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Starting Up?

Who should you talk to first? The following is a list of bodies you may need to contact and sources of important information if you are considering setting up a food business.

  • Guidance - The Food Standards Agency have produced a useful booklet adobe icon Starting Up [522kb] which describes the main considerations to think about - where you work, food safety, food hygiene, the law, menus, paperwork etc.
  • Environmental Health - Always seek advice from us before starting any work. We will be happy to give advice regarding design of catering premises, correct food handling techniques, food hygiene training and food safety management as well as information on health and safety.
  • Registration - You will also need to register your food business with the Department. 28 days before you open. There is no fee for registration, see  Food Business Registration and Approval. Please click on the Food Safety pages for further information.
  • Planning and Building Control - If you are looking at property you should seek advice from the relevant Planning and Development Department. The property may need "Class A3" planning use to enable it to be used as a food business. If you live within the New Forest National Park you should contact the New Forest National Park Authority  by following the link, or by calling 01590 646600. If you don't live within the National Park, but do live within the New Forest District  you can follow the link to Development Control. You may also need Building Regulation permission if you are intending to make structural alterations to the building. They can be contacted by following the link. Remember, you should always check first to make sure you are not infringing any planning or building regulation requirements.
  • Trading standards - This department can offer assistance on labelling of products including declared weights and product claims. Click here for more information.
  • Licensing - If you intend to sell alcohol, or provide any form of public entertainment, you may require a licence. You should contact the Licensing Section by following the link.
  • You are also advised to contact you local Chamber of Commerce and Business Rates. There are numerous trade associations - some are listed in 'Useful links' on this page others are contained within the 'Industry Guides', that can offer further assistance.

For more information contact us: By email

Updated: 10 Apr 2017
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