We have put together some information to help you identify Regulations that apply to your business and your obligations to customers.
Firstly, no matter what your business, we suggest you start by looking at Business Companion. This is a government funded website written by experts, it’s free to use, you don’t need to register, and it is easy to understand. You can start with the type of goods or services you sell, second-hand cars for example, how you sell or where you sell. There is a whole section about on-line trading and many specific in-depth guides: https://www.businesscompanion.info.
If you are a food business then you can find further information on food labelling, food hygiene and registering your business at: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance. If you are looking to start a new food business you can find essential information on our Register a food business page.
Importing or exporting food for human consumption, food ingredients, animal feed and ingredients for animal feed, plants and seeds, and wood are subject to specific controls. You should check the rules around importing/exporting such products with the Animal and Plant Health Agency.
Non-food Safety, Import and Export
If you are making, distributing or importing non-food products for sale to consumers then there is detailed information at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/business-regulation-guidance-and-tools Please note that now that the UK has left the EU you will be regarded as an importer if you source goods from remaining EU countries as well as the rest of the world. You should also not assume that just because the product is labelled in English, perhaps for the Australian or American market, it will comply with UK law as there are some significant differences in applicable standards.
Help with exporting goods and services from the UK is available at https://www.gov.uk/ask-export-support-team.
Safety of consumer goods
Trading Standards advise and enforce on the rules relating to cosmetic products. Some consumer goods, particularly cosmetics, soaps, hand gels and the like might be regarded as medicines or ‘borderline products’, especially if they make a claim to help or cure any condition. Medicines and medical products are regulated by the MHRA, guidance is at https://www.gov.uk/mhra.
Disinfectant hand gels or wipes and insect repellents may be regarded as ‘biocides’-these are regulated by the HSE and advice is at Biocides: https://www.hse.gov.uk/biocides/introduction.htm
Other products which may be subject to specific standards include Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The definition of PPE is quite wide and depends not only on the product but how it is marketed and to be used, for further information see the HSE website.
Explosives and Petroleum
You may need to register or obtain a licence to sell or store certain products. Details on storing and selling explosives, which includes fireworks can be found on the HSE website explosives page and petrol can be found on the HSE website petroleum page.
Firework licences and registrations plus petroleum licences are issued by the Royal Borough Trading Standards. Information on Licensing, including alcohol, entertainment, hackney carriage and private hire vehicles, street trading, street cafes etc is available in our Licensing section of the website.
Wider business advice, including support available from the Royal Borough and Regional Agencies is at https://rbwmtogether.rbwm.gov.uk/business-support-training and the Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub https://www.berkshirebusinesshub.co.uk/
Finally, once you have read the above and if you are based within the Royal Borough we may be able to help with specific enquiries, please email email@example.com.