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Starting or changing a food business

Prior to opening or changing a business there a number of things you must think about.

Planning and building control

If you are starting a new food business you may need to obtain planning permission. Visit our planning and building control pages for more information on this matter.

Register a food business

All food businesses must be registered with the Council at least 28 days before they open for business, there is no charge. If you use premises in more than one local authority area, you must register with each separately. Please use our food business registration form to register a business or to advise of changes to an existing business.

Before registering your food business, you will need to provide us with some background information.

Will you be using your domestic kitchen as your registered business address? If yes, please fill in this online form before registering your food premises:

Get the best possible food hygiene rating 

Get 5 logoSetting up a food business can be daunting.  Our environmental health professionals want to work with your business to ensure you get the very best food hygiene rating from the start.  An excellent food hygiene rating demonstrates to customers that you take food safety seriously and is likely to result in more customers and increased profits. 

With our GET 5 scheme  one of our expert officers will undertake coaching at your business premises so you can achieve the all-important  5 Food Hygiene Rating.  Please note there is a £175 charge for this service. 

Food safety training

All food handlers (anyone who handles or prepares food whether unwrapped or packaged) will need to be supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters. To handle ‘low risk’ foods or wrapped food only, you must have had instruction in the Essentials of Food Hygiene before you start work and Hygiene Awareness Instruction within four weeks. To prepare open ‘high risk’ foods or have a supervisory role, you will need to attend a formal training course within three months of starting work.

Food safety management system

You must also implement a food safety management system based on HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) principles. The Safer Food, Better Business pack can be used to help you to create and maintain a food safety management system. It is designed for people running smaller catering and food retail businesses. Safer Food Better Business (SFBB) is a toolkit that has been developed by the Food Standards Agency to help small businesses put in place food safety management procedures and comply with food hygiene regulations.

Licensing or approval

You may need a licence or permit to trade. Some food operations may require approval due to the nature of their food safety risk.

Further information

The Food Standards Agency also have some useful advice on their website. 

Information is available from Cheshire Fire and Rescue to help with fire risk assessment.

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