Food Business Registration

To store, prepare, distribute or sell food on premises you need to be registered with the Local Authority where your premises is situated. The law that requires this is found in Regulation EC No 852/2004.

Premises include:

  • staff restaurants, canteens and kitchens
  • retailers, including farm shops
  • restaurants, cafes and snack bars
  • markets and market stalls
  • takeaway premises
  • hotels, pubs and guest houses
  • private houses used as food businesses
  • wholesale and cash and carry premises
  • food brokers
  • hospitals, residential homes and schools
  • distribution and warehousing premises
  • food manufacturing and processing premises
  • importers
  • catering packers
  • moveable premises, e.g. ice cream vans

Voluntary & Community Food Provision

We are finding an increasing number of community and charity groups where a cooked meal is provided as part of that group. These groups are advantageous in that they provide a hot nutritious meal, companionship, social interaction and friendship for the members.  

The Food and Safety Team at East Cambridgeshire District Council want to work with these community and charity groups to ensure that the food provided is safe to consume.

Food supplied, sold or provided outside of the family / domestic setting is subject to food laws and must be safe to eat. This is regardless of whether the operation supplying or selling the food is doing so to make a profit or for charity.

Food Laws also require that certain of these activities supplying food, regardless of whether free or for profit or not, are registered as food businesses with the Local Authority. Voluntary and not-for-profit schemes can still be classed as “food businesses” in law. This can sometimes cause confusion.

The Food Standards Agency has recently revised its Guidance on the application of food hygiene law to community and charity food provision. This can be found on The Food Standards Agency website. The Guidance says that a food operation must have both “a certain continuity of activity” and “a certain degree of organisation” to meet the requirement to be registered.

The nature, size and regularity of activities in the community and charity sector are many and varied. In addition to the Guidance (see above) here are some examples that may help you decide if you need to register.  Please note, each situation will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the Guidance, so if you are thinking of setting up a group where food will be provided, please contact the Food and Safety Team for advice.

Examples of where registration with the local authority is required:

  1. A group that comes together on a frequent basis (at least once a month or more frequently) where a set group of people cook the food.
  2. Tenants/ residents from the same residential scheme coming together to eat regularly where only a small number of people from that group prepare the food for the rest of the group.
  3. A group in residential accommodation at one address regularly prepare food for one another and invite others to that meal from other residential schemes.
  4. One person, such as someone from a church, voluntary group or the community prepares food on behalf of a group.
  5. Group members pay for a meal that a small number of people from that group prepare and which happens regularly.  

Examples of where registration with the local authority is not required:

  1. A one-off event such as a fete, a street party or a birthday party.
  2. A group that comes together infrequently (such as once every four months).
  3. Provision of food such as drinks, biscuits, packaged dry goods and food which can be kept safely at room temperature for example flap jacks, cookies and some cakes.

Application for registration should be made by food business operators in respect of new food business establishments before commencing food operations.

Food Premises Registration - Download Application Form

There is no charge for registration. 

For further information, please go to the Food Standards Agency website or contact the Food and Safety Team  or 01353 665555.

Food Business Approval

Some businesses handling products of animal origin may need to be approved by East Cambridgeshire District Council or the Food Standards Agency, rather than registered. If you are uncertain whether your business needs to be approved or registered, you should contact us.

Food Business Establishment Approval - Download Application Form

It is in the public interest that East Cambridgeshire District Council must process your approval application before it can be authorised. If you have not received a response to your application within a reasonable period, please contact us. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.

Commercial Team, Environmental Services, East Cambridgeshire District Council, The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4EE
Tel: 01353 665555

Feed Registration

You must register a feed business with Cambridgeshire County Council.

Please register your feed business at: Trading Standards

If you are an applicant or a third party, you should always contact us in the first instance if you have any queries, concerns or cause for complaint preferably in the form of a letter with proof of delivery.  If you are not satisfied with the outcome and are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice.  If you are from outside the UK, please contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Healthier Options is a local initiative to support small and medium-sized food businesses in parts of Cambridgeshire to make healthier changes to their menu and food preparation. This is coming soon. To get involved please go to