Starting a food business

Knowsley Council wants to support businesses to grow and succeed. It is important that food businesses get things right before they start to trade. A good hygiene score helps food businesses to have a reputation. Food poisoning and poor hygiene ratings are not good for business.  

What must I do? 

Register your food business with the council  

In most cases, food businesses must be registered trading in Knowsley must be registered with the Council. Mobile units e.g., food vans, must be registered with the council that covers where they are usually garaged overnight. You must also submit a registration form if you take over an existing food business. There is no fee for registering a food business. Businesses should be registered with the Council at least 28 days before the planned opening date. Registration forms can be completed online.  

Ensure that your premises and equipment comply with the law

The law requires that food businesses comply with certain legal requirements. Food premises must be large enough and organised in a way that allows food to be prepared safely. Food premises must be constructed and maintained in a way that allows safe food preparation to take place and to allow effective cleaning and disinfection. Adequate facilities for cleaning must be provided (including, where necessary, facilities for cleaning equipment and food). An adequate number of suitably located washbasins must be provided. Appropriate procedures must be put in place to control pests.  

Further information on food premises can be found at on the Food Standards Agenecy website

Put in place a food safety management system 

Most businesses that handle high-risk foods will need to have a documented food safety management system. Catering businesses that do not have an effective food safety management system will generally be rated poorly on the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.  

The Safer Food Better Business system is a simple and effective way for food businesses to comply with the law. Information about the Safer Food Better Business system can be found on the Food Standards Agency website. Copies of the Safer Food Better Business pack can be freely downloaded from this webpage.  

Manage allergens safely 

The law requires that food businesses provide consumers with information about the presence of certain allergens in foods. There are different legal requirements if you sell pre-packed foods made by another business, sell pre-packed foods that you have made yourself for sale in your own premises, or sell loose foods e.g., in a takeaway.  

Information about allergens can be found on the Food Standards Agency website

Comply with hygiene rules  

Food businesses must ensure that food is stored, handled, prepared, cooked, and transported safely. Food must be protected from contamination by harmful bacteria, chemicals, and other harmful substances.  Food must be stored, cooked, and handled at safe temperatures.  

Information about the hygiene rules that you must follow can be found at: on the Food Standards Agency website.

Ensure that food handlers are trained or instructed or supervised appropriately 

The law requires that food handlers are either trained or instructed or supervised in matters of food safety at a level that is appropriate for their work. It is often a good idea for staff members to receive food hygiene training if they prepare food as part of their job.  

Check that you have and comply with any other licensing requirements or permissions 

You may also need a licence from the council if you plan to do any of the following: 

  • Sell alcohol 
  • Sell hot food for consumption on or off the premises in the hours between 11pm and 5am
  • Provide certain regulated entertainments e.g., live music and dancing.  
  • Sell food on the street.  

Read more details about licensing in Knowsley.

You may also need to apply for planning permission if you change the existing use of premises or make alterations to premises.You may also be required to comply with any planning restrictions on the building is used e.g., restrictions on opening hours. Information on planning can found at online.

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