Richard Stevenson, technical manager at NAMB, answers members’ queries on food and trading law and other business issues

QMust I register my business with the Local Authority?

AYes. The new Europe-wide food hygiene regulations, which came into force in 2006, made this a specific obligation for all food businesses. In the UK before this date, it was already a legal requirement to register and it was not therefore thought necessary to get everyone to re-register under the new rules.

Basically if you were in business before 2006 and have inspections from an Environmental Health Officer (EHO), you are OK. If you have only started since 2006 and never seen an EHO, I would recommend you contact your Local Authority immediately.

When registering, the authorities will require basic contact information and particulars of the type and nature of the business. Under the legal obligations of the regulation the Authority is obliged to keep a list of all registered food establishments in their area, which is available to any member of the public requesting it. Personal details of you and/or your manager will not be published on this list, but will be required for registration.

It is also likely they will ask you for details of your outside customers and suppliers for use in recall situations. Also, EHOs will often ask butchers to calculate their weekly supplies outside their premises, as well as request supporting evidence, such as invoice copies. Basically, they are checking that you are under the two tonne/week limit. Members who need more information on this and the ’local’ definition can call me for more details.