Food business registration

Any premises that stores, sells, distributes or prepares food are required to register with Wirral Council.

Food premises includes:

  • restaurants, cafes and takeaways
  • catering businesses run from home, B&Bs, mobile catering and temporary businesses
  • marquees, food stalls, food pop ups and food vans
  • nurseries, schools and care homes
  • distance selling, mail order and food delivery including online

You will need to register your food business if you:

  • sell food
  • cook food
  • store or handle food
  • prepare food
  • distribute food

Companies involved with food distribution or food supply that operate from an office should also register as food businesses. This applies even if no food is kept at the premises.

If you use vehicles for your food business in connection with permanent premises you only need to tell the local authority how many vehicles you have.

If you have one or more vehicles but no permanent premises, you must tell the authority where they are normally kept.

Anyone starting a new food business must register with the local authority at least 28 days before trading commences. 

Registering your business will help ensure you are operating safely and give you access to support from the council’s Environmental Health team. Registering your business early and getting advice and guidance helps prepare for inspections and will help give you food business the best chance of getting the best rating of 5 under the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

You and your business will get the support that you need to operate safely and you’ll be recognised as a legitimate food business. You will also be registered for the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme which many consumers look for when deciding where to eat or order food from.

Processing and timescales

When an application is received by the Food Standards Agency, they will securely pass your details to us. We will enter details of your business onto our register; this is open to inspection by the general public. Records of the other information provided will not be publicly available unless they are covered by The Freedom of Information Act.

Your premises will then be allocated to an officer to undertake the first food hygiene inspection. During the inspection, we will ask to see your food safety management documentation such as a hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) procedure or a Safer Food Better Business pack (SFBB), monitoring records, training records and pest control records. Please see the Food Hygiene and Safety page for further information.


It is an offence to be operating without registering a food business with the council and could result in a fine or imprisonment.

Summary of the regulations relating to food business registration.

Starting a food business

Find out more about starting a food business on the Food Standards Agency website


If you haven't had an inspection but have registered your business, you can still trade. The details of your food business will be entered onto the council’s central database system, and once you have received confirmation of the registration, you can begin trading. An officer will then be allocated to undertake the first food hygiene inspection.


The application form below will take you to the Food Standards Agency website where you will be able to register. We are no longer able to accept paper copies directly. Registration is free and your food business cannot be refused at the application process.

Food business application form

Report a problem

Report a concern about:

  • an application
  • practices at a registered premises  

Report a concern