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Starting a food business

Knife and fork

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When setting up your food business, there are a number of food hygiene and safety legal requirements you must meet from the beginning.

What must I do?

1. Register your food business

You must register a food business with us at least 28 days before opening.

Registration is free, quick and easy.

2. Have a Food Safety Management System

It is a legal requirement for all food businesses to have a food safety management system that is based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Principles (HACCP).

For more information see food safety management system

3. Set allergen management procedures

It is your responsibility to ensure that consumers are provided with accurate information regarding allergens.

Identification of food that contains allergens is very important to those with food allergies as there can be potentially serious consequences of eating food that they are allergic to.

For more information see food allergy awareness.

Food allergen risk assessment

For advice on the points to consider as part of your allergen management procedures please read  food allergen risk assessment (PDF) [1MB] .

This can also assist you when assessing whether the controls you currently have in place are effective and if any improvements can be made when dealing with customers who have food allergies or intolerances.

For further information see the Food Standards Agency - allergy and intolerance.

4. Follow food hygiene legislation

You must ensure that food is prepared and handled in accordance with Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.

Guidance notes for businesses on safety and hygiene legislation can be found by visiting Food Standards Agency - hygiene and food safety guidance.

5. Meet health and safety requirements

Your food business must meet certain health and safety requirements.

For a step by step guide of your legal health and safety responsibilities please visit health and safety for your new business.  

6. Staff training

Staff handling food must be supervised and trained in food hygiene to a level that is appropriate for the work that they do.

Although it is not a legal requirement to attend a formal course, many food businesses find that this is the best way to ensure that their staff gain the knowledge required, in addition to on the job training.

For more information see food hygiene training.

7. Meet food and drink labelling requirements

You must make sure your food business meets specific labelling requirements.

For more information visit the Food Standards Agency - labelling guidance.

8. Allow food inspection visits

We have a duty to carry out food inspections to ensure local businesses are compliant with food hygiene laws and producing food that is safe to eat.

To be awarded a 4 or 5 star rating you must be able to demonstrate a high level of compliance with food hygiene legislation.

The level of compliance will be assessed by one of our food safety officers when your business is inspected.

Achieving high food hygiene score

To find out how to achieve a high food hygiene rating score visit achieving a high food hygiene rating score.

Scoring highly can improve reputation, increase customer confidence and attract a higher amount of custom. Businesses with a rating of 3 or above will also be promoted on Preston's official visit website at Visit Preston - Food and Drink.

9. Waste and recycling collections

Every commercial business must arrange waste collections for the removal of waste.

For more information see Business waste and recycling.

10. Alcohol and entertainment licences

If you supply alcohol, provide entertainment to the public or hot refreshments after 11pm, you may require a licence.

For more information please visit Alcohol, entertainment, late night refreshment licences.

11. Planning - change of use

Before you acquire a premises for use as a food business, you may require planning permission or building control consent due to a 'change of use' of the premises.

For more information please visit Planning and Building control

Wider business advice and support

For wider business help and support, such as advice for start ups, business development, recruitment and financial advice, plus lots more, visit Invest Preston - business support.

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