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In line with government advice our reception at Bridgwater House remains closed. You can contact us by calling 0300 303 7800 or by emailing

New Food Business Advice and Registration

If you are considering starting up a new business we hope that these guidance notes are helpful to you, but you should note that every business poses different potential problems.

During a visit the proprietor will be able to gain an understanding of what is expected of them, with regards to legal requirements and good practices and will have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss any areas of concern with the inspecting officer.

You should also be aware of the possible need to consult with other departments within the Council and other relevant Authorities. Before undertaking a project you should also check whether the work may require Building Regulations approval or Planning Permission. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 should also be complied with. There are several things you need to think about before you start a business:

Food Business Registration

You must register your business with the local authority at least 28 days before opening, however registration is free.  Registrations applies to virtually all types of food businesses, including catering businesses run from home and mobile or temporary premises, such as stalls and vans.  If you have more than one business, you will need to register them all.

Register online here: Food Standards Agency Online Registration

Mobile and/or temporary premises include marquees, stalls and vans.  Premises mainly used as a private dwelling could also be a B&B or a cake making business, which will require registration although the requirements are slightly different and allow greater flexibility.

If you store, prepare, distribute or sell food (including drink) on the premises you need to be registered with the local authority. Premises include restaurants, cafes, hotels, shops, canteens, market stalls, B&B's, home bakers, mobile catering vans and food delivery vans.

All food business operators must be registered with the local authority. A registration form (available below) needs to be completed by food operators in respect of new food business establishments and submitted to the relevant competent authority 28 days before commencing food operations.

If you are a farmer or animal feed haulier you will need to register with Devon and Somerset Trading Standards for Feed and Food Hygiene Regulations, which can be done here: Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service - Farming Standards  

Some food manufacturers handling products of animal origin may need to be approved by the local authority or the Food Standards Agency , rather than registered. If you are uncertain whether your business needs to be approved or registered, contact us for more information.

Tacit Consent does not apply, as it is in the public interest for Sedgemoor District Council to process your Food Registration application before it can be granted.  If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us on the telephone number below.

For information on the requirements for allergen labelling, please see Food Allergen Information for Businesses.

Health and Safety

Every employer has a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all your employees, customers, visitors and on site contractors and this may impact on the design, construction and operation of food premises.

You should assess the risk to the health safety and welfare of anyone who is affected by the undertakings of the business.

An assessment of risk is no more than a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people, you must then decide whether you have taken adequate precautions to control these risks or should do more to prevent them. The aim is to make sure no one gets hurt or becomes ill.

Accidents and ill health can ruin lives and affect your business. If you have fewer than five employees you do not need to write anything down, but is you have five or more employees you must record the findings of your assessment.

Most businesses are more than capable of carrying out their own assessments, If feel that you need help please contact us, our help is free and can save you time and money.

If however you would prefer to use a consultant to help you, please ensure that they are competent and on the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR). The register was set up with the help of the Health and Safety Executive to provide a reliable source of health and safety advice. You are still liable for the acts and omissions of your company, even if acting on the advice of your consultant. 

Food Consumer Complaints

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Storage and disposal of waste

Adequate arrangements must be made for the hygienic storage and disposal of waste.

You must ensure that the company that removes your waste is a registered as a Waste Carrier with the Environment Agency. Ask to see their original licence, not a copy, and ensure you know where your waste will go. You may be held accountable if you give your waste to a non-registered carrier and it is later fly tipped.

You can check online to see if they are registered with the Environment Agency here: Environment Agency - Register of waste carriers, brokers and dealers  or call the agency on 03708 506 506* (Mon-Fri 8am-6pm).

*Calls to 03 numbers cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number and must count towards any inclusive minutes in the same way as 01 and 02 calls. These rules apply to calls from any type of line including mobile, BT, other fixed line or payphone


Public sanitary accommodation

You will need to provide public toilets if you are running a business classed as a place of entertainment or you are selling food and drink to the public for consumption on the premises. Guidelines on the number of toilets needed are given in the British Standard 6465: PART 1:1984

Government Bodies

Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I need a licence?

Generally, you do not need a licence to trade as a food business but as explained above  you will need to register your premises with Sedgemoor District Council.

However, the Council's Licensing Team can provide further information about which activities do need a licence. For example, the sale of alcohol will require a licence. For further information, visit the Licensing webpage Sedgemoor Licensing

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Do I need food hygiene training?

All staff that are to be directly involved with the handling of food must know how to work hygienically, so some level of food hygiene training is required.

The Council's Environmental Health Team can provide local food hygiene training for your staff at competitive rates.

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Do I need health and safety training?

All staff need to receive suitable training from their employer as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, their health and safety at work.

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Do I need planning permission?

Unless your property is already operating as a similar business then it is quite likely that you will need planning permission. If you are in any doubt, contact customer services at Sedgemoor District Council who will be able to tell you.

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Is my building/trailer suitable for food use?

Any building or vehicle must be able to protect food from contamination and be easy to clean. In addition it should have a supply of hot and cold clean water, have adequate drainage, be well lit, and have sufficient temperature controlled storage, if required.

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What other support can I get?

The Environmental Health Team at Sedgemoor District Council will be able to offer you more advice should you require it. Their contact details are at the bottom of the page.

There is also an option for a business to sign a primary authority agreement with the Environmental Health Team to enable additional business advice and support on regulatory compliance.

Other advice and support is available from:

  1. The Council's Licensing Team, if for example you intend to sell alcohol. Alcohol and Entertainment
  2. The Council's Economic Development Team. Business and Investment
  3. The Heart of the South West Growth Hub Heart of the South West Growth Hub



arrowFood Allergen Information for Businesses arrowCitizens Advice Bureau arrowHealth and Safety Executive arrowGOV.UK - Set up a business arrowUK European Consumer Centre arrowChilled Food Association arrowAssociation of Independent Meat Suppliers arrowFind a Registered Health & Safety Consultant arrowFood Standards Agency Online Registration