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Food premises approval

Some food businesses require approval instead of registration.

meat, dairy, egg or fish

What you need to know before applying

You may be considering diversifying your food business to provide food for delivery or takeaway. This guidance will help ensure you trade safely.

Guidance on food delivery and takeaway [2MB]

Food premises that need approval

Approval may be required if you produce or handle products of animal origin, for example meat, which are then supplied to other food business establishments. This is a requirement of European Community Directive 853/2004. In general, the following types of food business establishment will require approval:

  • food manufacturers producing products of animal origin
  • home caterers selling products of animal origin to other businesses
  • central production kitchens which supply catering establishments or retailers
  • stand-alone cold stores
  • establishments that pack or wrap (or repack or re-wrap) products of animal origin such as meat fish dairy or egg products

There are some exemptions from approval. If you are supplying products of animal origin directly to the consumer and also to other businesses then providing the following applies, you will be exempt from the approval requirements.

  • The supply to other businesses must be just a small part of your overall business (up to 25%) and within a local area.

If you think this exemption may apply please contact the Food Health and Safety team for further advice. 

Premises that don't require approval

In general the following types of food business establishments will not require approval as long as food is not sold on to other food business establishments:

  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • takeaway shops
  • supermarkets and other retailers
  • mobile food units
  • delivery vans
  • wholesale warehouses
  • workplace or institutional catering operations

In this case only registration is required.

Evaluation process

  1. Once we receive your application and all the required documents, an officer from the Food Safety team will arrange to visit the premises to carry out an inspection and to examine and discuss with you your food safety procedures.
  2. Approval at this stage will be granted conditionally for a period of three months if the officer is satisfied that the structure and equipment requirements are satisfactory and that you are able to produce food safely.
  3. A second visit will be made three months after the granting of conditional approval. At this stage you will need to be implementing documented food safety procedures and complying with all parts of the legislation.
  4. Providing this is the case you will then be granted full approval and allocated a unique identification mark (an oval mark).
  5. This should then be applied to labelling or packaging on products or be used on documents that accompany the products. The approval will be notified to the Food Standards Agency who maintain a national database of all approved premises.

Note: If any part of your business requires approval you will not be able to operate until you have completed the application form, had an inspection and you have received confirmation of your conditional approval from the local authority.

How to apply 

Fees and charges

There is no fee involved for the application or approval. The approval is a one-off procedure.

Application forms

An online application will require you to be registered with gov.uk, an easy process that gives you an online account that you can use across different government services. We aim to acknowledge your application within three working days. If you have applied online we will acknowledge your application via email.

Food premises approval

Change a food premises approval

Once the application form is complete, email, post, fax or hand-deliver it to the Food Safety team.

What happens next

We will process your application as quickly as possible and, in any event, aim to process the application within 90 calendar days. If your notification is not processed within the timescales stated tacit consent will not apply. This means that there a risk to public safety, so it is in the public interest that the local authority must process your application before it can grant an approval. If we have not contacted you by the end of the target completion period, please get in touch with us.

Complaints about approved food premises

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint, the first contact is made with the trader by you, preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice consumer service will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other redress

Should you need to complain about, for example, noise or pollution, please contact the council's customer contact centre in the first instance.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 31 Mar 2020 at 16:22