Register a food business

If you are starting a food business in Melton, taking over an existing one or even just changing the ownership details on an existing business, you must register with us.

To register, click on the link below and complete the online form. There is no charge for registration. A copy of the form will also go automatically to Leicestershire Trading Standards, so that they are aware of your business and can contact you. 

Once registered, our food hygiene inspectors will carry out an inspection.  These are generally unannounced, though those businesses operating from home will usually be contacted to make a suitable appointment.

Find out more about food businesses inspections 


You do not have to be a company or make a profit to be classed as a food business.

'Food business' covers a wide range of undertakings ranging from large food factories to people who make and sell food from home.

If you run a mobile business, such as a burger van or ice cream van then you need to register wherever the van is parked overnight.

You do not need to register if you are offering one-off catering or it is very irregular, for example, catering at school fetes or similar events, though of course you must still produce and handle food safely and comply with food and labelling legislation.

If you are unsure whether you need to register, contact us to find out more. 


Small or independent sellers, voluntary groups and "one-off" sales

You may not consider yourself a food business and you may just sell a few items to friends and family on social media, but the current food legislation includes any 'undertaking', not just formal businesses, and applies to all stages of production, processing and distribution of food  (this therefore also includes voluntary groups).  

Remember too that the definition of 'food business' also includes those only handling drinks.


There does need to be some degree of continuity to the operation to require registration, so one off school fairs or producing food just for a few people at Valentine's Day or exclusively at Christmas would generally not need registration.  There are some examples of when to register (and when not to) on the Food Standards Agency's website below. 

As a basic rule of thumb, if you have a presence on social media or the web offering food or drink that you've either made yourself (such as cakes or ready meals), items bought to sell on, or even repackaged confectionary (such as gift bags) then you will  need to register with us.  If you're handling food or drink in any way, even if it stays wrapped, that still counts as an 'undertaking' and you need to register. 

General advice for new food businesses

The design and structure of your premises

When choosing the premises for your food business you need to consider:

  • if your premises comply with the necessary regulations
  • if they are suitable for the needs of your business
  • allow you to conduct your food operation safely

For more information about how you can create the safest and most suitable premises for your food operation, go through the Food Standards Agency's ‘Starting-Up’ Booklet.

These rules and regulations are put in place to make sure your food premises are safe for you, your staff and for the general public. For instance, in your kitchen you need to have the proper food separation areas so that cross-contamination does not occur.

Staff Training

Before your business becomes operational and open to the public, you need to make sure your staff have completed food hygiene training in order to maximise the safety of your food operation. 


Inspections are normally unannounced.  We are not required to give you notice of a visit, though officers will provide you with information at an inspection detailing when you may expect the next visit, for example in 18 months time. 

Food allergens

The Food Information Regulations (FIR) 2014 states that "information on certain foods causing allergies or intolerances that were used in the manufacture or preparation of a food" must be provided for prepackaged foods.

Where the food is not packaged, the FIR requires that when "food is sold by means of distance selling (for example, takeaway order by telephone or online), allergen information should be made available before the purchase is concluded, and be made available at point of delivery (for example, use of a menu or sticker)."

The Food Standards Agency provides many useful downloadable documents as well as online assistance to help with your allergen labelling:

  • Allergy and intolerance: guide for businesses
  • Allergen information for loose foods
  • Allergy: What to consider when labelling food
  • Resources for chefs, business owners, consumers and children concerning allergen info
  • Online food allergy training

Other helpful food safety documents:

  • Preventing Ecoli O157
  • Q&As on the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation allergen provisions
  • Food allergen labelling and information requirements under the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation No. 1169/2011: Technical Guidance
  • Meat Industry Guide (MIG)
  • Minimising the risk of Clostridium botulinum in vacuum and modified atmosphere packed chilled foods
  • Wild game safety information
Alcohol licensing

If your food operation is going to include the sale of alcohol, you will need to apply for an alcohol licence or receive authorisation from the licensing authority.  For premises in the Borough of Melton please see our Licensing pages for further information.   In addition if you wish to sell hot food and drink after 11pm you will need to apply for a licence for that too. 

Food Hygiene Ratings

Businesses selling or supplying food and drink to the public automatically included in the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.  Your score is generated following your inspection and further information on the scheme can be found on our Food Hygiene Rating Scheme pages.  

Products of animal origin

Certain food premises that deal with products of animal origin (such as meat and dairy products) are required to be approved by us rather than just registered.

These premises are usually involved in the sale of their products to other businesses or outside the local area.

Typical examples include cheese dairies and meat pie or ready meal manufacturers, though it is possible that micro businesses can be included depending on what they do.

Without approval you are not allowed to trade in this way.

Approval means that you need to meet additional food safety laws, above and beyond what applies to standard food businesses. The requirements are taken from European regulations and further details, along with lists of UK approved premises are available on the Food Standards Agency website.

If you are considering starting a business like this then please speak to Environmental Health early on for advice.

Raw drinking milk

The sale of raw dairy milk is strictly regulated as it is a high risk product.  This type of milk does not undergo the heat treatment process that normal, pasteurised milk undergoes which means that pathogenic bacteria can survive.  

Information for consumers

The Food Standards Agency have advice for consumers on their website, including the circumstances where you can purchase it. It is a high risk product, especially for those people who are considered vulnerable.

Sales are completely prohibited in Scotland, but are permitted in England under certain circumstances 

Information for producers

If you are a farm considering selling raw dairy milk then you must seek approval from the Food Standards Agency. You will also be subject to checks by Environmental Health at the point of sale. 

The locations where you can sell the raw milk are strictly regulated.  It can include the farm gate and a vending machine there, but it cannot be sold to other businesses nor can it be sold at events or fairs. 

Risk assessments and Safer Food Better Business

All food businesses need to have considered the risks involved in how they prepare and serve food.  Most caterers (such as takeaways and restaurants) will require this in paper form.  You can either design your own system based on the principles of HACCP or download, print and complete the Safer Food Better Business pack that is available free from the Food Standards Agency (linked below). 

The pack is divided into sections covering cleaning, hygiene, cooking, chilling and management.  Food business operators would need to complete the empty boxes and questions in the pack so that it reflects how they operate safely.  The pack can also be used as a training tool for new staff.

In addition, daily checks need to be carried out and noted.  This can be done by using the SFBB daily diary at the back of the pack.  Further diary pages can be downloaded from the FSA website below, or you can design your own system.  For new catering businesses, the pack (or similar) must be in place by the time you start operating.

Home caterers often do not need the pack; instead we have a shorter version available which we can provide when you register.

If you are not sure how to complete the pack please contact us.

Food manufacturers will probably find that SFBB is not suitable for them.  Instead they will need to produce a HACCP of their own.  There are various online tools available to do this, including the MyHACCP website (see below).  

Last updated 10 May 2024
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