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Starting a food business

Whether you are taking over a business that already exists or are starting a new one it is important to get things right at the start. This will make things easier for you in the future and also increase the chances of your business being a success.

Register your food business

If you open a food business in South Ayrshire or have recently taken over an existing business, it is a legal requirement for you to register that business at least 28 days before opening.

View our food premises registration page for more information and how to register your business or tell us about a change to your existing business.

Useful resources

Starting Up - Your First Steps to Running a catering Business is a Food Standards Agency publication and tells you everything you need to know about food hygiene and other legislation that will apply to your new business.

All food businesses are inspected by Environmental Health and you may be unsure what to expect. The Food law inspections and your business page on the Food Standards Agency website tells you what the inspection might involve and also action that inspectors can take if they find a problem in your business.

Food safety legislation requires that all food businesses, including caterers, apply food safety management procedures based on the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) to their business. The CookSafe system has been developed to help you understand and develop a system that fits your needs and complies with the law.

After an inspection your business will be rated as 'pass' or 'improvement required' under the Food Hygiene Information Scheme. The purpose of this scheme is to let consumers in Scotland see how well food businesses in their area performed in food hygiene inspections.

Advice on Trading Standards issues as may affect your business is available at tradingstandards/business/. This website allows you to create a business advice pack that's tailored to suit your business needs.

The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 require that some food businesses take reasonable steps to present their food waste for separate collection.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has produced guidance on Food Waste Management in Scotland setting out requirements across the food waste supply chain in order to achieve high quality recycling.

Further information is available from the SEPA website at

The Eat Safe award is a recognisable sign of excellence in standards of food hygiene. The Eat Safe award provides an incentive to food businesses to strive for food hygiene food safety management standards beyond those required by law.

The Healthy Living Award is a national award for the foodservice sector in Scotland and rewards caterers who make it easier for their customers to eat healthily. The award aims to make food healthier by making broad changes to how it is prepared and to use promotion and marketing that supports and encourages healthier eating.

The Health & Safety Executive website provides information for people working in the catering and hospitality industry on how to comply with health and safety law.

We offer a range of business development packages designed to assist local businesses.