What can I do to help establish my food business? What certificates do I need? These are common thoughts and queries amongst many establishments in the UK, especially when they are new and upcoming. In this article, we will discuss this topic and hopefully, it will help to answer any questions that you may have.
Food Premises Approval
In the UK, if your business involves handling fresh food products containing meat, dairy, eggs, and fish there are some avenues you must take before selling them. You need to be inspected and approved by your local council which will then decide if you get approval or need to register. Once you are registered and approved you must display your license. There are certain conditions when you do not need to be approved – when food is less than 25% of your trade and you don’t sell food outside your local county. Please note that it’s a criminal offense to have unapproved food premises and you can be prosecuted and fined for doing so. You apply online on the GOVT website for food premise approval.
Register your food business with your local authority
Food law requires that you register as self-employed, and register your business if you sell or give away food for free on a regular basis. This needs to be done at least 28 days before you open for business – and thankfully, can be done in a matter of minutes online. Your local authority will then arrange to visit your restaurant for a food hygiene inspection. This will assess whether your food preparation areas and food safety protocols are up to standard. To register online and to find out more information please visit the GOV website. Registration is free, and registration cannot be refused. Do remember, you must register at least 28 days before you open for business.
Food Hygiene Certificates
All premises within the food industry must take food hygiene and safety seriously. One way to show that you adhere to regulations is by obtaining food hygiene certificates for your business and staff. Essential Food Hygiene offers three core Food Hygiene & Safety courses; level one, level two, and level three – each targeted at different areas within a food business. They are as follows:
Level One – Level 1 Food Hygiene and Safety Course is targeted towards those in the industry who do not have any direct contact with food or the preparation of food but who work in an environment where food is prepared, and acts as a foundation level of knowledge. The level one food hygiene and safety course takes 1 – 2 hours to complete.
Level Two – Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety course is for those looking to take the next step in their education of food hygiene and is for those who work in the food industry and frequently handle or prepare food. The level two food hygiene and safety course takes 1 – 2 hours to complete.
Level Three – Level 3 Food Hygiene and Safety Supervisors course is aimed at business owners, supervisors, and managers as it focuses on the management side of food hygiene and safety. If you are a supervisor, manager, or owner of a food business, this Level 3 Food Hygiene & Safety course is for you. The course will offer knowledge on how food should be prepared, handled, and cooked safely on your premises, as well as how to manage food safety and hygiene best practices among your staff. The level three food hygiene and safety course takes 3 – 4 hours to complete.
Legally standing, you do not need a food hygiene certificate to produce and sell food items although it is recommended by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). In the UK, anyone working with food must be adequately trained or have received appropriate instructions or supervision in food safety matters relevant to their role. Obtaining a food hygiene certificate is the best way to demonstrate your level of training and the ideal way to instill confidence and show customers that you do take food hygiene seriously and have the paperwork to back it up.
Apply for a food hygiene rating
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is led by the government in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It is put in place to make sure that cafes, food stalls, takeaways, restaurants, and more are preparing food in sanitary, and safe conditions – thus protecting the public. Food Hygiene Ratings are scored between 0-5 which we will summarise below. You can read more about food hygiene ratings here.
Allergen Awareness Training
In the UK, around two million people suffer from various food allergies and intolerances – these are only the diagnosed cases, so the actual figure is predicted to be much higher. Food allergies can have extreme consequences for those who consume food to which they are allergic, and for the business that serves that food to them. Staff in food-related businesses across all sectors should fully understand these risks and how to apply due diligence to minimise them.
Our Level Two Allergy Awareness course allows learners to further appreciate the seriousness of allergies and it teaches them how to treat food in a hypo-allergenic context. The course is instructive and explicit, highlighting key information using colour and visual imagery. By completing this course, learners will be able to prepare food safely for customers with allergenic food requirements, protecting those who consume the food as well as helping protect the business against claims of negligence. It takes roughly 1 – 2 hours to complete. It includes an examination that consists of 25 multiple-choice questions. Once the student has passed the exam, they will be issued with an accredited certificate in food allergy awareness.
Further to add – On the 1st of October 2021, an essential, and important new law came into effect in the UK; Natasha’s Law. From this date, all pre-packaged food for direct sale (PPDS) must have all ingredients, and allergens clearly listed on the labels of individual food products for sale. You can read more about Natasha’s law here.
Trading Standards Weights and Measures Certification
The Weights and Measures (Packaged Goods) Regulations 2006 was set up for quantity control on all packaged goods and food within the UK. This means that all consumers must be informed on weight and quantity to help protect against short measures. It also allows food premises to be flexible when it comes to controlling quantity during the production. The Weights and Measures legislation also provides detailed information for packers on what they need to do to adhere to the law. It is down to the packer to ensure that the weight of said packaged goods meets the regulations. This is enforced by the law and is carried out by Local Authority Trading Standards. If your business sells pre-packaged foods then it is advisable for you to obtain a Trading Standards Weights and Measures Certification. For further advice and information please contact your Local Authority Trading Standards Department.
Our Online Courses
View our online courses here. All our courses adhere to all current UK legislation and have been accredited by The CPD Group. They each take a few hours to complete, depending on the course and level. After there will be an examination comprising of 25 multiple-choice questions. Once the exam has been passed, the student will receive their instant digital certificate.