Food premises approval

Food business establishments may require approval if they intend to handle "products of animal origin" eg fresh meat, raw minced meat, raw milk, eggs, shellfish, fish etc. to produce any, or any combination, of the following;

Information about whether your business requires approval can be found at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) webpage.

If you think your food business proposal may need approval you can apply for food premises approval online at website.

Alternatively you can download an application for approval form and, once completed, send it to us. 

The application process requires a variety of important information to be sent back with the completed form. Section 8 of the application form outlines the relevant detail to support the application. Guidance for this and for completing your application can be found in the supporting approval application pack.

Please note: Approval can only be issued when all infrastructure and documentary requirements have met satisfactory standards. You will be unable to trade until you have been granted approval, if required.

Following receipt of your application an officer will contact you to arrange a convenient time to undertake a primary inspection of the establishment this is to determine suitability for approval.

Should the documentation review and inspection confirm the establishment meets all the requirements of the regulations, the food authority will grant conditional approval.

A secondary inspection will be carried out within 3 months of the conditional approval being granted to determine if full approval can then be granted.

Once your establishment is approved, you will be issued with a unique approval number. It is a requirement that this number is applied to all products handled in the establishment that are subject to the approval. You will be regularly inspected and samples may be taken.

If an approval application is refused you will be notified in writing of the reasons. Approvals and conditional approvals can also be withdrawn and suspended by inspecting officers where significant breaches of the legislation are identified. If this action is taken you have the right to appeal to the magistrates' court. You cannot continue to operate whilst the appeal is being determined

Once an establishment has been approved, it is a legal requirement for the business operator to inform the local authority of changes to any detail previously supplied eg changes to the activities carried out in relation to food, the closure of an establishment, etc.

Your approval documentation will detail what specific types of foods are covered under your approval. If you wish to add different products on to the approval, you must contact the local authority first. The new food types will only be added to your existing approval once the necessary checks have been undertaken and approved.

An approved establishment cannot change ownership. If an approved establishment changes ownership, the new establishment will have to be assessed and be granted a new approval before it can operate.

The process of an approval application is complex. Applications are dealt with quickly, please be advised that experience has suggested, achievement of approval status can take more than 6 months from receipt of application.

There is no fee for approval. If your premises requires approval you cannot operate until your food establishment has received approval status issued by this authority.
Businesses that are approved do not get issued with a National Food Hygiene Rating score as they are excluded from the scheme.

Laws and regulation

Under Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 and 852/2004 food business establishments may require approval if they intend to handle "products of animal origin".