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Starting a food business

You will need to consider how you will manage your business to ensure that the food is safe for your customers to eat. Many businesses base their systems on the Food Standards Agency's pack called Safer Food, Better Business. Thought should also be given to what training you and your staff should have. You cannot run a food business if you are a prohibited person.

If you store, prepare, distribute or sell food from premises in this district you need to be registered with us. (This includes premises such as restaurants, cafes, hotels, shops, canteens, market stalls, mobile vehicles if they are garaged or are permanently located in the district). There is no fee, but you must register your business at least 28 days before opening. Register online.

Once we have received your registration, we will inspect your premises within 28 days to ensure that you are compliant with food hygiene laws. Most businesses will be given a food hygiene rating based on what is found during the inspection. In the meantime, if you would like to display a 'waiting inspection' rating sticker, please let us know. When registering, if you have not heard from us within 28 days you will be able to operate the business.

You may need to be approved by us or the Food Standards Agency (FSA) rather than be registered if you manufacture or process meat, poultry and fish or products of animal origin, for example, milk. If you are unsure, please contact us. You can apply for approval online or download an approval form (PDF) to complete, there is no fee for approval.

If seeking approval, the process may take longer than 28 days and you may not operate as an approved business until after the food officer's visit and an approval has been issued - this may take up to 3 months.

After the inspection, we will carry out a risk assessment of your business which will dictate the frequency of future inspections. Once registered or approved, you will need to notify us of any changes in the business within 28 days.

If you are a mobile trader, other licences and restrictions may apply, further information can be found under Street Trading.

Rules on allergens

Information on allergens must be provided for customers for each item sold - it is not acceptable to provide a general statement that allergens are handled in the premises. Allergen information must be clear and in an obvious place, for example a menu, chalkboard, information pack or given orally. Where goods are sold online or ordered by telephone, allergy information must be made available before the purchase concludes and must also be made available when the food is delivered. If you would like further information on this, please visit the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website. If you would like to speak to somebody for further advice, please contact Essex County Council Trading Standards as they are the enforcing authority on food labelling and allergen work.

List of food businesses registered with Maldon District Council.

If you are planning to start a food business in the Maldon District, you can contact us for advice.