Start a food business

In order for a food business to start, it must be either registered or approved. These cases are handled and controlled by the food inspectors at the Environment and Construction Unit.

When you start a food handling business, you must notify the establishment for registration. You do this at the Environment and Construction Unit. The obligation to notify applies to all businesses, from the smallest to the largest. It also applies if you give food away.

However, if you intend to set up an establishment with unprocessed products from the animal kingdom, such as a meat products plant, cheese production or fish plant, you must apply for approval instead. You do this at the Food Administration.

Remember that the decision to register and approve a food establishment is linked to the food business operator. Therefore, if ownership changes, a new registration or approval must be made.


A checklist has been prepared for those who intend to start or modify a food establishment. It can be restaurants, pizzerias, cafés, street food, catering kitchens, etc.

The checklist is intended as an aid in planning your food establishment. It lists the different areas with examples of the equipment and fittings that may be needed. Think about your menu and range and the flow of food through the premises so that clean and unclean do not clash. Then make an assessment of how your business should be furnished and equipped. More information can be found on the Swedish Food Administration's website.

Knowledge and requirements for self-checking

Food supplied from a food establishment must be safe. In order to obtain safe food, there must be a system of self-checking, a so-called self-checking programme. This means that the food business operator must have the necessary knowledge to develop an appropriate system.

The self-checking programme must include procedures for the basic requirements (training, personal hygiene, pests, time and temperature processes, maintenance, reception, water, cleaning and waste) and a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan. The person responsible for developing a HACCP plan should have at least eight hours of training. There are companies that provide training in both hygiene and self-checking. Several industries have developed advice and guidelines to help business owners. These industry guidelines can be found on the Swedish Food Administration's website.

Food handling not requiring registration

The registration requirement does not apply to all food establishments. However, even where registration is not required, authorisation from other authorities may be required.

In order to avoid the registration requirement, the following must be met:

  • The activity must be temporary and only carried out a few times a year.
  • The food must be of low risk. Examples include hot or grilled sausages, buns and cakes that have been heat treated in their entirety, precooked hamburgers (pre-fried when you buy them), hot and cold drinks and packaged ice cream.

If you are not sure whether your business needs to be registered, contact the Environment and Building Department.

As a food seller, you are always responsible for ensuring that what you sell is safe.

Read more about the subject in EC Regulation 178/2002.

Local requirements

A food premises must be designed to suit the activity being carried out. On this page you can read about requirements as well as appropriate recommendations for those working in the food industry.

The standard requirements are that the following points should be met:

  • Hand-washing facilities should be provided in sufficient numbers and be both easily accessible and appropriately designed. Liquid soap and disposable towels shall be used.
  • A separate toilet shall be provided for food handlers. It shall not be directly connected to any preparation area.
  • Ability to separate work clothes from private clothes, preferably in a changing room.
  • However, the staff toilet is an inappropriate place for this, even if lockers are provided.
  • Space for receiving goods.
  • Adequate storage for dry, chilled and frozen goods.
  • Workbenches with water hook for washing food.
  • Sufficiently large work surfaces that are durable and easy to clean.
  • Ventilation to prevent air from a contaminated area reaching a clean one.
  • Floors, walls, ceilings, windows and doors must be made of a material that is easy to clean.
  • Cleaning space with a dishwasher shall be provided. Storage of cleaning equipment and chemical products shall be separate from preparation areas.
  • Washing-up area with dishwasher.
  • Equipment shall be made of a material that is easy to clean.
  • space for the storage of waste.
  • Adequate lighting shall be provided. Fittings shall have splinter-free pipes or covers.
  • Floor drains should have a slope that allows water to drain away.

The flow within the food establishment must be such as to avoid the risk of transferring dirt and contamination to a clean area. It is therefore important to consider the design of the premises and the location of furnishings and equipment. For example, the positioning of the washing-up area and product intake is important so that unclean dishes and unclean outer packaging do not have to be taken through the preparation area and kitchen.

The following recommendations apply to food premises:

  • If the food establishment processes both meat and vegetables, two separate workbenches with separate sinks are required. Otherwise, meat and vegetables must be separated in time, which must be clearly shown in the procedures.
  • If earthy vegetables are used, a separate vegetable room is preferable. This reduces the risk of contamination (including airborne contamination) to other foods.
  • A separate washing-up area avoids the need to separate washing-up from other activities in time.
  • A light-coloured material on floors, walls, ceilings, windows and doors makes it easier to see dirt.
  • Changing rooms are preferable, as there is more space for changing clothes and for separating personal and work clothes.


From next year onwards, the municipality will charge food control ex-post for newly added food establishments. Previously, everyone paid a fixed annual fee, levied in advance. From 2023 onwards, all food controls will be charged ex-post. The amount of the fee will depend on the level of control required for the establishment.

In 2021, a new fee regulation for official food controls came into force, which means that food controls can now also be charged retrospectively. From the end of 2023, all official food controls will be charged retrospectively and the control authority in Sollefteå municipality will switch to this in part in 2022 and fully to retrospective charging from the end of 2022.

The size affect the fee

The rules state that food controls will be covered by fees and paid for by the food business operators, other business operators and operators whose activities are subject to control. The fee to be paid is set by the local authority carrying out the control on the basis of the tariff decided by the municipal council. The amount to be paid by each establishment depends on the assessed control needs of the establishment based on its size and scope and follows the Food Agency's national model for risk classification of food establishments.

The old model will be phased out

The previous Fee Regulation states that the costs of official food controls are to be covered by an annual fee. The annual fee is payable in full from the calendar year in which the activity starts. Thereafter, the full amount of the fee is payable for each calendar year thereafter. This will continue to apply until the end of 2023 and at the same time the new Fees Regulation will apply, which states that the control authority will charge fees for official controls on food after the controls have been carried out.

Fully implemented by 2023

From 2022 onwards, this approach will continue for already registered establishments while new establishments added during the year will be charged after the control has been carried out according to the risk-rated control time.
From 2023 onwards, all registered food businesses/food establishments will be charged after the control has been carried out.