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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Commercial Food Safety


When setting up a food business, there is a large amount of planning to do first. As well as making sure that the food premises are constructed properly, with good design, layout and hygiene. Staff should be trained and proper systems should be in place to ensure that the food sold is safe and of good quality. All types of food businesses need to be registered with us 28 days before they start operating. Registration is free. To register click the link above and download the form at the bottom of that page.

If your business has food that is no longer fit for purpose then you will need a food condemnation certificate (for example freezer breakdown, out of date food, damaged stock). A certificate is required for your businesses insurance company. There is charge for obtaining this certificate. Businesses based at Birmingham's wholesale markets can use the compactor on site each week on Tuesdays to dispose of food.

If you have a food business and wish to export food products, you are required by the country of destination to have a food export health certificate issued by the country and by the country of dispatch. There is a chargeable fee for this service and your business must already be registered in Birmingham with the food safety team. We will consider your business inspection rating and whether food is produced in compliance with relevant legislation in the UK before issuing a certificate. You will need to complete the form for each consignment for which you require a food export certificate.

Food businesses which manufacture or distribute certain types of meat or milk products may need separate approval, please use contact us.

Essential Information
  • It is now a legal requirement for all food businesses, no matter how large or small, to have a written food safety management system in place sometimes known as HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). The Food Standards Agency has produced a free guide on how to do this called Safer Food, Better Business.The pack is easy to follow and gives small businesses a step by step guide on how to comply with the new law and is also available as a DVD in the following languages: Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, English, Kurdish, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese and Welsh.

  • Typical information required for the export certificate is as follows:-

    • Manufacturer
    • Minimum Durability
    • Storage Conditions
    • Export Approval Number
    • Consignor
    • Consignee
    • Destination
    • Product
    • Quantity
    • Country of Origin
    • Date of Production
    • Packaging
    • Batch No. (where appropriate)

    It must be noted however that it is the exporter's responsibility to ensure that the destination country's requirements are met.

  • If you would like to make a request for a refund, please use our service specific enquiry page. All requests are dealt with on an individual basis, and will be investigated by one of our officers. We may have to contact you to ask for further information about your request before a decision is made.

Frequently Asked Questions
    • If you run a food business you must tell us about any premises you use for storing, selling, distributing or preparing food. Food premises includes restaurants, hotels, café, shops, supermarkets, staff canteens, kitchens in offices, warehouses, guest houses, delivery vehicles, buffet cars on trains, market and other stalls, hot dog and ice cream vans, etc.

      If you use vehicles for your food business in connection with permanent premises such as a shop, or warehouse, you only need to tell the local authority how many vehicles you have. You do not need to register each vehicle separately. If you have one or more vehicles but no permanent premises, you must tell the authority where they are normally kept.

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

      Sites will exist on which there are two or more food business establishments under the control of the same food business operator. For example, in the case of a shopping centre in which there are two or more food business establishments under the control of the same business operator, such operators must ensure that each establishment under their control is registered separately. Food business operators should therefore complete a registration form for each separate establishment.

      Sites will also exist on which there are two or more food business establishments under the control of different food business operators. For example, a supermarket may have a coffee shop on site under the control of a different food business operator such as a coffee shop chain. In such cases the coffee shop will not be covered by the supermarket registration and must be registered in it's own right by it's operator. Coffee shops, snack bars etc. operated by the supermarket itself would be covered as part of the supermarket's registration.

    • We will enter the details on our Register. A register of addresses and the type of business carried out at these will be open to inspection by the general public. Records of the other information provided will not be publicly available and will not be disclosed outside of Birmingham City Council, Local Government Departments and Government Agencies. The details will be used for the purpose of registration, enforcement and the protection of public funds.

    • Once you have registered you only need to notify us of a change of Food Business Operator, if the nature of the business changes, or if there is a change of address at which moveable premises are kept. The new Food Business operator will have to complete an application form.

      If you wish to change the entry in the Register because of information we receive from someone else, you will be given 28 days notice and an opportunity to comment on the proposed change.

    • Registration of premises used for a food business (including market stalls, delivery vehicles and other moveable structures) is required by law. Registration will allow local authorities to keep an up-to-date list of all those premises in their area so we can visit them when we need to. The frequency of the visits will depend on the type of business.

      Please note this information only applies to businesses operating in the Birmingham City Council area. If you are operating elsewhere you should contact your local council.

    • Export Health Certificates may be requested by manufacturers / exporters wishing to export food to countries outside of the European Community.

    • Generally, two types of certificate are issued:

      1. A basic certificate stating that the premises where the food was packed or manufactured complies with food hygiene legislation.

      2. A certificate stating that the product is fit for human consumption. In order to substantiate such statements on the certificate products will need to be examined or analysed.

      It is the exporters responsibility to ensure that the content of the certificate meets the requirements of the destination country. Inadequate information on the certificate could result in the rejection of a consignment. It is recommended that, prior to contacting Birmingham City Council, information about the destination country requirements is sought from the customer, embassy or trade representative.

    • The exporter must pay for any cost incurred as a result of examination/ analysis in addition to the cost of issuing a certificate. Charging is based on officer hourly rate. It is recommended that you discuss the particular details with the officer assigned to issue the Export Health Certificate.

    • Each consignment requires an Export Health Certificate. A consignment is from one supplier to one customer and is not dependant on amounts.

    • You should contact the local authority where the food was manufactured or packed. We will only issue certificates for food produced or packed within Birmingham.

    • If you wish to export consignments of animal products you may require a Veterinary Health Certificate. These are issued by Defra.

      Defra can be contacted at the following address:

      Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
      Nobel House
      17 Smith Square
      SW1P 3JR
      Tel: 020 7238 6000

    • Simple requests are processed within two working days of receipt. However depending upon the type of certificate requested tests may be made to ensure that the product is fit for human consumption before it is exported. This may involve sending the product for examination / analysis. Consequently a delay may occur due to the time taken analysing the product.

    • Each year, we carry out a comprehensive food sampling programme to check that food and drink sold in Birmingham is safe to eat as well as being of the quality that consumers should expect. The programme is developed with the Health Protection Agency and Public Analyst and includes local, regional and national surveys. Our sampling protocol is attached for further information.

    • If you haven't been able to find the information that you need then the link below will take you to a form that you can use to ask us further questions.

      Service Specific Enquiry