Information on the approval process and how to apply
Certain food businesses will require approval from the local authority before they start trading. This is separate from the requirements for food registration that applies to all food businesses.
What type of businesses requires approval? The requirement for approval depends on the type of foods handled or processed and the types of businesses supplied. Food businesses that process or handle certain foods of animal origin and supply these foods to other food businesses will generally require to be approved.
Establishments that process foods of animal origin and only supply them directly to the final consumer (ie. the public) are exempt from approval. Establishments that process foods of animal origin and supply both the public and other food business establishments may also be exempt from approval.
Potential applicants for such establishments should contact The Environmental Health Team on 020 7341 3002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice and guidance prior to making an application for approval.
Establishments that only produce or handle foods that contain both processed foods of animal origin and products of plant origin are exempt from approval. For example, if an establishment produces sandwiches from already cooked meats (processed food of animal origin), salad and bread then approval will not be required. If however, the establishment cooks raw meat which it uses for producing sandwiches, approval is required.
The following types of premises will usually require approval;
- food manufacturers producing products of animal origin,
- home caterers selling products of animal origin to other businesses,
- central production kitchens which supply caterers or retailers,
- stand alone cold stores, establishments that pack or wrap (or repack or re-wrap) products of animal origin such as meat fish dairy or egg products.
This is not an exhaustive list.
Establishments that are proposing to be involved in the slaughter, dressing or cutting of fresh meat will need to be approved by the Food Standards Agency who should be contacted directly.
You can obtain a copy of the Food Standards Agency's application form and contact details.
Premises that don't require approval The following types of business will not require approval, as long as food is not sold on to other establishments: restaurants, cafes, takeaway shops, supermarkets and other retailers, mobile food units, delivery vans, wholesale warehouses, and workplace or institutional catering operations. Only registration is required for these businesses.
If you think your business may be subject to approval you should speak to an Environmental Health Officer on the Food Safety team for further advice. ( Contact details below). If necessary you may be referred to the lead officer for approved establishments.
What standards do approved premises have to comply with? Establishments that require approval have to comply with the general hygiene requirements (given in EC Regulation 852/2004) and some specific hygiene requirements which vary depending on the types of product you make (given in EC Regulation 853/2004). Shelf life testing and sampling may need to be undertaken. (Regulation EC 2073/2005) Establishments also have to put in place food safety management procedures based on the HACCP principles.
What are foods of animal origin? The foods of animal origin that are subject to approval are:
- fresh meat
- minced meat
- meat preparations (eg. raw sausages, burgers and kebabs)
- mechanically separated meat
- meat products
- live bivalve molluscs
- fishery products
- milk and dairy products
- eggs and egg products
- frogs legs and snails
- rendered animal fats and greaves
- treated stomachs
- bladders and intestines
Who should apply? All food business establishments that are subject to approval under EC Regulation 853/2004 must apply before trading. The application should be made by the food business operator. The Environmental Health Team, should be contacted by food businesses that may be subject to approval in order to discuss the proposed operation and for advice on whether approval will be required.
What you need to know before you apply The link to an application form for approval is at the bottom of the page
- There is no charge for Approval and generally, it is a one off procedure.
- The application form should be accompanied by supporting food safety documentation that is needed to determine the application. Details of the information required are given on page 3 of the application form.
- In certain circumstances, the information may be provided during an on-site inspection.
- For proposed businesses not yet trading, applications for approval must not be submitted unless the business concerned as a minimum can meet the infrastructure requirements of EC Regulations 852/2004 as the application is likely to be refused. This means that the premises, design, layout, equipment and systems must enable the establishment to produce safe food.
- A documented food safety management procedure based on HACCP principles must be available.
- In order to gain full Approval status, the business will need to meet the full requirements of Regulations EC 178/2002, 852/2004. 853/2004 and 2073/2005.
- There may also be other legal requirements that apply to the business.
When should I apply? Food businesses that are subject to approval under EC Regulation 853/2004 must have approval from the food authority before they start trading. A food business will be committing an offence if it places on the market foods that are subject to the relevant requirements of EC Regulation 853/2004 without having prior approval and would be liable to prosecution. The local authority must process your application before it can be granted.
What happens to my application when it is submitted? An applicant will be contracted by an officer from The Environmental Health Team to discuss the proposed operation and confirm if approval is required. An on site inspection will be carried out to verify that the premises, systems, procedures and documentation meet all of the legal requirements for the business type. Once the inspection has been carried out, the approval status of the establishment will be determined.
- If the establishment fails to meet the infrastructure and equipment requirements, approval will be refused.
- If all of the legal requirements are met full approval will be granted.
- Conditional approval may be granted if the establishment does not fully comply with all of the relevant requirements but meets all of the infrastructure and equipment requirements.
If conditional approval is granted, a further inspection will be carried out within 3 months to ensure that all of the relevant legal requirements have been met. If these have not been met, providing satisfactory progress is being made to meeting full approval conditions, then conditional approval can be extended but this is restricted to a maximum of 6 months from the date when conditional approval was granted. If at the end of the 6 months, the establishment still does not meet all of the relevant legal requirements then approval will be refused.
Is there a register of approved premises from which my customers can verify my approval? There is a national database of approved food business establishments held by the Food Standards Agency.
What if my application is refused and approval is not granted? Applicants will be notified in writing of the reasons for refusal and of the actions that will be necessary to meet the relevant requirements of food law for approval.
Once approval has been refused activities that require approval may not be undertaken by the business without full or conditional approval. Food businesses that start or continue to trade without approval will be committing an offence and are liable to prosecution.
Applicants have a right of appeal against a decision to refuse approval. Appeals must be made to the local Magistrates Court and must be made within 1 month of the date of the written refusal.
Where can I find further information? Further guidance on approvals has been produced by the Food Standards Agency.
Need more help or advice?
Contact the Environmental Health Team at:
- Address: Food Safety Team, Royal Borough Kensington and Chelsea, 37 Pembroke Road, London W8 6PW.
- Telephone: 020 7341 3002
- Email: email@example.com