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Starting up a new food business

This page gives advice to those people wishing to start up a new food business.


If you are setting up a new food business or taking over an existing one, within the borough of Merton, the owner or food business operator will need to register the premises with us. Registration is free. Further information can be found at Registration of Food Businesses.

Approved premises

Certain food businesses must be approved by us to produce and sell foods of animal origin to other businesses. These products include meat products, minced meat and meat preparations (such as sausages), milk and diary products, fish and fish products and egg products. If you need to be approved, you do not have to register as well. Please contact us on the telephone number given below for more information on approvals.

General advice

If this is your first business we suggest you discuss your plans with us so that any issues can be addressed before you start trading. We are happy to visit any potential premises to discuss your proposals, however while Officers can give general advice, Food Business Operators may need to obtain specialist advice on food safety.

Detailed advice for new food businesses can be found in the booklet 'Starting up - your first steps to running a catering business' (Food Standards Agency Website).

We have also produced a guidance note which can be downloaded at food premises design criteria.

Food hygiene training

All food handlers must be trained according to the level of food handling activity that they carry out. The usual way for food handlers to be trained is to gain a Level 2 Certificate in Food Hygiene. Food Business Operators should also have adequate training in order to implement a food safety management system.

More details are available on our food hygiene training page.

Food safety management

Food safety and hygiene regulations require you to demonstrate that the food made or sold at your premises is safe to eat. It requires you to write down or document in simple terms what you do and what records you will keep to make sure that food is safe to eat.

For more details see our safer food better business page.

Mobile food businesses

Mobile food businesses must register with the local authority where the vehicle or trailer is normally kept.

If you plan to trade within Merton you may require a street trading licence and further details are available on our street trading pages.

Other types of food business

There are certain types of food business that we do not deal with such as slaughterhouse and meat cutting plants. These premises must be approved by the Food Standards Agency.

Other useful contacts within the council.

  • Where there is a material change to the use of the building you may require planning permission. See our Planning page.
  • Where structural alterations need to be made permission may be required under the Building regulations. Detailed advice can be found at our Building Control page.
  • If you are intending to sell or supply alcohol you may require a premises licence. Further information can be found at our Licensing page.
  • You will need to arrange for a trade waste contract for the disposal of the waste generated by your business. Detailed advice can be found at our Commercial Waste page.

Related websites

Starting a food business (Food Standards Agency)

Contact us

Environmental Health Commercial
Environment and Regeneration
Merton Civic Centre
London Road

Tel: 020 8545 3025 (9am - 5pm)