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Starting A Food Business

Before starting a food business there are several things you need to think about to ensure that your business complies with the law.

Q:    How do I register as a food business? 
It is a legal requirement for all food businesses (including home catering e.g. cakes, jams, B&B etc) operating within the Mendip District Council area to register.  Registration is free and as soon as we have received your application you are able to start trading. Register a food business.


Q:    Do I need a license before I can trade?
Depending upon the type of business you run you may need to seek a license in addition to registering your food business. Licenses are required for street trading, sale of alcohol, regulated entertainment and late night refreshment (sale of hot food/drink between the hours 23:00 and 05:30). Visit the Street Trading and Alcohol, entertainment and late night refreshment pages for further information.

If you have a mobile business (e.g. burger van, event caterer, market trader etc) please note the following:

  • You are not allowed to trade on any land owned by Mendip District Council.
  • If you wish to trade at the local markets you will need to contact the market organiser.
  • If you wish to trade on private land e.g. the car park of a store, you must gain permission of the land owner before you trade.
  • The police may ask you to move if they believe you are causing a road safety hazard.
  • Catering outside and at events can be challenging so you need to make sure you are well prepared.   Download a copy of the pdf icon Catering at shows and events [460kb]  guide.


Q:    Can I sell food I have made at home?

Yes you can. If you wish to sell food made at home on a regular basis e.g. cakes, quiche, jams and chutney etc, then you must register as a food business. pdf icon Guidance for home caterers [21kb] will provide you with useful information on running a food business from home.


Q:    Do I need a documented food safety management system?
Yes, it is a legal requirement that all food businesses have a documented food safety management system.  To assist you a  is available free of charge.  This will need to be filled out before you are inspected with daily records being maintained.  Failure to have a documented food safety management system will result in a low food hygiene rating.  If you require any assistance completing the pack, please contact the food safety team on 0300 303 8588.  We also recommend that you download the Safer Food Better Business document.


Q: Where can I find business support?

Visit the Growth Hub for business advice.




Last modified: 17 January 2017