Registrations - food businesses
The purpose of registration is to give the Council, who are responsible for enforcing food law, a complete picture of all the food business in their area, so that enforcement resources can be effectively utilised and inspection programs properly planned. The obligation to register and to notify changes in ownership of a food business falls to the food business operator.
Registering your business
It is a legal requirement when starting up or taking over ownership of a food business to register that premise with your local Environmental Health Department at least 28 days before opening or taking over ownership of the business.
Exeter City Council can only register businesses in Exeter.
Who needs to register?
The majority of food business establishments need to be registered.
The registration of a food business applies to:
This also includes
However, you do not need to register if your business is only engaged in farming activities or the direct supply of small quantities of those farmed products (fruit, vegetables, eggs, honey etc.) to the final consumer or to a local trader directly supplying the final consumer.
When do I need to register?
You should register your food business establishment at least 28 days before food operations commence.
Complete a registration form online: Register a Food Business in Exeter
Alternatively, you download the Food registration [86kb] form and return it to:
How much does registration cost?
There is no charge for registration and the Council cannot refuse to register premises.
What happens to the information given on the form?
Exeter City Council is required to maintain a list of food business establishments registered with them and make it available for inspection by the general public at all reasonable times. The list will contain the name, address and type of food business.
Requests for information on food business establishments which is not included in the list will be handled with due regard to Freedom of Information and Data Protection legislation.
Can I have a Certificate of Registration?
Exeter City Council does not issue Certificates of Registration because of their potential to mislead consumers into believing that a food business has "official approval".
However, if requested, we will confirm safe receipt of the registration form and the entry of your establishment onto the list of registered food business establishments.
What if I change my activities or sell the food business?
You must ensure that Exeter City Council always has up-to-date information about your food business establishment and must notify us, preferably in writing and within 28 days, of any significant changes of activities, or closure. Notification of a change of operator should be made by the new food business operator.
What happens if I have two or more food businesses on the same site?
You must ensure that each establishment under your control is registered separately. You should therefore complete a registration form for each separate establishment.
What if I share my site with one or more food business establishments under the control of different food business operators?
Each of those operators must register their businesses separately. For example, an independently owned coffee shop within a supermarket will not be covered by the supermarket's registration and must be registered in its own right by its operator. Coffee shops, snack bars etc. operated by the supermarket itself would be covered as part of the supermarket's registration.
What about registering ships, aircraft trains and coaches?
Ships, aircraft, trains and long distance coaches are subject to the relevant provisions of food hygiene legislation; however, their moveable nature means there is no requirement for registration.
Vessels which are permanently moored (e.g. floating restaurants), and those which ply their trade on inland waterways (e.g. pleasure craft), must be registered with the Food Authority in the area in which they are ordinarily kept.
The only food on my premises comes from vending machines. Do I need to register?
Vending machines are subject to the relevant provisions of food hygiene legislation but registration is not required if the only food-related activity on your premises relates solely to these machines.
I operate a market stall. Do I need to register?
If you use a vehicle and/or stall (regardless of whether the stall is provided by the controller of the market) for transporting or preparing food or for the sale of food to consumers within the area of a market, you should register the place where your stocks of food to be sold are ordinarily kept. This could be your home address, a warehouse etc.
If the controller of the market is also the provider of permanent units (and not simply stalls) within a market, you should register that unit as your food business.
What about registering mobile food vendors?
Moveable establishments, other than those which form part of a market or operate within the area of a market, e.g. ice cream vans, hot dog vendors etc. should be registered by the food business operator with the Food Authority in the area in which they are ordinarily kept. Therefore, if you normally keep your van at home in Exeter, you should register the food business establishment with Exeter City Council.
The Licensing Act 2003
This legislation requires that certain premises have to obtain a premises licence to enable serving of alcohol for consumption on or off the premises and also for the provision of regulated entertainment e.g. dancing or live or recorded music.
Additionally premises, including mobile vehicles serving hot food or hot drinks to the public for consumption between the hours of 11pm and 5am will require a premises licence. It is an offence to undertake such activities without a licence.
Further information can be obtained from Licences and street trading
If you have any questions regarding the registration or setting up of your food business please contact a member of the Environmental Health Business Support Team on 01392 265193 who will refer you to a Environmental Health Officer.
Please be aware you may need to speak to other departments regarding the setting up of you business.
Other information on Starting up - Your First Steps to Running a Catering Business is available from the Food Standards Agency.
For information on the training courses run by Exeter City Council please visit Environmental health training.
We also offer a free Hygiene Awareness Session aimed at new food business operators which aims to help you successfully comply with food hygiene legislation.