Guides for businesses

​​​​​Business Companion provides information for businesses that need to know about Trading Standards and consumer protection legislation.

The site delivers guidance by default for England, but if you are trading in Scotland or Wales, you should choose your location using the drop-down list at the top of the page. This is because some laws are different, or are differently enforced, in those countries.

Business Companion

​Specific business guides

​If you keep livestock, the law covers the health and well-being of your animals, as well as animal feed stuffs

Animal health controls protect you, your animals, the consumer and the livestock industry. The law sets out responsibilities for transport, disease, welfare, animal by-products and disposal, for example.

These rules apply whether you keep the animals for pleasure or for profit.

There are strict laws on animal feed too, which mostly apply to farmed livestock. However, horses, pets, farmed fish, zoo and circus animals - as well as animals living in the wild - are also covered.

With the outbreak of Avian influenza across Europe found in dead poultry the below PDF gives you some preventive strategies and advice.

Animal health and welfare guidance

​The law sets out rules that cover the preparation, composition and labelling of food supplied for human consumption

In broad terms:

  • the quality must meet the expectations of the consumer
  • it must be as described and not presented in a way that misleads the consumer
  • nothing may be added or removed that would make it harmful to health

And the rules covering food safety can be divided into two broad areas:

  • the preparation of a product (for example, hygiene)
  • the finished product (such as labelling and presentation)

If you prepare, pack or sell certain specific food products there will be additional regulations that apply; check the In-depth Guides to find out whether there are extra rules that cover you.

Food and drink guidance

In addition to the leaflets for businesses, below are some extra resources to help catering businesses who will have to provide allergen information in their products from December 2014:

If you have any problems downloading our resources, please email

​Product safety in the UK is governed by a wide regulatory framework consisting of both national and European-derived legislation. The laws apply to any business involved in the import, manufacture and supply of goods to consumers.

If your business carries out any of these activities, you are required to comply with the law and protect consumers by ensuring that your goods are safe.

If you cut corners on safety, you could face criminal prosecution, have to withdraw or recall products from the market and face legal action from consumers to recover damages for the harm caused.

Safety guidance

​If you weigh or measure goods to sell to consumers, the law states that your equipment must be both suitable and accurate

The law also covers the manufacture and approval of this equipment, and lays down requirements about specific quantities in which certain goods must be sold.

Weights and measures guidance

On 6th April 2012 the display legislation came into force for large shops selling tobacco products (other than specialist and bulk tobacconists). 

All other shops and businesses selling tobacco products (including specialist and bulk tobacconists) were affected on 06 April 2015.

Please see guidance below:

Selling electronic cigarettes

If you retail age-restricted products including alcohol, tobacco, knives and films, we have a pack to help you train your staff and keep children safe:

Please be aware that this document is quite large and may take some time to download if you are in a slow broadband area.