If you are planning to start a new catering business, you must register your premises with the environmental health service at your local authority at least 28 days before opening. This is a legal requirement under the Food Premises (Registration) Regulations 1991 and applies to most types of food business, including catering businesses run from home, and mobile or temporary premises such as stalls and burger vans.
Contact your local
authority for information on how to register.
If food premises are used by several catering businesses (for example, a village hall or conference centre), the person who allows the premises to be used for this purpose is responsible for registering them. However, if you use your own premises for a catering business, you must register them, even if you use other premises too.
Remember that you might need planning permission to alter premises. And you will also need to pay business rates on most premises.
Contact your local authority for information on these matters.
Rules about premises
When you choose the premises for your business, it is very important to make sure that they:
1. meet the necessary regulations
2. are suitable for the purpose of your business
3. allow you to prepare food safely
The following rules apply to your whole premises, not just the areas used for preparing food.
Design and construction
The premises you use must be designed and built in a way that allowsyou to keep the place clean and to work hygienically. They must alsobe designed to keep out pests, such as flies and rats.
Where you work
Handwashing facilities and toilets
Your premises must have enough washbasins for staff to wash theirhands. (This is as well as sinks in food areas for washing food andcleaning equipment – see page 4.) There must also be enough toiletsand these must not lead directly into food areas.
Basins for washing hands must have hot and cold running water. And you must provide soap and materials for drying hands hygienically,such as disposable towels.
You must provide adequate facilities for staff to change their clothes,where necessary.
You must make adequate arrangements for food waste and other types of rubbish to be stored and removed.
There are rules about the way certain types of food waste must be collected and disposed of. Contact your local authority for more information.
There must be an adequate supply of drinking water at your premises.
Your premises must also have adequate ventilation, lighting and drainage.