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What you need to do to register a food business, who needs to register and how to make a complaint.

What food businesses need to do

1. Register with the council

All food premises must be registered with the local authority (Regulation (EC) No 852/2004). Registration of premises used for a food business (including market stalls, delivery vehicles and other moveable structures) is required by law.

Registration enables Local Authorities to keep an up-to-date list of all those premises in their area so they can visit or contact them when they need to.

2. Have a written food safety management plan and procedures

Food businesses have a clear legal duty to make sure that food served or sold to customers is safe to eat.

A written food safety management plan and procedures, based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) principles, must be put in place, implemented and maintained.

For further information visit the Food Standards Agency.

Who needs to register

  • Anyone who runs a food business in Bristol must register any premises with Bristol City Council used for storing, selling, distributing or preparing food or drink.
  • Anyone starting a new food business must register it with the Local Authority at least 28 days before doing so.

Food premises

The food premises that must register include:

  • restaurants
  • hotels
  • cafes
  • pubs
  • bars
  • shops
  • supermarkets
  • staff canteens
  • home caterers
  • kitchens in offices
  • warehouses
  • guest houses
  • delivery vehicles
  • buffet cars on trains
  • market/other stalls
  • hot dog stalls
  • ice cream vans

This includes premises that only or mainly sell drinks. 

If you use vehicles for your food business in connection with a permanent premises such as a shop, or warehouse you only need to tell the Local Authority how many vehicles you have. You do not need to register each vehicle separately.

If you have one or more vehicles, but no permanent premises, you must tell the Authority where they are normally kept.


Childminders based in Bristol that provide meals and snacks as a regular part of their service will be viewed as food businesses and will need to be inspected by the Food Safety Team at Bristol City Council. 

From January 2014 when child-minders register with Ofsted they are automatically referred to the relevant local authority for food business registration. 

Childminders that only provide mains drinking water, the occasional birthday cake or look after packed lunches provided by parents will generally not be considered food premises.

For more information see Food Standards Agency advice.

Community or charitable food organisation

If you're a community or charitable food organisation and you think you need to register, you can check the Food Standards Agency guidance on the application of EU food hygiene law to community and charity food provision.

If you're still not sure, email food.safety@bristol.gov.uk with the address of the kitchen you use most often and you will be put in touch with the relevant district officer.

Register a food business

Register a food business online (GOV.UK)

There is no fee required with the application.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent will apply once we've received the signed registration form your business is registered with the council.

What happens to the information given on the form

Any details collected are entered onto our register. A register of addresses and the type of business carried on at each is open to inspection by the general public, but records of other information provided is not publicly available.

Once we have added your information to the register we will send you a confirmation letter giving the details we hold for you so that you can check they are right.

Registration changes

Although your registration does not expire, once you have registered with Bristol City Council you do need to notify us if:

  • there is a change of proprietor
  • the name of the business changes
  • the nature of the business changes
  • there is a change of the address at which moveable premises are kept

A new proprietor will have to complete a new application form.

If Bristol City Council wishes to change the entry in the register because of information which it receives from someone else you will be given 28 days notice and an opportunity to comment on the proposed change.

Applicant complaints 

Please contact us in the first instance.

Consumer complaint

If you have a complaint about a food business or their food, first complain to the food business operator. If you are not satisfied with their response then you should contact us.

Contact information

Food Safety team

Bristol City Council
PO Box 3399
Bristol, BS1 9NE

Contact details

Email: food.safety@bristol.gov.uk
Tel: 0117 922 2500