14 things every food business needs to be safe & legal
Every catering business in the UK must adhere to a series of legal requirements in order to trade.
Follow our useful checklist in order to ensure that you are operating in accordance with the legal guidelines.
It is a legal requirement to register your business with the Environmental Health Department prior to trading. It is good practice and NCASS recommended to register at least 28 days before you begin trading.
Registration takes place with the Environmental Health Department at your Local Authority. Mobile caterers must register with the Local Authority in which their premises are kept.
Within your first three months of trading, your Environmental Health Department will carry out an inspection of your premises to ensure that you are trading legally and safely.
Getting the right Legal & Tax Structure for you and your business.
When setting up your new catering business, you will need to elect a business structure which best suits the needs of your business. Options include:
Limited Liability Partnership
Make certain that you opt for the best structure for your business and consider both the advantages and pitfalls of each structure. Once you have decided on the option most relevant to your business, you must also register with HMRC and set up a Book Keeping System. > Find out more
If your business has a turnover of £81,000 or more, you'll need to register for VAT too.
All items which come in to contact with food must be comprised of safe materials, cleaned effectively, well maintained and fitted with appropriate control devices where necessary.
All your gas equipment must be CE marked and have a flame failure advice to cut the flow of gas if a flame goes out.
> Find out more
All food businesses in the European Union must have a Food Safety Risk Assessment based on HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) principles.
The NCASS Due Diligence System covers Food Safety, Health & Safety, COSSH, Fire Safety and Employment. This not only helps you to understand and assess the risks associated with running your business, but also ensures that you have plans in place which are designed to minimise risk and liability in any eventuality.
A Due Diligence System is a vital tool for all caterers. Having a Due Diligence system in place ensures that you have a record of the policies and procedures to which you must adhere in order to keep your staff and customers safe at all times.
As a caterer, a Due Diligence System is likely your only line of defence in the unfortunate event of prosecution, so it is essential that your Due Diligence System is relevant to your business. > Find out more here
This ensures that each staff member is operating safely, legally and effectively. If you're unsure as to whether you or your staff require further training, then please see our Training Area.
You'll also need to keep records of employees' pay and pay VAT and National Insurance contributions on their behalf.
By law, all food business must have separate hand and pot washing facilities.
People failing to wash their hands regularly is a key cause of cross contamination and food poisoning. Subsequently, it is a legal requirement for all catering units to have appropriate hand washing facilities. Anti Bacterial Gel is not accepted by Environmental Health Officers as an appropriate method of cleaning hands.
If you need a mobile hand-washing solution then see our Store
Compliance minimises risk to your customers and staff as well as to you and your business. With more than 30 years of experience under our belt, NCASS is well placed to help you run your food business legally and safely. Trade legally and you’re in the best position to trade safely.
All the information, tools, training and legislation updates you need to trade legally are waiting for you in your NCASS membership package. We go the extra mile to ensure that our members can trade legally whilst fulfilling their passion: cooking delicious food.
Join from just £20.25
"The endless website of information, training, guidance, links and legislation. Then there is the customer care and patience. It really is 5 star. Where can you obtain a fraction of this anywhere else at your price! It makes me proud when we have our Local Authority inspections and are given the thumbs up every time thanks to NCASS."
Penny Bailey, Mangorays. Mem No 7812
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