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Advice for new food businesses

If you are hoping to start up a new food business it is essential that you get things right from the start.

Due to other work demands and priorities it is not possible to provide guidance and support to all new business establishments. However, the following information and links will hopefully be helpful to you:

Food Safety Advice

You will find the following websites helpful for gaining further advice on food safety matters and how to comply with food safety legislation.

Workplace Safety Advice

As a business and workplace you will also need to ensure you comply with requirements of health and safety legislation to ensure employees and anyone visiting your business is kept safe. The following websites will provide helpful information.

Business Support

Colleagues in the Business Enterprise team can provide valuable advice, support and even access to finances to get your business up and running. They should be contacted to discuss your proposals and see what help they can offer. You can find more information from Support for Businesses

Licences and other permissions


You will need to consider whether you will require to be licensed for any of the activities you carry out (e.g. sale of alcohol, late hours catering, street trader etc.). 

Planning and Building Standards

You will need planning permission for new premises or change of use, or building warrant approval if carrying out any structural works and alterations.

Registering your new business

All food businesses require to be registered with their local authority. Information on registering your food business with West Lothian Council can be found at Register your food business

Once we have received your registration form we will include you in our premises database and inspection plan. 


In certain circumstances childminders will have to register as a food business with environmental health. We have attached LAE of childminders SFELC childminders 30 June 2010 [189KB]  which will help you decide whether you need to.

You will also find helpful information for childminders on the Food Standards Scotland (opens new window) web site.

If you have any further questions then please don't hesitate to contact us. If you need to complete a registration form please send it to West Lothian Council, Environmental Health, West Lothian Civic Centre, Howden South Road, Livingston, EH54 6FF.

Once registered you will be added to our premises database. It is however unlikely that we will carry out an inspection of your home or food activity carried out. We consider the food handling activities within domestic child minding settings to be low risk compared with other food business activities we regulate. It is your responsibility to ensure that you prepare food safely and follow good hygiene and safety practices at all times.

It is also your responsibility to advise of any changes to the food safety activities or trading status of your business. If inspections are not carried out we will contact you by letter or email every few years to check if the business is still trading and details held by us under registration are still correct.

Please note. There is no routine confirmation of the registration process. We are not required to provide any confirmation, but we do appreciate that other parties may ask for evidence that you are registered, and we do try to assist in such cases. However, we are currently unable to respond to requests for confirmation due to other higher priority work demands. Therefore we are not providing this service or assistance at this time. 

Any other party requiring clarification of this situation can be directed by you to this web page.