting up a new business at home or in a business unit, you may need to speak with our Planning Service to identify whether the site has the correct planning permissions. For more details, please see our planning permission page.
You may also need to contact our Business Rates Team to identify whether you would be required to pay Business Rates or if you may be exempt. Please see our Business Rates page for more details.
Before trading as a food business, you will now need to register your food business with our Food & Safety Team. This is a legal requirement. More detail regarding registration can be found in the next section.
Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
The majority of food businesses that serve food directly to members of the public will be included in the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. This scheme looks to score your business regarding hygiene practices and allows members of the public to see how hygienically you produce food.
We score a food business based upon:
- Food Hygiene and Safety Practices
- Structure and Cleaning
- Management Control Systems and Confidence in Management
The scores range from 0 (urgent improvement necessary) to 5 (very good)
The Officer will usually explain your national Food Hygiene Rating Score at the time of inspection and how they came to the particular outcome.
Food Safety Management System
All food businesses must have a food safety management system in place. This is basically a document to show how you keep food safe whilst it is under your control. The document must be based on the HACCP principle (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point).
The complexity of the documentation will depend upon the type of foods you produce and the procedures you use.
When an Environmental Health Officer undertakes an inspection to assess your food hygiene practices, we will review your food safety management system.
For more information about food safety management systems, please see our Food Safety Plan page.
Registering as a food business
If you are planning to open a new food business, or take over an existing business as the new food business operator, you will need to register the business with us. A food business includes typical food businesses such as restaurants, pubs, manufacturers, schools, etc. as well as charity groups and individuals making food at home.
Registration should be made to us at least 28 days before you begin trading.
You can register as a food business with us by:
- Downloading a food business registration form (this document also provides a guideline for registration regulations)
- Complete the form electronically or in writing
- Send the completed form to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or sending it to our Cambourne office
- Please also download and complete our self-assessment questionnaire which will help us to get more information about your business. This can be returned with your food registration form via post or email
- Apply online for food business registration via the Gov.uk website (in partnership with EUGO). Simply create an account (if not already registered) and complete the form.
There are some exemptions to food registration such as those that do not handle high risk foods or provide food less often than once per month. If you would like to confirm whether you meet the exemption, please contact our Food & Safety Team using the details below.
You also need to register if you are a food broker. Food brokers are businesses which sell food products from various producers and manufacturers to other wholesale and retail food businesses.
Certain types of food businesses that produce dairy products, meat products, fishery products, egg products, minced meat or meat preparation and sell these to other businesses may require a different type of registration, called an ‘Approval’.
If you think that your new food business falls into this category, you must contact the Food & Safety Team as soon as possible – food businesses that require 'Approval' cannot start trading until approval has been granted.
What happens once I'm registered?
Once you are registered with South Cambridgeshire District Council, we will likely undertake an unannounced food hygiene inspection to assess your compliance with food safety legislation.
As there may be a delay between when you submitted the food registration form and when the officer visits the premises, you can start to trade.
However, you must make sure that you are meeting the appropriate standards of food hygiene and food safety, and that you have all the required documentation in place, such as a documented food safety management system and appropriate monitoring records, before you start to produce food for your business.
During our visit we will view your food production and storage areas, discuss your practices and procedures and review your food safety management system to ensure that you are safely producing food.
At the end of the inspection, the Environmental Health Officer will leave you with an inspection report highlighting areas which may need addressing. We will risk score your food business and then revisit at a later date.
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