Registering a new business 

Food businesses must register with the council at least 28 days before opening - registration is free and you can do this online.  

Registration applies to most types of food business, including catering businesses run from home and mobile or temporary premises, such as stalls and vans. 

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. 

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

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

Food Hygiene Inspection & Ratings

When you will be inspected

All food businesses are subject to inspection when they start trading and at regular intervals afterwards, according to the risk they present. 

The frequency of inspection is determined by the 'risk rating' given to the premises at the previous inspection. Most premises receive an inspection every one to two years, however, premises judged to be 'low risk' are subject to an 'alternative enforcement activity.' This means they will receive an alternative type of enforcement to an inspection. 

What to expect 

Officers can enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours, and you may request they show their authorisation. Most inspections are not announced however, in some circumstances such as home caterers, appointments are made first. 

  • Officers will introduce themselves and explain the purpose of the visit. 
  • Officers will behave in a courteous manner. 
  • Officers will ask you questions, make observations throughout the food rooms and may also speak to members of your staff. They may ask you to show them documentation relevant to the food business. 
Unhappy with your Rating? Request a Revisit/Appeal a Decision

Request a revisit 

If you complete all the work required in the inspection letter and report then you can ask for a re-visit before the next planned inspection. The hygiene standards in your premises will be reassessed and a new food hygiene rating will be given. This rating can go up, down or stay the same depending on our findings during the visit. 

You can ask at any time after you've taken action to make the necessary improvements that were identified at your inspection. You cannot, however, dictate when the re-visit will take place. 

You should put your request in writing to the Food Safety team. You can do that by completing the FHRS Revisit form. For more information please visit Food Standards Agency website.

You must explain what actions you have taken on the issues raised at your last inspection and you should include supporting evidence, for example, receipts or photographs to show that work has been completed. This is important as your request could be refused if you do not provide sufficient information and evidence. 

If the request is refused, you will be given an explanation of why and advice on any action you need to take or evidence you need to provide before your request can be agreed. If you do not agree with the local authority's decision to refuse your request, you can raise the matter with the Lead Officer for Food. If you cannot resolve matters with the Lead Officer for Food, you can use the council's complaints procedure

All revisits will cost £175.

We offer consultancy packages, including mock inspections, to help both newly registered and established businesses aim to achieve a high star rating. To find out more, visit our Trade With Confidence website

Visit Trade With Confidence  

Appeal a decision

If you consider that your rating score is unfair or wrong, in that it does not fairly reflect the hygiene standards/management controls found during the inspection, then you have the right to appeal. 

In the first instance, you should contact the inspecting officer whose name appears on the inspection letter and make your concerns known. The officer will explain how the rating score was determined and discuss a course of action. 

If you're still not satisfied you can appeal, you can make an appeal in writing within 21 days of being notified about your food hygiene rating or complete an Appeal Form. This period includes weekends and public holidays. 

If no appeal is received, then your food hygiene rating will be published online on the Food Standards Agency's website. If you appeal, then your rating will be 'awaiting publication'. 

The officer that gave the rating will not consider your appeal. A Lead Officer for food (or a designated deputy) will review your case. 

In some circumstances, a further visit to your premises may be required. You will be notified of the result of the appeal within a maximum of 21 days from the date that the appeal was received by your local authority. 

Once you have been notified of the result of your appeal, your rating will be published online on the Food Standards Agency's website, 

You can challenge the local authority's decision by judicial review. Even if you decide to do this, your rating will still be published. 

If you think that City of Wolverhampton Council has not followed processes properly, you can use the council's complaints procedure

Right to reply 

As the food business operator, you have a Right to Reply with regards to a good hygiene rating in following your inspection. 

This is different from an appeal. It is not for making complaints or for criticising the scheme or food safety officer. 

This Right to Reply allows you to give an explanation of subsequent actions that have been taken to make the required improvements as detailed in the inspection letter, or to explain any unusual circumstances at the time of the inspection. 

A business's right to reply will be published online by the local authority with the business's hygiene rating. The Council may edit your comments to remove any offensive, defamatory, clearly inaccurate or irrelevant remarks. 

The Right to Reply will remain on the website until you are given a new rating. 

We can help you to improve

Further information to help improve your business can be found on our Trade With Confidence website.  

Consultancy packages are available which have been designed to help all food business to improve standards.  There are several packages and resources available, including a Tailored package which can provide you with advice specific to your business needs. 

The purchase of the packages will give you access to expert advice from experienced food safety officers specific to your business needs but could also: 

  • Increase your chances of receiving or retaining a high food hygiene rating 
  • Give you reassurance and boost your confidence 
  • Avoid reputational damage 
  • Save your business money 

To find out more, or to book your consultancy package, visit our Trade With Confidence website

Visit Trade With Confidence

Food Safety Management Systems (HACCP / SFBB) 

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)

All 'food safety management procedures' should 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 (SFBB)

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 a printed and bound copy from our Trade with Confidence website. 

If you are running a Cake Maker Business from home you may find the  simplified HACCP in the Downloads section more appropriate.

More about HACCP

We offer printed resource packs to help business operators document their food safety management. To find out more, or to purchase a resource, visit our Trade With Confidence website

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E. coli and cross contamination 

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 the Food Standards Agency

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.

We offer consultancy packages to provide you and your staff with expert advice in food hygiene. To find out more or to book, visit our Trade With Confidence website.

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Temperature control 


Cooking food at the right temperature and for the correct length of time will ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed. Always check the advice on food packaging and follow the cooking instructions provided. For more information visit  the Food Standards Agency


Chilling food properly helps stop harmful bacteria from growing. For more information please visit: 

Chilling down Hot Food

Harmful bacteria can grow in food that is not chilled down as quickly as possible. The Food Standards Agency has an information leaflet on chilling down hot food.  

Hot Holding

It is very important to keep food hot until serving to prevent harmful bacteria from growing. The Food Standards Agency has an information leaflet on hot holding.   

We offer consultancy packages to provide you and your staff with expert advice in food hygiene. To find out more or to book, visit our Trade With Confidence website.


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Allergens, Natasha’s Law, packaging and labelling 

You need to inform your customers if any food products you sell or provide contain any of the main 14 allergens as an ingredient. 

The 14 allergens are: 

  1. Celery 
  2. Cereals containing gluten – including wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan), rye, barley and oats 
  3. Crustaceans – such as prawns, crabs and lobsters 
  4. Eggs 
  5. Fish 
  6. Lupin 
  7. Milk 
  8. Molluscs – such as mussels and oysters 
  9. Mustard 
  10. Tree nuts – including almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts 
  11. Peanuts 
  12. Sesame seeds 
  13. Soybeans 
  14. Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million) 

Packaging and Labelling

All food is subject to general food labelling requirements and any labelling provided must be accurate and not misleading. More information is available on the Food Standards Agency website.

There are a number of ways in which allergen information can be provided to your customers. You will need to choose the method which is best for your business and the type of food you serve. 

  • Prepacked foods refer to any food put into packaging before being placed on sale. For more information visit the Food Standards Agency website.  
  • Prepacked for Direct Sale (PPDS) are foods that have been packed on the same premises from which they are being sold.  For more information on PPDS and Natasha’s Law visit the Food Standards Agency website.
  • Non-prepacked food (loose food) is unpackaged food. If you provide non-prepacked foods, you must supply allergen information for every item that contains any of the 14 allergens. For more information visit the Food Standards Agency website.

View the Food Standard Agency’s video on food labelling and our training webinar on PPDS foods.

Distance Selling

Distance selling means any selling that happens without face-to-face contact with the consumer. For more information visit the Food Standards Agency website

Methods of selling include: 

  • Online 
  • Text messaging 
  • Phone calls 
  • Interactive TV 
  • Mail order 

Food business operators in the retail and catering sector are required to provide allergen information and follow labelling rules as set out in food law. This means that you must:  

  • Provide allergen information to the consumer for both pre-packed and non-prepacked food or drink 
  • Handle and manage food allergens adequately 
  • Make sure that your staff are trained about allergens 

We offer consultancy packages to provide you and your staff with expert advice in allergy management and food labelling. To find out more, or to book, visit our Trade With Confidence website.

Visit Trade With Confidence

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. 

Many food businesses prefer that food handlers hold a food hygiene certificate. However, can be learned by training while working, self-study or relevant previous experience. 

Food hygiene certificates don’t have an expiry date. However, refresher courses are available. 

You can obtain food hygiene information from the Food Standards Agency Website at: 


Effective pest control is essential to keep pests out of your premises and prevent them from spreading harmful bacteria. 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 immediately, 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. 

We offer consultancy packages to provide you and your staff with expert advice in food hygiene. To find out more or to book, visit our Trade With Confidence website.

Visit Trade With Confidence 

Waste contracts 

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.  

Find out more information on your responsibilities for food waste and commercial or business waste

There are many different waste management companies operating collection services locally including Council Waste.

Home catering 

Many people have an occasional need to prepare food at home for events such as parties and wedding receptions. However, if you prepare food regularly at home as a small business, you must notify the Environmental Health Department by completing a food premises registration form. You will then be contacted by an Environmental Health Officer.   
To minimise the risks associated with the contamination of food you need to follow the same food hygiene rules as any caterer.  

Pay particular attention to: 

  • Controlling E. coli 
  • Understanding allergens 
  • Food Safety Management Systems: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) / Safer Food Better Business (SFBB) 

However, in a home environment the following advice is also applicable: 

  • Clean the kitchen, preparation and storage areas before starting 
  • When preparing food for your business try to undertake this away from your ‘home life’ e.g., dirty laundry, pets, children 
  • Do not prepare food if you, or any of your household members 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 
  • Transport perishable and high-risk foods in insulated containers 
  • Although it is not a legal requirement to have a separate wash hand basin within a home catering environment, you still need to wash your hands regularly particularly before touching food, after using the toilet and often during food preparation 

Further guidance on how to become compliant and protect your customers when starting a food business from home please visit Starting a food business from your home.

Cake makers 

If you are a cake maker working from home please see our Cake Makers Information Leaflet and the more simplified Cake Makers HACCP documents in the Download section.

It is advisable to contact the local planning department to check that any proposed change to your home does not require planning permission. Find out more or contact City of Wolverhampton Planning Department or if you are in rented accommodation, please ensure that you seek your landlord’s permission first. 

We offer consultancy packages to provide you and your staff with expert advice in food hygiene, allergy management and food labelling. To find out more or to book, visit our Trade With Confidence website

Visit Trade With Confidence

Mobile catering 

Vehicle suitability

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. 

Licences and street trading consents 

If you wish to sell food or drink from a mobile unit you need to consider applying for a street trading consent with City of Wolverhampton Council before operating. For more information, please visit our Street Trading page.  

Food hygiene 

You will need to register your business and ensure you meet all relevant food hygiene requirements.  

We offer consultancy packages to provide you and your staff with expert advice in food hygiene, allergy management and food labelling. To find out more or to book, visit our Trade With Confidence website

Visit Trade With Confidence

Single Use Plastic Ban

From 1 October 2023, businesses must no longer supply, sell or offer certain single-use plastic items in England.

The ban will apply to retailers, takeaways, food vendors and the hospitality industry and the ban will apply to online and over-the-counter sales.

The ban includes all single-use plastic cutlery, trays, plates, bowls, and balloon sticks, as well as banning the use of certain types of polystyrene cups and food containers used to supply food which is ready to consume.

The ban on these items include:
•    online and over-the-counter sales and supply
•    items from new and existing stock
•    all types of single-use plastic, including biodegradable, compostable and recycled
•    items wholly or partly made from plastic, including coating or lining

‘Single use’ means the item is meant to be used only once for its original purpose.

Polystyrene means expanded and extruded polystyrene.

If you continue to supply banned single-use plastics after 1 October, you could be fined.


There are some exemptions to the ban, depending on the item.

Plates, bowls and trays

You can still supply single-use plastic plates, bowls and trays if either of the following apply:

  • you are supplying them to another business
  • the items are in packaging (pre-filled or filled at the point of sale)

Examples of this type of packaging include:

  • a pre-filled salad bowl or ready meal packaged in a tray
  • a plate filled at the counter of a takeaway
  • a tray used to deliver food

Polystyrene food and drink containers

You can still supply food or drink in polystyrene containers if it needs further preparation before it is consumed. For example, further preparation could mean:

  • adding water
  • microwaving
  • toasting


Research shows people across England use 2.7 billion items of mostly plastic single-use cutlery and 721 million single-use plates every year, but only 10% of these are recycled. If 2.7 billion pieces of cutlery were lined up, they would go round the world more than eight-and-a-half times.

What you can do

  • find re-usable alternatives to single-use items
  • use different materials for single-use plastic items

More Information

You can read more about this change and exemptions to it in guidance published by The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) by visiting Single-use plastics ban: plates, bowls, trays, containers, cutlery and balloon sticks.

If you have any questions about what the new rules mean for your business, contact

Importing and exporting  

Find out how Brexit rules apply to doing business with Europe by visiting Brexit Guidance for Businesses

If you plan to either Import or Export Food and Drink from the EU or outside of the EU, view the Business Companion Guides.

More information regarding Exporting Food and Drink can be found by visiting the Food Standards Agency.

Export certificates

We can help you with your Export Certificate. To find out more, or to purchase a certificate, visit our Trade With Confidence website.

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If your business sells or proposes to sell alcohol, hot food after 11pm or have entertainment, the premises will need to have the appropriate licence. 

If you have A-Boards, Tables and Chairs and Goods which are placed on part of the Public Highway, then a licence is required from the local authority. 

Visit Licensing to find out more.  

If you operate a mobile food premises which trades on a regular pitch, either on the highway or private land, within Wolverhampton you will need to obtain a street trader consent


Before you set up 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.  

Visit Planning to find out more.  

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, such as: 

  • 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 Business Rates

Health and safety 

You can find more information on Health & Safety from the Health & Safety Executive: