Food Safety

Food safety is normally regulated by your local authority, although in some cases this is done by the Food Standards Agency.

If you are planning to produce, store or sell food and drink, in virtually all cases you will need to register your business with your local authority in advance, and have written food safety management procedures.

In addition if intending to manufacture or process food of animal origin, your premises will normally need to be formally assessed and approved by your local authority.

Anyone handling food must also have appropriate training in food hygiene.

This covers actions like:

  • Any form of food production or consumption business
  • Standards and procedures
  • Food hygiene training
  • Drafting, implementing and maintaining relevant food safety procedures
  • Registering your business

Quick Checklist

The following checklist of actions and related links are essential for any business planning to produce, store or sell food and drink (check if this includes your business):

  • Read the Food Standards Agency guide to starting a catering business
  • Read the relevant Food Standards Agency food safety management pack. This gives essential advice and will help you assess whether you or your employees require food hygiene training
  • Follow the advice to write food safety management procedures. These must relate to the specific circumstances of your business
  • Complete the registration form, available via the website of your local authority
  • Submit the registration form to your local authority at least 28 days before your business starts trading. Registration carries no charge and cannot be refused
  • If you are intending to process food of animal origin – including meat, fish, milk, dairy and egg products – contact your local authority to discuss whether your premises require approval

Consider whether food hygiene training is required by you or your employees. Your local authority can provide advice on provision and costs.

Once your business is up and running, ask your local authority about the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme. You should also be prepared for food safety inspections; both announced and unannounced, but if you are following your food safety management procedures these should not be a concern.

Links and Contacts:

Much of the information you need in relation to food standards compliance is available on-line through the Food Standards Agency or your Local Authority. To find your local authority follow this link and input the postcode of your business location (or headquarters in England), Then navigate to environmental health or food standards or food safety teams