Starting a food business

Everyone serving or selling food to the general public has a responsibility to ensure that the food is safe to eat. Even if you have a business that does not need to be registered with a municipal control authority, it is your responsibility to make sure that the food you sell is safe. 

As a food business operator, you are responsible for the food that you manufacture, transport, store, or sell. For example, you must follow all of the rules concerning safety and labelling.

Contact your local authority

Whether the business needs to be registered or not depends on its size and how consistent its activities are. Selling on an occasional basis, such as at a market, might be a business that does not need to be registered. You should contact your local authority to find out whether your business needs to be registered or not. 

Registration of a food business

If you are planning on opening a café, restaurant, or food shop or on importing pre-packed food, for example, you should register with your local authority at least 14 days before opening. Registration of your food business cannot be refused. If you are already trading and have not registered, you need to do so as soon as possible.

Approval in advance

Food businesses that make, prepare, or handle meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products for supply to other businesses might require approval by a local authority or by The Swedish Food Agency. The local authority as well as The Swedish Food Agency charges a fee for registration and inspections. Your inspection fee depends on how great the need is to inspect your business.

Applying for approval should be done well in advance of opening your business. You cannot start your business before your facility is checked by the local authority or The Swedish Food Agency.

What happens if you are not registered or approved as a food business?

Failing to register or to get your food business approved might lead to sanctions.

If the authorities discover a food business that is neither registered nor approved, the authorities should encourage the food business operator to register or apply for approval as soon as possible, as well as discontinue the business immediately until the registration or approval procedure is finalised. If the food business operator continues its business without proper registration or approval, the authorities should prohibit the business from operating.

Opening a café or importing pre-packed food

EU Services Directive

In the menue you find The EU Services Directive. It defines the rules and conditions that apply to entrepreneurs wishing to establish a business or perform temporary services on the EU internal market.


Reviewed 2019-04-02