So, you want to start a food business? A business licence is generally required for businesses that need to comply with health and safety regulations. As making, selling and serving food can impact on public health, you’ll need a licence to do so.
If you’re a hawker selling food and meals using a food truck, which you take from place to place or sell from a vehicle, you’ll need a permit.
You may not begin trading in a business that requires a licence before the licences has been issued. Trading without a valid licence is punishable with a fine of up to R2 000. Licensing is governed by the Business Act No 71 of 1991.
Depending on the type of business, you may need to comply with the following requirements:
If you comply with all the requirements, you’ll be issued with a licence. If not, you can apply for a 14-day grace period, during which you can make changes to your premises so that they meet the requirements.
Your local municipality handles business licences and you can contact them for details on licensing procedures and the various health and safety regulations required for different kinds of business. The requirements for food businesses are laid out in regulation (62 of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, Act 54 of 1972 and the municipal by laws.
The requirements for a business license may differ from one local municipality to the next, so it is advisable that you contact your particular local municipality to find out the specific requirements applicable to your restaurant. These regulations require a food business to possess a certificate of acceptability.
For a certificate of acceptability, you will generally be required to provide information regarding the nature and type of food being handled on the premises, the nature of the handling (e.g. preparation, packing, processing etc), and certain other information.
There may be slight variations but in general you will need the following:
It is best to apply for your certificate of acceptability (COA) at the same time. This will be issued after an inspection of your facility. This certificate must be displayed in a prominent place.
If you want to sell or manufacture liquor, the law requires you to apply for a liquor licence before you do.
Bear in mind these are not the only legal requirements you should consider.