Registering a food business

What is registration?

UK law requires registration of establishments used for a food business - including market stalls, delivery vehicles and other moveable structures. If you use premises in more than one local authority area, you must register with each authority separately.

Registration allows local authorities to keep an up-to-date list of all those establishments in their area so they can visit them when they need to. The frequency of the visits will depend on the type of business.

How do I register?

By completing the online form below. Alternatively you can download and fill in a registration form (pdf 55kb) or pick one up from our Food Safety Section, Robert Hodge Centre, Stanley Way, Skelmersdale WN8 8EE. Tel: 01695 577177.

There is no charge for registration.


Who needs to register?

  • If you run a food business establishment you must inform (or arrange for someone else to inform) us about any premises you use for storing, selling, distributing or preparing food. Food premises includes restaurants, hotels, cafes, shops, supermarkets, staff canteens, kitchens in offices, warehouses, guest houses, food brokers, delivery vehicles, buffet cars on trains, market and other stalls, hot dog and ice cream vans etc. 
  • If you use vehicles for your food business in connection with permanent premises such as a shop, or warehouse you only need to inform 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 inform us where they are normally kept. 
  • Anyone starting a new food business must register with the Council at least 28 days before doing so. 
  • The majority of premises will have to be registered. However, certain premises are exempt from registration e.g. some which are already registered for food law purposes, certain agricultural premises, motor cars, tents and marquees (but not stalls). You should contact us if you think you might be exempt. 
  • Food businesses that are not wholly retail may also need to be Approved under Regulation (EC) Number 853/2004.

We have prepared a home catering advice leaflet (PDF 27Kb) if you intend to operate a food business from home.

What happens to the information given on the form?

We will add the details of your food business to our register. A register of addresses and the type of business carried on at each will be open to inspection by the general public. Records of the other information provided will not be publicly available. We will handle any information provided to us in accordance with our Privacy Notice (PDF, 9Kb).


Once you have registered, you only need notify us of a change of proprietor, if the nature of the business changes, or if there is a change of the address at which moveable premises are kept. The new proprietor will have to complete an application form.

If the Council wishes to change the entry in the register because of information which it receives from someone else, you will be given 28 days notice and an opportunity to comment on the proposed change.

Safer Food Better Business

All food businesses are required to produce a documented food safety management system. More information and a Safer Food Better Business pack, including additional diary sheets for existing food businesses, can be obtained from the Food Standards Agency (external link).

Will tacit consent apply?

Yes, tacit consent will apply.

This means that you will be able to act as though your registration is accepted if you have not heard from the Council by the end of the target period.