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Licences and permits

Register a food business

  • Who needs to register?

    If you own, or are planning to open a restaurant, takeaway or any business which prepares, sells or handles food, you must register it with us at least 28 days before it is due to open. 

    There is no charge and you don't have to re-register again each year.

    If you have more than one food business, you must register each one separately.

    To help you get started, more information is available at the Food Standards Agency website (link opens in new window).

  • Register a food business online

    Please read our privacy notice before starting the registration process.

  • Why do I have to register?

    Registration of food businesses is required by law. You can find out more about these regulations from the Food Standards Agency website (link opens in new window). 

    We must keep a public list of all registered food businesses, containing the name, address and nature of the food business. You can access this list by calling us on 028 9027 0468.

  • Who needs to register?

    All food business operators must register with us. This is the person who is legally responsible for making sure the business meets food safety requirements.

    A food business is one which:

    • carries out activities at any stage during the production, processing or distribution of food
    • is involved in the preparation, handling, selling, serving or distribution of food, drink or any other substance used in processing or as a food ingredient
    • is either a profit or not-for-profit, public or private venture
    • may be in the form of market stalls, delivery vehicles or any other moveable structures.
  • When should I register?

    You must register your food business at least 28 days before it is due to open. You must also register your food business if there has been a change of ownership.

    Any changes made to your business at any later stage will mean you need to update your details by resubmitting a registration. 

    Examples of changes include:

    • change of trading name
    • change of address at which any moveable premises are kept
    • change of food business operator

    If you have sold your business and are no longer the food operator, please email envhealth@belfastcity.gov.uk.

  • Exemptions

    Occasional or one-off events don't need to be registered. But you must still make sure that the food you produce meets food safety requirements. All other food businesses operating in the Belfast City Council electoral area must register with us. 

  • Applying for approval

    Establishments which need approval under European Commission Regulation 853/2004 are exempt from registration. These businesses must apply instead for approval. Premises which need approval are food business premises which handle or process certain products of animal origin. Products of animal origin include meat, poultry, fish, eggs and milk. 

    Some examples of premises which need approval are: 

    • coldstores
    • manufacturers 

    For more information about approved food establishments visit food.gov.uk (link opens in new window). 

    Read more about approval for a food business

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