Food glorious food. So, you’ve decided to open up a food service establishment. Before you start serving delicious delights to hungry customers, there are health regulations to adhere to.

If you don’t follow government guidelines, not only could you be putting your guest’s safety at risk but also your business. You can face unlimited fines for not following food safety standards.

This guide discusses health regulations for food service establishments, including:

  • Setting up.
  • Food safety standards.
  • General food law.
  • Food information regulation.

Setting up

The UK Government offers guidance on setting up your business in a safe way. 

Premises

When you open a food service establishment, to follow health regulations, select a property that:

  • Has no obstructions that compromise the availability of space with suitable areas to prepare food.
  • Is possible to clean and maintain — it can’t be a building beyond repair that could affect the food processes.
  • Has hand washing and toilet facilities available — there must be sinks with hot water for you to wash your hands.
  • Allows space for changing areas — you must have room to change into the appropriate kitchenware. 
  • Additionally, it has ventilation and lighting — it must be a safe environment  to prepare food.

Food preparation areas

There is further guidance for the areas that you prepare food:

  • Floors and walls — these have to be clean, washable and in good condition.
  • Ceilings — must be able to clean to avoid build-up of dirt and can’t have mold or flaking paint.
  • Washing equipment and food — the sinks should have hot and cold clean water that you can use to clean utensils, equipment or food.

Food wastage

Another health regulation guidance for foodservice establishments is the importance of managing food waste properly.

Have the appropriate fridges and freezers to store ingredients, as well as a regular routine to take out the bins to avoid a buildup inside.

If your premises don’t have the facilities to dispose of or store food, you could attract pests. The most common ones are:

  • Birds.
  • Rodents.
  • Insects.

Food safety standards

The UK Government’s most clear health regulations for food service establishments are a combination of three laws:

It may be helpful to read through each piece of legislation dependent on where you operate within the UK. These are what the Government is most likely to base fines on.

There are a few common main points among these laws that you should make a priority in your business:

  • You can’t remove or add anything to the food that can damage the health of the person who eats it.
  • You have to serve or sell food of the nature, substance and quality that your customer expects.
  • You can’t mislead people over what they eat, so food has to be correctly labelled, advertised and presented.

General food laws

Another health regulation for foodservice establishments you may aim to know about is the broader general food law.

Safety

There are two primary general food laws that you should be aware of. Your food is unsafe if it:

  • It is considered unfit for human consumption.
  • Has the potential to injure health.

Traceability

The general food laws require you to keep a record that answers:

  • Where does the food come from?
  • What substances are in the food?
  • Which animals are in the food?
  • Where have you supplied your food?

Withdrawal and recalls

General food laws also demand that you should immediately withdraw any food you sell that falls below the safety standards.

It also encourages you to recall the products if you have already sold unsafe food, meaning you ask customers to return or throw them out (be willing to offer a refund, to avoid damage to your reputation).

Food information regulation

For your business to comply with further health regulations for food service establishments, you can also consider food information.

The Food Information Regulations 2014 relate the labelling of food that you sell and the availability of relevant information about it.

As mentioned earlier, you can’t mislead your customers over what they are eating. Further, the information regulations make it a criminal offence not to make allergen information available.

There are 14 allergens that you as a business have to mention if your food contains:

  • Celery
  • Cereals that contain gluten (e.g. barley or oats)
  • Crustaceans (e.g. prawns or crabs)
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lupin
  • Milk
  • Molluscs (e.g. oysters or mussels)
  • Mustard
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame
  • Soybeans
  • Sulphur dioxide and sulphites
  • Tree nuts (e.g. almonds or pecans)

Suppose you sell food containing any of those types of ingredients. In that case, it’s crucial to put that information into your menus. 

The regulators have listed those key allergens as they are most common or likely to cause dangerous reactions.

Without the display of those ingredients, if a customer eats your food and has a reaction, you can face criminal damages in addition to fines. So they should be essential to consider when you open your business.

Aside from those 14, there are other ingredients that your customers could be allergic to. For example, some people are allergic to certain fruits like kiwi. 

To keep customers safe, you can make sure to display all of the ingredients you use in your food. That’s how producers who sell prepackaged food create their labelling. 

BONUS: Think about financial safety with Countingup

When you open a food service establishment, it’s clear that there are many regulations to consider. 

It would help if you kept on top of the finances that come in and out of your business, so you can afford to keep it compliant. 

Countingup is a current business account with built-in accounting software available through a mobile app. 

It has a cash flow insights feature, which means you’ll always be aware of your money so you can fix any issues that might not meet regulations.

Keep your money safe just like your customers, follow the UK safety regulations and use Countingup to manage your finances.

Get started for free.

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