Baking is a hobby for some, which then develops into a business idea – and why not? The demand for baked goods never seems to waver – especially in the UK! Perhaps you are currently planning on selling baked goods at home? Well, there are a couple of things you must do before you can sell your baked goods to the public. These steps include registering your business, learning the food hygiene laws, achieving food hygiene certificates, and more. In this article, we will discuss all the above, and more.
Do I need to register my business?
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 should be done at least 28 days before you open for business – and can be done in a matter of minutes, online. Your local authority will then arrange to visit your home 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. Once your business is ready to open and has been registered you should apply for a food hygiene inspection.
What is a food hygiene rating?
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is put in place by the government in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Scotland follows a different, yet similar scheme which you can read about here. The Food Hygiene Scheme is very important, it’s a way to make sure that all food premises are preparing their products in sanitary, and safe conditions. This ultimately protects both the food business and its customers. Every business which sells food or drink should apply for a food hygiene rating score.
What are the 5 food hygiene ratings?
Food Hygiene Rating 0 – This is the lowest score you can attain. It means improvement is urgent and needs to be carried out immediately. To receive this rating the organisation will have to obtain 50 points or more – the more points, the worse the rating when it comes to food hygiene scores.
Food Hygiene Rating 1 – Another low rating and one which will require improvements as soon as possible. 45-50 points will achieve a rating of 1. Changes will need to be made within the organisation.
Food Hygiene Rating 2 – Receiving this rating means that improvement is needed and just like the previous ratings, staff training is more than likely required, and perhaps an overhaul when it comes to equipment and processes. A score between 35-40 results in a food hygiene rating of 2.
Food Hygiene Rating 3 – A rating of 25-30 achieves a food hygiene rating of 3. This is the bare minimum and is thought of as a satisfactory score by some. Improvements are still recommended but not needed so urgently.
Food Hygiene Rating 4 – A score of 4 is achieved by attaining 20 points in the inspection. This is a great score to have and many businesses are proud to have it. It means they take food hygiene very seriously. That said, there is still room for improvement if the organisation wants to be even better.
Food Hygiene Rating 5 – Last, but certainly not least – what everybody wants to see! A hygiene rating of 5. To achieve this illustrious score you need to score between 0-15 points. This is what all food-handling businesses and organisations should be aiming for.
What food certificates do I need?
If you run or work in the food business, whether it be within your home food business, or away, you need to ensure that you and your staff are trained to an appropriate level in food hygiene. Although food hygiene training is expected – it is not a legal requirement to have a food hygiene certificate in the UK. However, there are many advantages to getting one. Having a food hygiene certificate promotes you as having a conscientious work ethic and gives you the knowledge to back up your experience and level of training. 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:
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.
Consider 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.