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Register a food business

It's free to register your food business in Medway. If you store, sell, distribute, cook or prepare food, you will need to register.

We must receive your application form at least 28 days before you start any food operations. Tick all the boxes which apply to your business and answer all the questions honestly. We can't refuse your application to register your premises unless you are dishonest.

Who needs to register?

  • Cafes
  • Restaurants 
  • Pubs
  • Hotels
  • Shops
  • Caterers from home
  • Mobile caterers and market stalls
  • Childminders
If you have more than one premises You will need to register all of them. If you use premises in more than one local authority area, you must register with each authority separately.

If a premises is used by several food businesses

This could be for a community hall, church hall  or conference centre. The person who operates the food business is responsible for registering it.  For example, if a community hall is hired by a luncheon club or playgroup that provide food, it is the organisers of the club/group that must register, not the hall management committee. Further guidance on the provision of food in a village hall, or other community setting (and whether registration is required or not) may be found on FOOD.GOV.UK.

If a vehicle is used for your food business

If you use vehicles for your food business in connection with permanent premises such as a shop, or warehouse you only need to tell us how many vehicles you have. You do not need to register each vehicle separately. If you have one or more vehicles but no permanent premises, you must register the vehicles at the premises where they are normally kept.

If you have a mobile food business

In the case of a mobile food business, such as a burger or ice cream van, you only need to register with one local authority, not every authority where you are going to operate. You will usually register with the local authority where the vehicle will be kept overnight.

Some local authorities, including Medway Council, require mobile food businesses to have street trading consent for certain locations. Find out more information about street trading in Medway.

If you have a permanently moored boat Permanently moored vessels, such as floating restaurants, must register with the local authority in the area they are situated. Vessels travelling on inland waterways (e.g. pleasure craft), must register with the local authority where they are normally kept.
If you are a childminder

From 1st January 2014, if you are a childminder and usually provide meals and drinks for the children in your care, you do not need to register separately as a food business with your local authority. This will happen automatically when you register with Ofsted. Childminders registered with Ofsted before 1st January 2014 should have registered as a food business separately. Find out if you need to register and read advice from the Food Standards Agency.

The majority of food premises will have to be registered with the relevant local authority. All food businesses are subject to the provisions of food law, such as the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013, whether they are exempt from registration or not.

Am I exempt from registering?

Certain businesses producing meat, meat products, eggs, milk, dairy products, fish and fish products are exempt from registering, as they need approval under regulation EC853/2004 instead.

Fines and penalties

It's a criminal offence to run unapproved food premises and you can be prosecuted for doing so. You may be fined, imprisoned for up to 2 years or both if you run a food business without registering.

Change of circumstances

You must tell us within 28 days of any significant changes in your business by completing the register your food business form.

Significant changes that should be notified to the council:

  • Change of business address or trading name
  • Change of Food Business Operator (e.g. different owner or company name)
  • Change in the type of food activity
  • If you stop selling food
  • If you stop trading