Starting a food business
Before opening your business, we can help you with the following:
Registering your food business
Premises being used for a food business (including market stalls, delivery vehicles and other movable structures) are required by law to register with their local council. There is no fee payable for registration.
Before you register
Please check if the location of your food business is within the London Borough of Brent before using the online form. You can check which borough is responsible by using the Find your local council online search, and entering the postcode address.
Meat, fish, dairy or eggs
If a food business produces foods that contain meat, fish, dairy or eggs and they supply these foods to other business such as food manufacturers, retail shops, central production kitchens, standalone cold stores, companies that pack or wrap products etc and/or export these foods they may require official Approval. If they do require Approval they will not be able to carry out this food activity until the council has inspected them and provided them with a unique Approval Number. Please contact us for an Approval Application form.
Once the process is completed, the Food Standards Agency will be informed.
Contact us on 0208 937 5252 or email@example.com for further information on the EC Approval Application process.
Food Business Schemes
We are now offering food and drink businesses the opportunity to opt into our Food Business Start Up Scheme or our Start Up Coaching Service.
Both schemes are suitable for any restaurants/take away/caterers to help them develop their skills and systems and ultimately to obtain a satisfactory Food Hygiene Rating of 3 (generally satisfactory), 4 (good) or 5 (very good).
To take advantage of this support and to obtain further information on the schemes and fees please contact the Food Safety Team or call 0208 937 5252.
Our guide includes information about:
Licenses and Export Certificates
LicensesBusinesses that sell alcohol and/or trade late may need a licence for alcohol, entertainment and late opening.
Businesses that trade from vehicles, trailers or stalls may need a street trading licence.
A full list of council Licences can be found on Get a Licence.
Find more information on business licensing.
Food export health certificates
We are able to supply health certificates for a small charge.
A health certificate is a document required to export some foods into certain countries.
Not all certificates are the same. Destination countries have different requirements. It is the exporter’s responsibility to ascertain the requirements of the destination country, including the required wording of any health certificate.
The following information must be provided in order to process any application. The information should be supplied at least three working days before the certificate is required, although we do offer a next day service, for a higher fee:
- despatch date
- importers name and address
- name and address of producer/supplier
- means of transport i.e. air / ship
- the precise wording required on the certificate
- name (or description) of the food
- quantity of food (in words and figures)
- batches identification, for example, "200 (two hundred) x 1 (one) litre cartons of orange juice"
- any analyst report required by Brent Council
- full payment
Food businesses which export
If you wish to export Products of Animal Origin (POAO) such as meat, fish, shellfish, egg products and dairy products to the European Union (EU) or move such products to Northern Ireland (NI) may require an Export Health Certificate (EHC) to export.
- You will need to apply and get your application certified via EHC Online.
- You can prepare now by registering for EHC Online, and viewing the specimen EU EHCs and Notes for Guidance.
Cold Stores and distribution centres
Cold Stores and distribution centres that form part of single supply chain specifically to a single supplier, such as a major UK food retailer/Supermarket planning to export POAO to NI or EU, may also need an EHC.
You will need to contact the Food Standards Agency (firstname.lastname@example.org) providing them with company, details; supply chain and local authority contact details. For full details visit the Food Standards Agency website.
If you plan to export food after 31 December 2020 you must ensure that the products that arrive in NI or EU are displayed with an EU addresses on the wrapping/packaging. For full details on labelling requirements see government guidance.
Planning your business and understanding the regulations
It is the responsibility of the owners and managers of a food business to ensure that their business complies with Food Safety Regulations. It is important that all risks to people arising from the operations undertaken by the business are assessed and properly controlled. This is for both food safety and occupational health purposes.
Visit our planning and building control section for advice about compliance with planning regulations for your premises.
Disposal of animal by-products
GOV.UK provides information on disposing of animal by-products.
Waste cooking oil, fats, oils and grease
Fats, oils and greases (FOG) are generated during the preparation, cooking and cleaning up of food, pots and pans, utensils, crockery and the kitchen itself. Everyone is responsible for helping to prevent blockages caused by FOG and food waste. FOG and used cooking oils and fats from restaurants and catering facilities should not be poured down the drain system as it can lead to blockages.
Good kitchen practice
Good kitchen practice such as wiping pots, pans and utensils with paper towels before washing up and always using sink strainers will help reduce the chance of a blockage building up.
As well as good kitchen practice there’s a range of specialist equipment such as Grease Removal Units and Grease Separators that can prevent fats oils and grease reaching your waste pipes. A specialist supplier can carry out a site survey and recommend the correct equipment needed for your kitchen. This equipment must be frequently cleaned and maintained in order to ensure FOG does not enter the sewer through your drains.
Keeping fats, oils and greases out of drains is always the most effective solution to keep your pipes clear of blockages. Discharging these substances is illegal, you could face fines or prosecution under Section 111 of The Water Industry Act 1991.
Training your employees
It’s important that everyone working for you knows the best way to get rid of waste from your kitchen. Training everyone and helping them understand why it’s important can help in preventing your business’s pipes from being blocked.
Please read the British Water Code of Practice for further information.
For other documents and guidance on waste oil management, food safety and health and Safety, please visit:
Find more information on business waste and recycling
Join the Healthier Catering Commitment
The Healthier Catering Commitment is a London award scheme designed to encourage takeaway outlets to consider how they prepare, cook and promote their food to support customers to eat healthier.
The award acknowledges businesses that are actively promoting healthier cooking practices that reduce the level of saturated fat, salt and sugar. With high rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes amongst Brent residents, eating foods high in saturated fat, salt and sugar contributes to these illnesses.