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Advice for food business operators

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2. Operating a food business (including from home)


You are required to register your food business at least 28 days before trading.

Food safety management system

It is a legal requirement to keep records of what you do to ensure food is safe to eat. Safer Food Better Business is a food safety management system developed by the Food Standards Agency and commonly used by food business operators.

Food hygiene training

It is recommended that food handlers undertake food hygiene training appropriate to their work activity.

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

If you sell or provide food directly to the public, you will be given a rating under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme 

You can request an 'Awaiting Inspection' sticker when you register your business and will be given a rating at your first inspection.

Structure and practices

Your kitchen must be clean and in good repair; food preparation surfaces must be smooth and washable and you must have:

  • suitable facilities for cleaning equipment and utensils
  • adequate facilities to wash and dry hands hygienically
  • appropriate storage of food to avoid contamination 

Pets must be kept out of the kitchen during food preparation times.

Further guidance on running a catering business is available from the Food Standards Agency.