Food businesses in Northern Ireland are required by law to register their establishments with the environmental health service of their local council. Food establishments include:
- food retail businesses
- catering outlets
- food manufacturing and packing businesses
- importing or exporting food
- food distribution businesses
- domestic premises where food business activities are carried out
Registered premises are inspected to ensure they comply with the law. See how to register your food business.
Comply with the law when starting a food business
Whether you're starting up a food business from scratch or taking over an existing business, it's essential to get things right from the beginning. There are some very important rules you must comply with, including:
- ensuring premises are suitable for preparing food safely
- ensuring appropriate food safety procedures are in place
Best practice when starting a food business
You can also consider adopting best practice guidelines to help you achieve compliance with the law. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has advice and guidance on starting a food business. It has also published a guide on safe catering (PDF, 4MB) that covers best practice and helps food businesses meet their legal requirement to have a HACCP based procedure in place.
There is also FSA guidance on safer food, better business for caterers focusing on key areas such as food safety, storage, training and hygiene.