Register as a food business

When you start a new food business or take over an existing business, you must register your food business with the local authority. You should do this at least 28 days before opening.

If there are any changes to your food business, such as change of owner or if your business is closing, you must update your business details with the local authority. If you’re a new owner of an existing business, you will need to re-register the business in your name.

Once registered, your business may be inspected by the local authority and given a food hygiene rating under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme or Food information scheme depending where you are.

Choosing the right premises

The premises you choose for your business must:

  • comply with the necessary regulations
  • allow you to prepare food safely

You must keep your premises clean and maintained in good repair and condition. Your premises must allow you to follow good food hygiene practices, including protection against contamination and pest control.

When you are choosing new premises, or making changes to premises, it’s a good idea to ask your local authority for advice.

The following rules apply to your whole premises, not just the areas used for preparing food.

Handwashing facilities and toilets

You must have enough washbasins for staff to wash their hands with hot and cold running water and materials for cleaning hands and drying them hygienically.

Changing facilities

You must provide adequate facilities for staff to change their clothes, where necessary.

Other requirements

Your premises must also have adequate ventilation, lighting and drainage.


Food preparation areas

The following rules apply to rooms where food is prepared.

Floors and walls

Floors and walls must be:

  • maintained in a good condition
  • easy to clean
  • disinfected
  • smooth, hard-wearing, washable and in a good state of repair


Ceilings should be:

  • in good condition
  • easy to clean to prevent dirt from building up
  • free from condensation and mould
  • free from flaking paint or plaster

Windows and doors

Windows and any other openings (such as doors) must be constructed in a way that prevents dirt from building up. If they open to the outside, they must be fitted with insect-proof screens that can be easily removed for cleaning.

Doors must be easy to:

  • clean
  • disinfect


Surfaces (including surfaces of equipment) in areas where food is handled, particularly those that are touched by food, must be:

  • maintained in a good condition
  • easy to clean
  • disinfected



Facilities for cleaning equipment

Your premises must have adequate facilities for cleaning, disinfecting and storing utensils, including equipment. The facilities must have an adequate supply of hot and cold water.

Facilities for washing food

Separate sinks must be provided, where necessary, for washing food and cleaning equipment in food preparation areas.

Every sink must have an adequate supply of hot and cold water for washing food and be of drinking quality. These facilities must be kept clean and be disinfected.


All items, fittings and equipment that food touches must be:

  • kept in good order, repair and condition
  • cleaned effectively and be disinfected frequently enough to avoid any risk of contamination

Food waste

You must have adequate facilities for storing and disposing of food. You must remove food waste and other rubbish from rooms containing food as quickly as possible to avoid it building up and attracting pests.

The three main groups of pests that are encountered in food businesses are:

  • rodents – rats and mice
  • insects – cockroaches, beetles, ants and flies
  • birds – pigeons etc