Food premises approval

Certain types of food businesses need to be approved, rather than registered. There is no fee and the differences are explained below.

Does the food business need to be registered or approved?

Registration applies to most types of food business, including catering businesses run from home and mobile or temporary premises, such as stalls and vans. If you need to register your food business, visit our food business registration page for guidance, where you may also download a form to complete and return to us.

Food business approval

If your business makes, prepares or handles food of animal origin for supply to other businesses, then in most circumstances we need to approve your food business and its activities.

Food of animal origin includes:

  • meat and poultry - whether fresh, frozen or cooked 
  • meat products such as pies, sausage rolls, faggots, black pudding and bacon    
  • raw or partially cooked minced meat or meat preparations such as sausages, burgers, marinated raw meat and kebab meat   
  • fish and fish products such as fish fingers, prawns, lobsters, crabs and crayfish - whether dead or alive    
  • live bivalve molluscs   
  • ready meals containing fish or meat   
  • milk and dairy products such as butter, cream, cheese, yoghurt, ice-cream, etc.  
  • frogs legs and snails
  • rendered animal fats and other animal by-products such as gelatine, collagen, stomachs, bladders and intestines
  • honey and blood
  • certain cold stores and wholesale markets  

You cannot operate your food establishment until it has been approved by the local authority, unless your business has received conditional or full approval for the proposed activity from us. To commence business without approval is an offence, for which your business may be prosecuted.    

The approval process requires that you put in place procedures to manage food safety based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. The HACCP documents will make up part of your food safety management system which should be tailored to fit your business and should be simple and appropriate to the scale and type of production you intend to carry out. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has produced an online help tool called MyHACCP for small food manufacturing businesses.

To obtain approval you must meet certain hygiene standards, set out in Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 Hygiene Rules for Food of Animal Origin and Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 Hygiene of Foodstuffs, which is available on the Food Standards Agency approved food establishments web page.

Approval exemptions

There are some exemptions from the requirement to be approved. These are based on the premises being retail or supplying other retailers on a marginal, localised and restricted basis.

Further Advice

Please contact us for guidance before submitting an application.