Get more information on what you need to do as a Food Business and everything you need to do to start a new food business.
Register as a Food Business

Food businesses should register 28 days before opening.

The main purpose of the registration process is to let the council know where premises are and what type of business is being operated. The relevant local authority can ensure that every premises receives an inspection and resources can be allocated and targeted in the appropriate areas.

Food businesses must register with the council at least 28 days before opening - registration is free. Registration applies to most types of food business, including catering businesses run from home and mobile or temporary premises, such as stalls and vans.

If you have more than one premises, you will need to register all of them.

You can do this:

  • Online
  • Print, complete and return the Application for a Food Premises Licence.

You can find out more information about registering as a food business on:

Food Hygiene Training

If you are responsible for developing and maintaining a business's food safety management procedures, you are legally required to have had training on food safety and hygiene to do this.

In the UK, food handlers don't have to hold a food hygiene certificate to prepare or sell food, however many any food businesses will prefer that you do.

Skills can be learned by training while working, self-study or relevant previous experience.

Food hygiene certificates don't have an expiry date. A refresher course is available for those who need one. 

Please view our list of current training providers or you can obtain food hygiene information from the Food Standards Agency Website at:

HACCP

HACCP

All 'food safety management procedures' follow the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP).

HACCP is a system that helps you look at how to handle food and introduce procedures to make sure the food produced is safe to eat.

You must also:

  • keep up-to-date documents and records relating to your procedures
  • review your procedures if you change what you produce or how you work

The procedures can be applied flexibly for different types and sizes of food businesses. Your records must include any procedures in place to make sure food is safe to eat.

'Safer Food Better Business' is a free food safety management system created by the Food Standards Agency. It is designed to help small food businesses manage food safety and comply with the law. The pack can be downloaded from Safer Food Better Business or you can purchase it from Trade with Confidence.

More about HACCP

Allergens

All food businesses need to provide information about specific allergenic ingredients used in foods sold or provided by them.

The EU law has listed 14 allergens that need to be identified if they are used as ingredients in a dish. This means that all food businesses will need to provide information about the allergenic ingredients listed below used in foods sold or provided by them.

  • Peanuts
  • Nuts
  • Shellfish
    • Crustaceans
    • Molluscs
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cereals containing Gluten
  • Soya
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Celery
  • Mustard
  • Lupin
  • Sulphur Dioxide

For more information

Waste contracts

The law places a "Duty of Care" on commercial premises to ensure that waste produced by (or at) business premises is collected and disposed of by a registered or licenced waste carrier or waste collection authority.

Current legislation Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a "Duty of Care" on commercial premises to ensure that waste produced by (or at) business premises is collected and disposed of by a registered or licenced waste carrier or waste collection authority. This includes waste from any commercial activity run from a household.

Here you can find more information on your responsibilities for commercial or business waste.

There are many different waste management companies operating collection services locally. The Environment Agency website contains a list of registered waste carriers.

For further assistance, please see the Disposal of Surplus Food Guide.

Food labelling
E.coli

If you handle and prepare both raw and ready-to-eat (RTE) foods within the same premises, you must have an effective procedure in place to prevent cross-contamination.

These include designating specific surfaces for the handling and preparation of RTE food ('clean area') and raw/unwashed food ('dirty area') on a permanent basis. Make sure all staff are aware of this designation and adhere to it. You may find it helpful to label these areas. More information is available at:

It is important that you use an appropriate disinfectant/anti-bacterial chemical that meets the requirements of British Standards BS EN 1276 or BS EN 13697 to disinfect food contact surfaces and equipment. You can find a current list of appropriate disinfectants at Disinfectant Info.

Mobile Caterer

These are the things you need to consider:

Is Your Vehicle For Selling Food and Drink?

The vehicle you use to sell food must be suitable for use as a catering or food sales unit. This normally means using purpose-built vehicles. The vehicle must be of adequate size to allow food to be prepared hygienically. Where food is sold from stalls or barrows they must be constructed so they are easy to clean and so that food is protected from the risk of contamination from passing traffic and the public.

Do you need a licence?

Please visit our licensing page for more information.

Comply with all relevant food hygiene and safety legislation

Please visit Business Checklist and Food Hygiene Inspections for more information. Comply with all relevant health and safety legislation.

As far as possible, accidents at work should be anticipated and prevented by the use of safe systems of work, equipment and the proper training and supervision of staff. You should consider:

  • General requirements - is the vehicle of adequate size for food handlers to work safely? Is there a safe entry/exit to the vehicle, particularly where the public have access?
  • Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) - this can form a highly explosive mixture when mixed with air, particularly in enclosed spaces such as mobiles. Great care must be taken to avoid leaks of gas into the cooking area where there are naked flames. Appliances should be manufactured to British Standard and suitable for use with LPG. They should be fitted with flame failure devices which shut off the gas to the main burner if the flame goes out. Appliances should be installed, maintained and serviced to manufacturers/suppliers instructions and securely fastened to avoid any movement.
  • Adequate ventilation should be provided and a suitable flue fitted where the design of the appliances requires such.
  • Do not leave the vehicle unattended - whilst in use and should not be lit whilst the vehicle is in motion (unless fitted with a flame failure device, an adequate flue if in a vehicle, properly secured and not showing any naked flame).
Health & Safety
Business Rates

You'll probably have to pay business rates if you use a building or part of a building for non-domestic purposes for example if you are running a food business.

Business rates are charged on most non-domestic properties, like:

  • shops
  • offices
  • pubs
  • warehouses
  • factories
  • holiday rental homes or guest houses

For further information regarding business rates in Wolverhampton, including how to pay, please visit our Rates pages.

Planning

Before you start a food business it is advisable that you contact your local planning department to check that the premises has the correct planning permission.

Before you start a food business it is advisable that you contact your local planning department to check that the premises has the correct planning permission for its proposed use or find out how you can apply for a change of use.  Please, see our Planning section for more information.

Licensing

If your business sells or proposes to sell alcohol, hot food after 11pm, has entertainment or operates on the highway you will need to have an appropriate license.

To find out more or to contact the Councils licensing department please visit our Licensing section

Request an Export Certificate

What is an export certificate?

Food export certificates are required by food manufacturers/exporters who wish to export food to countries outside of the European Community (EC). Your food business must already be registered with us when you apply.

What types of export certificate does the council provide? 

The food team provides food export health certificates for food manufacturers/exporters within the Wolverhampton, who wish to export food to countries outside of the EC.

These certificates confirm that a specific business complies with all relevant legislation and the food produced is without risk to health. Certificates are only required where foods are exported to countries outside the EC.

You will need to apply for a certificate each time you want to export a consignment (batch of goods).

What information is required for the export certificate?

Typical information required for the export certificate is as follows:

  • manufacturer
  • minimum durability
  • storage conditions
  • export approval number
  • consignor
  • consignee
  • destination
  • product
  • quantity
  • country of origin
  • date of production
  • packaging
  • batch number (where appropriate)

It must be noted, however, that it is the exporter's responsibility to ensure that the destination country's requirements are met. 

How much does an export certificate cost?

  • £70 if no inspection is required
  • £140 if an inspection is required

How long does it take to process an export certificate?

It usually takes three to five days to process the certificate.

Who do I contact to request an export certificate?

You can purchase an Export Certificate by contacting us at tradewithconfidence@wolverhampton.gov.uk.

For further information, see the Food Standard Agency's section on Exports of Food and Drink.

Home Catering

Many people have an occasional need to prepare food at home for events such as parties and wedding receptions. Some also prepare food regularly at home as a small business. This second group must notify the Environmental Health Department by completing a food premises registration link to registration form page) form an officer will then contact you.

In order to minimise the risks associated with the contamination of food, and the potential for food poisoning, people involved in these activities are advised to take the following advice:

  • Take special care over the storage, handling and preparation of high risk foods: poultry, eggs, meat and meat products, fish, shellfish, creamy sauces and desserts. Don't use raw eggs in uncooked food.  
  • Ensure that all these foods are either stored at below 8oC, or cooked and held above 63oC.  
  • Ensure that there are sufficient cold storage facilities for all of these foods and the final dishes.
  • Ensure that hot food is thoroughly cooked.
  • Take steps to avoid cross contamination - separate food which will not undergo further preparation before eating.   
  • Buy and use good quality ingredients and clean salads and vegetables.
  • Ensure that raw meat and defrosting food cannot drip on to other foods. Store on the lower shelves of the refrigerator.
  • Clean the kitchen, preparation and storage areas before starting, and remove pets and dirty washing from the kitchen.
  • Ensure that all fridge temperatures are below 5oC and that fridges are not overloaded.
  • Where necessary, chill cooked foods as quickly as possible - but do not put straight in the fridge.
  • Cook meats and joints in small portions if possible.
  • Transport perishable and high risk foods in insulated containers.
  • Ensure that food is taken from its temperature controlled storage at the last moment.
  • Do not leave left-overs standing around - remove within two hours
  • Prepare raw and cooked food using separate utensils and chopping boards.
  • Thoroughly clean preparation areas after each use, using hot water and detergent. CLEAN AS YOU GO.
  • Wash hands regularly - particularly before touching food, after using the toilet and often during food preparation.
  • Do not prepare food if you have been ill with diarrhoea or vomiting.
  • Take extra care when preparing food for young children, pregnant women, the elderly or those who are sick.  
Pests

If there are pests at your food premises they are likely to damage and contaminate food. If discovered during an inspection, or as a result of a complaint, this could lead to your premises being closed under a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice, costing you money and potentially ruining the reputation of your business.

As a food business proprietor it is your responsibility to have appropriate arrangements in place to effectively prevent pests from entering.

The three main groups of pests that are encountered in food businesses are:

  • Rodents - rats and mice.
  • Insects - cockroaches, beetles, ants and flies.
  • Birds - pigeons etc

The legislation requires that businesses must ensure that the layout, design, construction and size of food premises permit good food hygiene practices, including protection against external sources of contamination such as pests.

The legislation also requires that adequate procedures be in place to ensure pests are controlled. Setting up a pest control contract is good practice, but remember that the ultimate responsibility for any pest problem lies with you, as the proprietor of the food business. Laying of baits and poisons should be left to the professionals however you can and should carry out visual checks of the premises for signs of pest presence.

If you suspect that you might have a pest problem, it is important to identify them in the early stages. This involves regular monitoring of your premises for the signs of pests described above. When signs of pests are detected, we recommend that you take the following steps to ensure that the health of your customers is not harmed and to remove the infestation:

  • Close the business until the pests have been effectively cleared from all food storage, preparation and service areas.
  • Engage a competent person to survey the premises and carry out such treatment as is necessary to remove the infestation. This means that you should call your pest control contractor or set up a pest control contract if you do not already have one.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect all equipment and surfaces that may have been contaminated by pests, including the floor, removing and disposing of any stock that may have been contaminated by pests. Care should be taken when cleaning as pest contamination can cause disease. Gloves should be worn.
  • Clean away all rodent droppings, dead cockroaches and cockroach egg cases from the premises.
  • Keep all food off the floor in sealed containers that are not accessible by pests.
  • Block off all holes in the premises that may afford access to rodents with a hard, gnaw resistant material.
  • Block all gaps under doors and fit pest screens to doors and windows that may be left open.
  • Fill all small crevices that may harbor cockroaches.
  • Fix leaky taps, cover toilet and deny all access to water to pests.
  • Dispose of any food that may have been contaminated by the mice, rats or cockroaches.
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