Register a food business

If you own or have taken over a food business in Liverpool, it is a legal requirement to register your business with the council at least 28 days before opening or taking ownership. 

A food business includes any business that:

  • sells food
  • cooks food
  • stores or handles food
  • prepares food
  • distributes food

You must register every premises where you carry out food operations, including your home, and mobile or temporary premises such as stalls and vans.

However, if you make, prepare or handle food that comes from animals, for example meat or dairy products, other than for direct sale to the consumer, your premises may need to be approved by the council before you can undertake the activity. If you think this applies to you, you should apply for food premises approval instead of registering your business.

If you're not sure if you need to register your business or apply for approval, see our guidance for different types of food businesses or contact us.

You may be fined, imprisoned for up to 2 years or both if you run a food business without registering.

It doesn’t cost anything to register and your registration can’t be refused.

How to register


Read our privacy notice which tells you how we use your data.

Register a food business

By post

Download, print off and complete a paper application and return it to the address on the form.

To request a form to be posted out to you, please contact us.

Processing and timescales

Your business will be registered as soon as we receive your application and we'll carry out an inspection within 28 days of you registering your business. 

The details you provide will be entered onto our register and certain details, such as type of business, address and telephone number, will be available for public inspection. Other information provided will not be publicly available.

Changes after registration

Once you have registered, you'll need contact us if there is a change of ownership or change in the nature of the business.