Setting up a food business

Setting up a food business

If you have decided to set up a food business you need to plan carefully to ensure the safety of the food you are selling, and that you meet legal requirements.

Before you begin, you should make sure:

  • you have completed an online food registration
  • anyone handling food has received appropriate food hygiene training
  • you have a documented food safety management system in place that is appropriate to the nature and size of your business

Please also remember you must:

  • have any necessary planning permission for your premises (including your home)
  • not start operating before we have processed your application

Registering a food business

If your business is located in Newcastle then you must register with us - for free - at least 28 days before starting to sell food.  

You may also need approval depending on the type of food you are preparing or selling.

More information about how to register or apply for approval can be found on our food registration page.

Once you have registered your food business it will be subject to food safety inspections.

Food hygiene training

Before you start operating you must ensure that all staff who are handling food receive the appropriate supervision and training in food hygiene.  This is a legal requirement.

This training should be equivalent to a:

  • level two qualification in food safety and hygiene for food handlers
  • at least level three in supervising food safety and hygiene for supervisors and managers

However, in the UK, food handlers don’t have to hold a food hygiene certificate to prepare or sell food. 

You must however be able to demonstrate that they have received instructions or supervision through:

  • on-the-job training
  • self-study
  • relevant prior experience

You will need to show what you have done when asked by an environmental health officer.

Free online food safety training is offered by the Food Standards Agency.

Food safety management system (FSMS)

All food business operators must have in place a written food safety management system. 

Through this you look at what could go wrong with food safety in your business and identify what you must do to ensure that any food you produce or handle is safe to eat. 

Your FSMS should be based on the advice on food safety management found on the Food Standards Agency website.

Your analysis of your business need not be complicated however, the documents required depends on the size and nature of your business.

Before you begin writing your FSMS you should ensure that either you or someone in your business has received training or has enough knowledge of what your business does.

You will need to keep records that show that you are following your procedures, and these will be asked for when an officer visits.

You should also ensure that you regularly review your FSMS to make sure that your processes and documents are up to date, especially when changes are made (e.g. change in menu).

Safer food, better business

The Food Standards Agency offers a free guide to food safety regulations and management procedures for small businesses.

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