Mobile food traders, markets and selling food at events

You should find this page useful if you are setting up a mobile food business from a trailer or van, selling food from a market stall or temporary community event such as fund raising for a school etc. If you are intending to sell food on a regular basis you will need to register with us using the prescribed form. For selling food at temporary community events there is a guidance form on the right of this page, please fill this in and post to us so we can give advise on food safety and health & safety.

Enforcement of mobile food businesses

A mobile establishment is required to register with the food authority in which it is ordinarily kept. Once the establishment has undertaken this process with its registering authority it should not be asked to register with any further food authorities in whose areas it trades. This does not however place any limits on the official control activities of the food authorities in which this establishment trades. The food authority can undertake an intervention at any mobile establishment that trades within its area and should undertake any appropriate enforcement action it deems necessary. Details of the intervention and subsequent enforcement activity undertaken by a food authority should always be passed to the registering authority.


Licensing at temporary events

You may need a temporary event licence to run an event..Read More

Do I Need to Register My Business?

If you sell or even give away food on a regular basis you need to register with the local authority in whose area you will be trading, registration must be made at least 28-days before trading starts. If you intend to trade in the Torridge District, you can either pdf icon Download And Print A Registration Form [172kb], or you can use our Online Registration Form. If you download and print a form, please complete and return it to Food and Safety, Riverbank House, Bideford, Devon, EX39 2QG. You will need to specify the vehicle registration number where applicable and place of trading.

Do I Need A Late Night Refreshment Licence?

You will need a late night refreshment licence if you supply hot food or hot drink to the public at any time between the hours of 11.00 p.m. and 5.00 a.m. Please contact the Licensing Team on 01237 428700 or email licensing@torridge.gov.uk

Where Can I Trade?


Wherever you decide to trade, you will need to get permission from the land owner. If you want to trade from a highway or lay-by, you will need to contact Devon County Council Highways. There has been a significant increase in new mobile food van businesses in Torridge so you need to be aware of the competition and who is trading where & when to prevent conflict. This is especially applicable to residential areas and villages.


The Council licences a number of hot and cold food concessions on its land throughout the District. In principle, such licences are only permitted via Committee approval and requests must be made in writing for consideration of a proposal on Council Land. Occasionally pitches are publicly tendered after an initial trial period for new sites. Currently, the Council has licensed pitches at Westward Ho! (Promenade and Northam Burrows) and Bideford (Quay).

The Council does not permit trading from Car Parks.

If you require any information on the existing pitches please contact our Property Team on 01237 428700.


You must take care to prevent nuisance from noise, cooking odours and waste, failure to do so can lead to legal action by the Council.


Any poster or sign which advertises your businesses in the street requires "Advertisement Consent" from the Torridge Planning Team. If you put boards out on the day of trading and take them away afterwards - this is much more likely to be tolerated. Permanent signs on lamp posts are not permitted without consent. You must be aware of the potential distraction a sign can cause to motorists.

Any form of advertising in the street/fly posting would require consent from Torridge DC and would not normally be acceptable. Any doubt check with us first, contact Planning on 01237 428700 or email planningsupport@torridge.gov.uk

Will I Get Inspected For Food Safety?

Yes, you should receive your first inspection within the 28-day period of first registering with us; the inspection is an opportunity to check structural standards in your vehicle, review your food safety management procedures and practices. We assess your food business risk category and issue a food hygiene rating. Food Hygiene Ratings go onto the national Food Standards Agency website. The subsequent frequency of inspection is based on the risk category - the higher the risk, the more frequently your business will be inspected. The risk rating is reassessed at each visit, so the frequency of visits are proportional to risk.

What About Gas Safety?

You should get your vehicle checked by a competent person who is on the Gas Safe Register, you should check that the engineer is qualified to work on mobile catering van LPG appliances. We would expect to see a gas safety certificate provided by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. We have provided a link to our gas safety guidance below:

pdf icon Gas safety in mobile vehicles [2Mb]

Food Hygiene Training?

All food handlers must be supervised, instructed and/or food hygiene trained commensurate with the food business activity and you must comply with  EC Regulation 852/2004, See the Food Standards Agency booklet pdf icon Food Hygiene A Guide for Business [489kb] . Food handlers should receive refresher training every three years. 

Documented Food Safety Management?

You are required to have documented food safety procedures in place.  These must provide written details of what you do to make sure food produced or sold at your premises is safe to eat. During the inspection of your premises you will need to provide adequate documentation in the following areas:

- Possible food safety hazards that could be relevant to your business (hazard analysis) 
- Things that must be checked to ensure food is safe (monitoring of controls)
- Records of any important checks adapted to and relevant to your business on things like cleaning, cooking, chilling, preventing cross contamination (corrective actions)

In order to comply with this requirement, the Food Standards Agency have produced Safer food better business (SFBB), which guides you through how to comply with the Regulations and also provides examples of the necessary documentation. If you need further help, we have a dedicated guidance page for 'SFBB' or you can contact the team and we can talk you through the use of the pack.

You can contact us on (01237) 428700, or email the team at foodandsafety@torridge.gov.uk.