Anyone starting a new food business must register with the local authority at least 28 days before doing so.

This only applies if your food co-op is operating for five or more days in any five consecutive weeks. So if you are setting up an informal buying club that will only meet, for example, once a month, then you won't need to do this.

Registering your food business simply involves telling the environmental health department about any 'food premises' which means the venue you use for storing, selling, distributing or preparing food. You will need to fill out a form giving your contact details. Registration cannot be refused and there is no charge. If you have more than one stall or outlet you may have to register them all separately. The registration form must be sent to your local authority.

If you use premises in more than one local authority area, you must register with each authority separately. If you use vehicles for your food co-op as well as other premises, you only need to tell the local authority how many vehicles you have.

However if you have one or more vehicles but no permanent premises (for example if you have a mobile store but nowhere else where you store or sell your produce), then you must tell the authority where the vehicles are normally kept.

To find more useful food co-op related information visit our homepage

Food Co-ops toolkit: The Food Co-ops Toolkit will give you all the information you need to set up your own food co-op.

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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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