Starting a Food Business

New food businesses

For most businesses it is a legal requirement to register with environmental health at least 4 weeks before the intended opening date. You can download a copy of the application form to register your food premises by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

Specific advice will be given depending on the circumstances. Where necessary an officer will arrange to visit the site of your business and give advice on the legal requirements relating to environmental health.

Once a new business has opened environmental health staff will make an initial inspection soon after you have opened. During the inspection the officer will make an assessment of the risks and decide how often revisits to premises will be made. The risk will depend on the type of food sold, the scale of production, how food is handled and stored and the condition of the premises.

Food manufacturers

Food manufacturers may need special approval under European legislation. These include manufacturers of:
  • meat and fish products
  • meat preparations
  • milk products

Again, please contact us for advice.


If you intend to sell takeaway food after 23.30 you will need to register as a takeaway cafe.

Late night opening

If you intend to open between 22.00 and 05.00 for consumption of food on the premises you may need to be licensed as a late night refreshment house.

Liquor licence

With changes under the Licensing Act 2003, if you wish to sell alcohol from the premises you will require a premises licence and personal licence.  These licences are issued by Allerdale Borough Council and not by the local magistrates court. Further information is available from the Licensing and Land Charges Section, email or phone 030 123 1702.

Planning permission

If you are starting a food business in a premises that has not been used previously for this purpose you may need to obtain planning permission. This will probably not apply if you just want to start a retail food business in a building already used as a different type of retail shop but may apply if you wish to start a hot food takeaway or restaurant. Please check with the Planning Department by emailing or phoning on the following phone numbers: North Allerdale: 01900 702740
South Allerdale: 0303 123 1702.

Statutory nuisance to others

It is necessary to ensure that your premises are not the cause of a statutory nuisance to others in neighbouring properties. This covers matters such as smoke, fumes, gases, dust, steam, smell, noise or accumulations or deposits that are prejudicial to health or a nuisance. Environmental health can advise on the likely problems which may arise. Certain planning conditions may apply to control these problems.

Storage and disposal of waste

Adequate arrangements must be made for storage and disposal of waste. You must ensure that the company that removes your waste is registered as a 'Waste Carrier' with your local authority. It will also be necessary for you to keep details in relation to the type of waste, amount produced and details of the company removing waste for a period of two years. Information regarding the Council's service is available by emailing, or phoning 01900 702820.

Public sanitary accommodation

You will need to provide public toilets if you are running a business classed as a place of entertainment or you are selling food or drink to the public for consumption on the premises.

Health & Safety

Every employer has a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all your employees, customers, visitors and on site contractors and this may impact on the design, construction and operation of food premises. You should therefore assess the risk to the health, safety and welfare of anyone who is affected by the undertakings of the business. An assessment of risk is no more than a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people.

You must then decide whether you have taken adequate precautions to control these risks or should do more to prevent them. The aim is to make sure that no-one gets hurt or becomes ill. Accidents and ill health can ruin lives, and affect your business too if output is lost. If you have fewer than five employees you do not need to write anything down, but if you have five or more employees you must record the findings of your assessment. The Food and Occupational Health Team can advise you of the legal health and safety requirements.

Downloadable Documents

All documents open in a new window.
File nameSizeApproximate Download time
Adobe PDF format - download the viewerFood Business Registration Form in PDF format27 Kb4 secs @ 56k, 0 secs @ 2mb
Microsoft Word formatFood Business Registration Form in Word format90 Kb13 secs @ 56k, 0 secs @ 2mb

Get Adobe Acrobat ReaderDownload Acrobat PDF Reader (external website). Acrobat PDF Reader allows you to view PDF files.

Get Microsoft Word ViewerDownload Microsoft Word Viewer (external website). Microsoft Word Viewer allows you to view Word documents even if you don't have Word installed on your computer.

Carlisle City Council logo   Cumbria County Council

Copeland District Council logo   Eden District Council logo


Contact us

0303 123 1702

Allerdale Borough Council
Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ