Running a food business or stall

Running a food business from home is normally allowed under the food laws but you must ensure that you observe good hygiene practices and that you are aware of the potential risks to your customers, from the food you prepare.

In some cases, if you're preparing meat, fish or dairy based meals to sell to other businesses, you must request prior approval before you start your business. If you think this applies to you, please contact us. If you intend to use your kitchen for business purposes on a regular basis, you will need to contact our planning team as you will need permission to operate a business from home.

Contact the planning team on 020 8583 5555 or email the planning team

Starting a mobile food business or stall in Hounslow

If you wish to trade inside the London Borough of Hounslow, you will need an appropriate designated pitch and a street trading licence.

The Nationwide Caterers Association can provide useful information for people planning to start a mobile food business or market stall. Contact the licensing team for further information on getting a street trading licence.

Once you have found a legal place to trade, you must register your business with the food safety team by completing a food registration form.

You must register with us at least 28 days before you start trading.

Please register with us when you are ready to start your business as we have a high number of registrations. The premises address should be the address where the vehicle or stall is kept overnight. If you are trading in this borough but the vehicle or stall is being kept at a different address in another borough, please let us know where the vehicle is being kept, and ask for a food registration form.

We will not charge you to register your food business and you do not have to wait for permission from the food safety team before you start trading.

If you are handling meat, fish or dairy for sale to other businesses

Then you cannot start until you have submitted an application and received approval from us. You don't need to wait for us to visit your premises, in order for you to start your business as there are no pre-opening checks required within the law. Registering your food business is a simply a way for you to tell us what you are doing.

Please note: if you're giving food away for free or acting as a charity, the food laws will still apply.

The food laws require that you follow basic hygiene rules set out in the information leaflet called Starting Up, developed by the Food Standards Agency. For more information on starting a food business visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Please note: a completed food registration form is not a street trading licence. Once we receive your completed application you will receive a visit from one of our environmental health officers.

Inspections from Environmental Health Officers

The regularity of inspections depends on your risk score.

The risk score is made up of a number of factors that include the:

  • types of food handled
  • numbers of customers
  • physical condition of the premises
  • extent of compliance with food laws
  • and our level of confidence in you running the business and complying with the food laws

 The inspection frequency varies between 6 months and 3 years.

Making food to sell at a school fete

The Food Standards Agency has published guidance for volunteers and charity groups that want to provide food in a village hall, or other community setting

Selling undercooked (pink) meat / burgers

Following a number of high profile cases of E.coli the Food Standards Agency has revised its advice on the selling of 'less than thoroughly cooked (pink) burgers'.
If you currently sell pink burgers or are planning to start doing so you must contact us BEFORE you start so that we can assess your HACCP based procedures.

Selling out of date food

There are two types of date code; a ‘use by’ or a ‘best before’ date. The ‘use by’ date is for perishable foods that have a short storage life and have to be kept chilled. It is illegal for a shop to sell food past its ‘use by’ date. The ‘best before’ date is for all other foods and it is not illegal for a shop to sell these foods past their ‘best before’ dates provided they remain fit to eat.

Of course it is bad practice for shops to sell food past its date and we would like to hear of any such instances.

Temperature food should be stored at

If it is chilled food or perishable food, the food law requires that it be kept at or minus 8 centigrade at a food business. Certain allowances are made for foods being prepared or being displayed e.g. at a restaurant. Food that is meant to be served hot must be kept at or above 63 Celsius. Perishable food kept between 8 and 63 Celsius can allow harmful bacteria to grow to dangerous levels with the possibility of poisoning a customer.