Food business registration

Registration of premises used for a food business – including market stalls, delivery vehicles and other moveable structures – is required under the Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuff, Article 6(2).

Registration enables local authorities to keep an up-to-date list of all food catering premises within their area so they can monitor them for public safety. The frequency of the inspections will depend on the type of business. There is no cost for registering.

Who needs to register?

Anyone starting a new food business must register with the local authority at least 28 days before doing so.

Any individuals or organisation who handles, prepares, stores or serves food occasionally and on a small scale, such as a church, school or village fair or organised charities comprising of individual volunteers where the food is prepared occasionally, may be exempt. 

Please contact us for further details.

What type of premises needs to be registered?

Food premises include:

  • restaurants
  • hotels
  • cafes
  • shops
  • supermarkets
  • staff canteens
  • kitchens – in offices, warehouses, guest houses, delivery vehicles, buffet cars on trains
  • market and other stalls – also hot dog and ice cream vans, etc.

If you use vehicles for your food business in connection with permanent premises such as a shop or warehouse, you only need to tell the local authority how many vehicles you have. You do not need to register each vehicle separately.

However, if you have one or more vehicles but no permanent premises, you must tell the authority where they are normally kept.

Market stalls

If you are looking to set up a market stall in Tower Hamlets:

  • Market traders are required to register their food business with the local authority in which their food stocks are ordinarily stored (e.g. domestic premises) or where any vehicle, used in connection with the food business, is stored overnight.
  • Traders that are registered with their “home” authority are NOT required to separately register their stall with the local authority where they trade but we are keeping this information for our records:
    • your food stock is located in LBTH overnight: we are your HOME authority
    • your trading vehicle is parked in LBTH overnight: we are your HOME authority
    • your food stock and/or vehicle is in another local authority: the other local authority is your HOME authority and contact them directly for registration

Market traders that are registered with a “home” authority and trading in Tower Hamlets will:

  • receive an inspection and a food hygiene rating from their home authority
  • receive a local audit by Tower Hamlets officers when trading in our area but NOT receive a separate food hygiene rating.

Further information including how to obtain a street trading licence can be obtained from the Markets team.

Types of premises exempt from registration

Premises exempt from registration include:

  • premises already registered for food law purposes
  • certain agricultural premises
  • motor cars, tents and marquees – but not stalls
  • some domestic premises
  • and some village halls.

You should contact your local authority if you think you might be exempt.

Seasonal food business

Seasonal businesses operating for a certain period each year should specify the dates between which they will be open.

What happens to the information given on the form?

The local authority will enter the details on its register. A register of addresses and the type of business carried on at these will be open to inspection by the general public.

Records of the other information provided will not be publicly available and will not be disclosed outside of the council, local government departments and government agencies.

The details will be used for the purpose of registration, enforcement and the protection of public funds.

Privacy notice

Our privacy notice will give you an overview of how we handle your data.

What happens when there are business changes?

Once you have registered with the local authority, you only need to notify them of a change of proprietor, if the nature of the business changes, or if there is a change of the address at which moveable premises are kept. The new proprietor will have to complete an application form.

If the local authority wishes to change the entry in the register because of information which it receives from someone else, you will be given 28 days' notice and an opportunity to comment on the proposed change.

How to register

The registration form must be done online. If you use premises in more than one local authority area, you must register with each authority separately.

You will be contacted in writing on receipt of the application form.

Application is to be made online



You may be able to find an answer to your query in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).