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Services in Christchurch

Register a food business

All food business operators have to ensure that their business is complying with the relevant food hygiene and structural regulations in order to ensure food produced is safe for consumers.

If you plan to start a new food business it is advisable to contact the local authority food team in the district you will be operating before you start as they can provide advice and guidance to make sure you get it right first time.

We are happy to offer assistance and advice to businesses to help them meet their legal obligations and generally enjoy a very good working relationship with business proprietors.

Food business registration

Food safety law requires all food businesses to register 28 days before starting food operations. Food operations include:

  • selling food
  • cooking food
  • storing or handling food
  • preparing food
  • distributing food

Registration is free and only needs to be done once, unless there are any changes of circumstances (such as a change of food business operator or in the type of food handled or prepared).

Register a food business

You need to register with the local authority where your food business is based. In the case of mobile traders this is the home address or place where a mobile vehicle is kept.

Will tacit consent apply?

No, it is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact your local authority food team.


Some businesses that process products of animal origin (making cheese, meat and fish products) may need approval from the local authority food team to operate. Therefore, contacting this service at an early business planning stage is encouraged.

The local authority also acts as the home authority for a number of businesses in the Dorset area. This means that we will help other councils from around the country when dealing with products manufactured at the premises in our area. It also means that we work on a partnership basis with the business concerned, advising them on and approving their various food safety management systems.

More information

For more details on the requirements of starting up a new food business please see information for caterers.

Guidance for new food businesses

Local authorities in Dorset have prepared a document giving guidance for new food businesses to help you understand clearly what you need to do to meet the food safety laws that apply to all food businesses.

The guidance also provides other important information that you need to consider when setting up a new food business.

Consumer complaints

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 of a letter. If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Directwill give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre link - for non UK complaints.

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