Food Business - Registration

In this section you will be able to register your business, view useful publications and be advised on good practice so that your business will comply with food hygiene legislation. We have prepared an information sheet to help you if you are starting a food business in Mid Sussex. This includes advice on how to maximise your chances of achieving a good score under the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme when your business premises are inspected. There is also advice available from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in a booklet called Starting Up.

Food business - Registration

If you wish to run a food business in Mid Sussex, you will need to register with us. Food business operators must register their food business establishment with the local authority at least 28 days before food operations commence. “Food business operator” is the person/s responsible for ensuring that the requirements of food law are met within the food business under their control. “Food business” means any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any of the activities related to any stage of production, processing and distribution of food. This includes restaurants, hotels, cafes, shops, supermarkets, food manufacturers, home caterers, warehouses, guest houses, delivery vehicles, buffet cars on trains, market and other stalls, hot dog and ice cream vans etc.

“Tacit consent” applies- this means that you will be able to operate your food business even if you have not heard from Mid Sussex District Council about your food premises inspection.

If you intend to set up business as a caterer or food retail outlet selling directly to the public, you will normally only need to be registered. Certain types of food premises, generally manufacturers of products of animal origins, such as dairies, meat product manufacture or wholesale fish markets have to be approved rather than registered before they start trading. A list of these types of businesses is included at the bottom of the page.

How do I register?

Register Online

Paper Registration

Please print out the form below, complete and post to the Food Safety Team.

Inspections and Food Hygiene Ratings

Once we have received your registration, we will inspect your premises shortly after. It is a legal requirement for every food business to have a documented food safety management system which is reviewed regularly. During the food hygiene inspection of your premises, we will ask to see your food safety management documentation such as a hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) procedure or 'Safer Food Better Business' pack, monitoring records, training records and pest control records. There are separate packs available designed to meet the needs of different food businesses such as small caterers, retailers, child-minders, Chinese cuisine and for Indian, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan cuisines. For further information see the Food Safety Management page of our website. 

Officers will always give you feedback on an inspection, advising you of hazards and contraventions they have identified and how they can be avoided or remedied. You will be issued with a copy of the inspection report form at the end of the inspection. The inspection will be used to establish your Food Hygiene Rating. As part of the scheme, businesses are given a certificate showing the rating achieved, which they are asked to display. You may appeal against your score, request a revisit to be rescored and/or post a "right of reply" on the scores that appear on the Food Standards Agency website. Food business operators can use the following forms to request any of these services:

The FSA has produced a safeguards for food businesses guide, which sets out further information about the procedures for appeal, right to reply and request for a revisit. We have also produced a food hygiene checklist that shows how a food business operator can achieve a higher rating.


It is a legal requirement for food business operators to make sure all food handlers are supervised, instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters in line with their work activity. For all but the most basic food-related jobs, this will involve the person training on a one-day level two food hygiene course.

Personal Hygiene Requirements and Excluding Staff from Work

Anyone involved in a food business should have a high standard of personal and general hygiene. This reduces the risk of contamination and helps to prevent food poisoning. See the Food Hygiene Guidelines page of our website which also sets out the requirements and circumstances for excluding staff from work if they are ill with sickness and diarrhoea.

Requirements for Toilet Facilities

If you are providing refreshments for customers that are to be consumed on the premises, you will need to consider your maximum seating (internal and external seating) and provide the appropriate number of toilets. In addition it is a legal requirement to provide toilet facilities for staff. To help you comply we have produced a Provision of Toilets in Food Establishments in Mid Sussex information sheet.

Approved Food Business Establishments

If you intend to set up a business that manufactures or handles (e.g. slicing and wrapping) products of animal origin for sale onto other businesses, your premises may have to be approved instead of being registered. Tacit consent does not apply and it is a legal requirement that approval, if needed, is obtained before starting to trade.

To obtain approval, you will need to meet certain standards, relating to both structure and hygiene. This will include the need to have a documented food safety management system to show how you intend to ensure the food you produce is safe.

You will also be required to apply an identification mark to your end product. The identification mark is an oval shaped mark containing a number which is unique to your business and is supplied by your local authority. This mark provides a means of tracing the product back to the place of production/wrapping, and provides confirmation that certain standards have been achieved by that business.

Food of animal origin includes:

  • Meat and poultry whether fresh, frozen or cooked;
  • Meat products, such as pies, sausage rolls, faggots, black pudding and bacon;
  • Raw or partially cooked minced meat or meat preparation such as sausages, burgers, marinated raw meat and kebab meat;
  • Fish and fish products such as filleting fish, fish fingers, prawns, lobsters, crabs and crayfish, whether dead or alive.
  • Live bivalve molluscs, such as oysters;
  • Ready meals containing fish or meat;
  • Milk and dairy products such as butter, cream, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream;
  • Frogs legs and snails;
  • Rendered animal fats and other animal by-products such as gelatine, collagen, stomachs, bladders and intestines; 
  • Honey: 
  • Blood.

The above is not an exhaustive list, and because approved food businesses are covered by quite complex legislation, you should contact us to speak to an Officer from the Food and Safety Team at a very early stage.


Food Safety Team
Tel: (01444) 477433