The Food Standards Agency has outlined its plans to make every food business pay a yearly fee for a permit. The programme would also extend food standards regulation such as inspections to all food retailers.

Speaking at the ACS Responsible Retailer Forum in Birmingham, Food Standards Agency stakeholder manager Hilary Neathey said “when you talk to consumers and tell them anyone can set up  a food business, their response is “surely you need some kind of license.”

The cost would be dependent on the level of Food Standards Authority or local council interaction the business would require, for instance, a newsagents is likely to need less inspection and regulation than an abattoir.

The pass and failure rate of schemes such as Food Hygiene Ratings could also impact the cost to individual businesses.

She later outlined: “We envisage a world where the local authority will be charging you for advice and assurance and regulation.” However, that world may yet be a long way off, with Neathey accepting that there is neither the “time nor the appetite” before Brexit to achieve the legislative changes, instead aiming for 2020.

Do it: The Food Standards Agency is currently looking for retailers to share their opinions of the new scheme through the ACS. Get in touch and let them know your views on a permit to trade.