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Register your food premises

Any premises that is to be used as a food business must be registered with us at least 28 days before opening. This includes market stalls, delivery vehicles and other portable structures.

This is a requirement of Article 6(2) of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs. It also allows us to keep up-to-date information about food businesses operating in our area. 

Once your premises is registered, we can provide advice and guidance in relation to food hygiene and safety. We will also visit your premises to carry out an inspection to identify how safely food is being prepared and produced. Following the initial inspection, the frequency of further visits will depend on the type of business, along with your practices and procedures.

Who needs to register

If you run a food business, you must inform us about any premises you are using for preparing, storing, selling and distributing food. Food premises include restaurants, pubs, caf├ęs, hotels, takeaways, shops, canteens, market stalls, mobile caterers, nurseries, schools and residential care homes. 

If you use vehicles for your food business in connection with permanent premises such as a shop or warehouse, you will only need to tell us the number you have. You are not required to register each vehicle separately. If you have one or more vehicles, but no permanent premises, you must inform us where they are normally kept.

There are certain premises which are exempt from registration. You do not need to register if food is handled at a one off event or if food is prepared only for occasional coffee mornings or charity functions. If you're unsure if you need to register your premises, read the Food Standard Agency's catering advice for charity and community groups or contact us.

If you're planning to start up a childminder business that provides food as part of the service, you do not need to register separately as a food business with us. This will happen automatically when you register with Ofsted. This only applies for registrations made on or after 1 January 2014.

Other exempt premises include:

  • certain agricultural premises
  • some domestic premises
  • some village halls
  • Approved premises

If you require more information on exemptions, please contact us.

Eligibility criteria

Your business must be operating within County Durham in order for you to register it with us. If you use premises in other areas, you need to register with each applicable council.

Any new food business must be registered with us at least 28 days before you begin trading.


There is no charge to register your food business with us.

Your application must be fully and accurately completed for it to be processed. If you operate a seasonal business for certain periods of the year, you should provide the dates between which your premises will be open.

Register your food business online or contact us to request application forms by post.

We are legally required to keep a list of registered food businesses which is available to view by the general public. Our target completion period for adding your food business to our register is 28 days. We aim to acknowledge your application within five working days of receipt. Please contact us if you have not received acknowledgement within 10 working days.

    If you have not heard from us by the end of the target completion period we specify for dealing with your application, you have the legal right to act as though your food premises have been registered. This is known as 'tacit consent'.

    We cannot refuse to register a food business. If for any reason your application is not dealt with satisfactorily or your business is already registered and you have grounds for complaint, please contact us.

    Notification of changes

    Once you register with us, you will only need to notify us of any significant change of activity or closure. Any changes regarding the operator of a food business should be notified by the new operator who will be required to complete an application form.  You can notify us of changes online or contact us in writing.


    Once your business is registered, it will be included in our Inspection of food businesses programme. The frequency of visits will depend on:

    • the type of business
    • what foods are made, stored or sold
    • the types of food made
    • the scale of the business
    • the risk to food safety
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    In partnership with

    • EUGO