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Starting a food business

This page aims to advise you how to set up a food business and make sure you meet the standards set out in food safety law.

Register a food business

You will need to register your premises with us 28 days before you start trading. To register a food business in the South Holland district, please complete the online food business registration form (opens new window).

Newly registered food businesses will normally receive an unannounced inspection within 28 days of starting trading. Appointments will be made with domestic properties. 

There are other things you will need to consider, depending on where you want to run your business from and what you are hoping to produce. This is not an exhaustive list and if there is anything you are not sure about you should contact us by email or by calling 01775 761161 and provide as much detail as possible. You may also wish to seek your own independent advice.

Common types of food premises

  • Mobile/temporary vehicles
    This will need to be registered at the address where it is normally kept. If you are hoping to operate within the South Holland area you may need to apply for Street Trading consent. You'll need to make sure that you have sufficient sinks with running hot and cold or mixed water (as a minimum; one for equipment and one for hand washing) to prepare food safely. If you provide tables for customers to sit at, you'll need to consider toilet (WC) facilities.
  • Domestic premises
    You still need to meet the requirements of food safety law. Your kitchen will need to have sufficient space and layout, be clean and well maintained, have accessible hand washing facilities which are separate from your WC. You may also need to obtain planning permission.
  • Commercial premises
    If food or drink is consumed on the premises then customers will need to have access to toilets. The number of toilets you must provide depends on the number of seating you have, known as covers. If you intend to make any structural alterations you should contact our building control and planning department on

Information about the provision of toilets in commercial premises available to the public can be found on our toilet policy (PDF) [162KB] (opens new window) .

Any premises where you're providing hot food or drink between the hours of 11pm and 5am will need to apply for a late night refreshments licence and if you plan to sell alcohol you will need to apply for an alcohol licence, more details are available on our licensing pages.

Manufacturing product of animal origin

If you are selling or making products of animal origin which are not sold directly to the final consumer you may need to apply for approval. For more details see the How to apply for approval for a meat or food establishment or you can email us

Food business training

When you are inspected you'll need to show that you and any staff you employ are adequately supervised, instructed and/or trained.

Documented Food Safety system (legal requirement)

All food businesses must have written food safety management procedures. The Food Standards Agency have developed a simple system called Safer Food, Better Business (opens new window) for small caterers and retailers.

The extent of the procedures will depend upon the nature and size of your business, Safer Food Better Business may not be applicable for more complex operations (for example Butcher shops). There is guidance available on the Food Standards Agency website (opens new window). When you are inspected, an officer will expect to see this paperwork and the lack of it will affect your food hygiene rating.

Food hygiene advice

Helpful food hygiene advice is available on the Food Standards Agency website (opens new window)

If you have questions, please feel free to email the Food, Health and Safety Team or call us on 01775 761161