Running a food business

I’m starting up a new food business, what do I need to do?

Take a look at our business advice sheets, in particular starting a food business and the food safety checklist.

Do I need a food licence?

You do not need a licence to run food business in Coventry. You do however need to be registered with us as a food business. This is free, and should be done 28 days before you start trading.

If you wish to trade on the public highway you will require a street trading licence.

Do I need planning permission?

You must make sure that your premises has the correct “use” for the sort of business you wish to run.

Further advice on this can be found via the planning team.

Can I run a food business from home?

You can, but you must still meet the food law requirements. Take a look at our advice sheets.

What training do my staff need?

You must make sure that food handlers are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters associated with their work activities.

A food handler is any person involved in a food business that handles or prepares food (open or packaged).

The level of training depends on the job of the individual and the type of food they handle. Find out more about food hygiene training.

What paperwork do I need?

All food businesses are required to have a documented food safety management system in place which identifies what could go wrong to the food you sell, what steps you take to keep the food safe and what you will do if there is a problem. The amount of paperwork required will depend on the size and nature of your businesses. Most small independent caterers in Coventry can use something called the Safer Food Better Business pack to meet this requirement.

You can either download and print a pack for free, or order a pack online for a small fee.

How often do you visit?

Following your initial inspect after registering with us, your next inspection will be determined by the risk rating the business receives. This is based on your FHRS score, but also includes a weighting for what sort of food you prepare, how many people you cater for and whether you cater for a vulnerable group (e.g. under 5’s or the elderly).

This will range between every 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months and 36 months. The most high risk businesses are inspected the most frequently.

We may also visit if we receive any complaints; to undertake sampling; to check you have made improvements following an inspection; and to provide advice.

What temperature should my fridge and freezer be?

It is a legal requirement that fridges keep food at or below 8°C, however you must also look at manufacturer’s instructions on food who may require food to be kept colder.

Freezers should run at around -18°C to keep food hard and fully frozen at all times.

What temperature should I cook food to?

Cooking food until the core temperature is 75°C or above will ensure that harmful bacteria are destroyed. Make sure that any probe thermometers used are cleaned and sanitised before use.

It may not always be practical to check the core temperature with a thermometer every time food is cooked. Alternative methods of monitoring may include:

  • Following an established cooking practice (time/temperature formula) and always adhering to the same cooking conditions.
  • Visually looking for bubbling/steaming hot food or a change in colour (e.g. raw/pink to cooked/white)

Food and Safety team

Open 9am–5pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays)

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street

Telephone: 08085 834333