Before you get on the road to a successful food truck business, you’ll want to make sure nothing obstructs your journey. 

As a food business, you’ll have to follow some essential regulations to keep your customers safe. In addition, there are a few extra regulatory steps to take for a company on wheels as well.

To make sure you avoid any issues with your food or local council, understand all of the legal ingredients you need.

This guide discusses food truck regulations UK, which include:

  • Registering
  • Street vendor licence
  • Food safety and hygiene
  • Hazard analysis
  • Risk assessment
  • LPG and PAT certificates
  • Insurance

Registering your food truck within regulations UK

Before you open your doors (or window), you’ll need to register your food business with your council through the UK Government.

If you aim to move from place to place, you also have to register in each council. Although it’s free, it takes at least 28 days.

Without registration, you can receive a fine or even a prison sentence of up to two years.

Food truck street vendor regulations UK

After registering as a food business, you also need to apply for a street vendor licence before your food truck starts serving. Without one, you can have a fine of up to £1,000.

To get a licence, you’ll have to contact your local council and tell them what you plan to do. Councils will be interested in when and where your food truck plans to operate

You can apply through the UK Government, but there may be a waiting list in your area, so you could have to wait to receive your licence. 

Food safety and hygiene regulations UK

Food hygiene rating

After you become a registered food business, you can expect a visit from your council to issue a food hygiene rating.

The UK Government runs the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The inspector will give you a rating between 1-5.

Inspectors rate you on:

It’s compulsory to display your rating on your truck in Wales and Northern Ireland, but optional in England.

Level 2 food safety and hygiene

Another legal requirement is to have a Level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene Certificate if you operate the food truck alone. But if you employ others in future, you’ll need a Level 3.

You can get this certification through an online course for £10.

Food truck hazard analysis UK

A critical regulation to follow for your food truck is the requirement of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan.

If you don’t have one when you receive an inspection, it’s an automatic fail, which means you have to close.

The HACCP plan is to avoid hazards from impacting your food standards. To make, follow these steps:

  1. Identify — find any biological, chemical or physical food safety hazards.
  2. Avoid — remove or reduce the dangers from the work process.
  3. Limit — monitor the critical control points (e.g. when handling raw meat).
  4. Check — follow the plan and update it routinely.
  5. Keep — store the plan to make it available for inspectors.

Food truck risk assessment UK

Like your hazard analysis plan, you also need a risk assessment to show inspectors. Without one, you could face closure.

To assess what your risks are, think about other areas of the business in addition to the food. 

For example, think about:

  • Travel — could be involved in a road collision.
  • Electrical — vans battery can be cut out.
  • Equipment — cooker could catch fire.

After you assess each risk, mention how you will monitor each one and take steps to avoid them.

For those examples:

  • Travel — will follow the highway code and drive carefully.
  • Electrical — routinely check the battery and supply.
  • Equipment — use the most up to date cooker.

Food truck LPG and PAT regulations UK

Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG)

If you want to serve hot food from your van, you’ll likely use a gas stove. But health inspectors can shut you down if you don’t have an annual LPG test.

You can ask a plumber to do an LPG test for you to give you a certificate of safety.

Portable appliance testing (PAT)

When you use an electric stove or any other electric cooking device, the health inspectors will check if you have a PAT certificate.

Electricians can carry out annual tests to give you a certificate instead.

Food truck insurance regulation UK

In the UK, the only compulsory insurance if you are the only person who works in your food truck is Business Car Insurance. Also, you only need that cover if you drive your van on the road.

Business car insurance

It’s illegal to be on public roads without car insurance. If your vehicle is considered a critical part of your business, you can get business car insurance.

Being an insured driver is not only a legal requirement, but it also covers you in the event of a road incident. The insurer will pay damages up to the limit of your policy.

Public liability insurance

Although it’s not compulsory, you should have Public Liability Insurance. If your business causes property damage or injures someone (like food poisoning), then your insurance will cover the compensation.

Bonus: Manage the crunch of regulations with Countingup

Many regulations mean you face costs before you set off. But, all businesses require investment, and with good management, your food truck can become profitable.

There’s a way to make it simple to manage your finances. Countingup is the business account with built-in accounting software you can access through your phone.

You can:

  • Sort costs — its expense categorisation automatically labels the costs of each business area.
  • Get updates — with cash flow insights, be alerted to how much is going in and out of your business.

Get started with a three month trial