Starting a New Food Business

The following information is designed to help you understand your legal responsibilities and help you get your business off to a good start. The following legislation will apply:

  • Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013
  • EC Regulation 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs

In some circumstances the following legislation may also apply:

  • EC Regulation 853/2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin

Planning Permission

The use of any premises (including domestic) for food business purposes may be construed as a change of use and you are advised to seek the views of the Council's Planning Department.


All food business operating are legally required to register their business with their local authority 28 days before starting to trade. There is no fee for Registration it simply involves completing a form, please find downloadable or on-line form here

Food hygiene requirements

Always seek advice from your Environmental Health Officer before starting any work. Your EHO will be able to give advice regarding design of catering premises, correct food handling techniques, food hygiene training and food safety hazard analysis.

Surfaces; There are many different surfaces that can be used in a kitchen for floors, walls, ceilings, and equipment. The basic requirements are that surfaces are smooth, impervious to water, non-toxic and easy to clean.

Personal hygiene facilities; Toilets - provide clean and ventilated toilets which do not lead directly into food rooms with a wash hand basin.

Wash hand basin; Provide a wash hand basin in food rooms supplied with hot and cold water, soap and hand drying facilities.

Protective clothing; Clean, protective over-clothing must be worn by food handlers. It must only be worn at work and therefore suitable changing areas must be provided away from food rooms.

Extraction systems; Sufficient ventilation must be provided, designed to allow easy access for cleaning and maintenance. Planning permission may be required for certain systems.

Pest control; Pests pose a serious health risk, you must have adequate systems in place to prevent and control infestations of insects and rodent pests.

Refuse disposal; You must make suitable arrangements for the hygienic disposal of waste materials.

Training; All food handlers must have specific training in food hygiene. Details of food hygiene courses are available on our food safety training page.

Hazard Analysis; Food businesses are required to have a documented food safety procedure based on HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) principles. This requirement is designed to make food business operators focus on the activities critical to the safety of food in their business and to find ways of controlling them and where appropriate document the process.

The Food Standards Agency has developed a pack called 'Safer Food Better Business' to help retailers and caterers to comply with the above requirements. Click here to find out more information about this pack and find out how to obtain one.

At Winchester City Council we have also produced some packs specifically designed for small scale catering operations:

Bed and Breakfast


Home caterers

Health and Safety

Please consult the Health and Safety pages of our website for more information.

Trading Standards

The Trading Standards Department of Hampshire County Council can offer assistance on labelling of products including declared weights and product claims.


If you intend to sell alcohol, or provide any form of "public entertainment", you may require a licence. Please contact Winchester City Council on 01962 840 222 for further assistance.

New business checklist

  • Have you registered your business with us?
  • Do the design, layout and construction of your premises meet the legal requirements?
  • Do you and your staff understand the principles of good food hygiene?
  • Have you and your staff had food hygiene training?
  • Have you considered what food safety problems there could be at each stage of your business?
  • Have you put the necessary food safety procedures in place and are you making regular checks to make sure they are working?
  • Do you have a pest control contract?
  • Do you have a refuse collection service?
  • Have you considered Health and Safety and Fire Regulations?
  • Have you registered as self-employed?
  • Do you need to register for VAT?
  • Do you describe food and drink accurately?
  • Do you need to apply for a licence to sell alcohol?

Please see the links below to publications and websites that you may find useful.