Have you heard of the muffin man? Who lives on Drury Lane? Well, he didn’t get to be the muffin man overnight. There are some laws and regulations he had to follow.

Now, when you open your small bakery, you don’t want any reason to crumble. If your business understands all the legal measures, it can rise to perfection.

This guide discusses the laws and regulations for a bakery, which includes:

  • Registration and licences
  • Food safety
  • Fire safety

Registration and licence regulations for a bakery

There are laws and regulations for a bakery to follow before they open. These include:

  • Registering as a food business
  • Organic products registration
  • Background music licence

Registering as a food business

Any business that sells food must register for free with their local council through the UK Government portal. Each authority aims to be aware of all premises that sell food in their area.

It can take up to 28 days to process your registration, so it’s essential to think ahead when you plan to open. Without registration, you can receive a fine or face a prison sentence of two years.

Organic products registration

You might aim to sell organic bakery products. To label food as organic legally, you’ll have to register with an organic control body.

Find one of the UK Government approved bodies for your area with their portal. To get approval, it’s likely that your product will have to be at least 95% organic.

Background music licence

A bakery is a magical place with its allure of aromas anyway. Still, a soundtrack to your premises could add to the experience for your customers.

Although music isn’t essential, if you want to play it in a public area of the business, you’ll have to acquire a licence from the PPL PRS.

Food safety laws and regulations for a bakery

There are some fundamental laws and regulations for a bakery to follow regarding food safety. These include:

  • Food safety act
  • Food hygiene rating scheme
  • COSHH
  • HACCP
  • Bread and flour regulations

Food safety act

The primary food safety laws to consider are from the Food Safety Act 1990, which points out some of your key responsibilities. 

These include:

  • Inclusion or removal — don’t add or take away anything that means the food becomes harmful.
  • Food treatment — can’t be treated in a way that makes it dangerous.
  • Nature, substance or quality — must be to the standard that customers expect.
  • Labelling and presentation —  don’t be false or misleading.

Food hygiene rating scheme

After you’ve registered your food business, you’ll get a visit from a health inspector who’ll issue you with a Food Hygiene Rating (in England, Wales or Northern Ireland). 

What they will assess is:

  • Food storage
  • Food handling
  • Food preparation
  • Facility cleanliness
  • Food safety management

After a rating, you get a rating sticker that you must display in Wales or Northern Ireland, but it’s optional in England. A rating between 1-5 will let customers know what to expect from your food hygiene.

COSHH

There’s a law called the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), which lays out some specific regulations for baking.

It mentions some key hazardous substances like:

  • Flour dust
  • Improver dust (which contains enzymes)
  • Protein dust (e.g. from egg or soya)
  • Concentrates of flavour, citrus oils and spices
  • Disinfectant and cleaning products

If you breathe in dust it can lead to health problems like asthma, for example.

There are some ways to overcome dust hazards:

  • Extraction units
  • Vacuum or wet clean
  • Wear a respirator

HACCP

When you receive a visit from health inspectors, they will check if you have a Hazard Analysis and Critical Point (HACCP) plan in place.

It encourages you to identify any risks in your business and any key place they might be (e.g. cross contamination can happen in fridges). With a plan, you demonstrate a procedure to overcome any issues.

The three main types of hazards to consider in your plan are:

  • Microbiological — harmful bacteria
  • Chemical — any contamination
  • Physical — objects in food

Bread and flour regulations

There’s a specific law for your industry regarding your flour and bread. The Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 cover everything from:

  • Essential ingredients
  • Iron powder specifications
  • Non-permitted ingredients
  • Composition of flour

Before you start to bake, read that legislation carefully because the penalties can be a conviction or fine if you break it.

Fire safety laws and regulations for a bakery

There are laws and regulations for a bakery regarding fire safety. You’ll use large ovens, so it’s essential to ensure that your business is safe with:

  • Risk assessments
  • Equipment and evacuation

Risk assessments

As the business owner, you’re legally responsible for risk assessing your business for its fire safety.

Fire risk assessments include:

  • Identify fire hazards — e.g. oven.
  • Identify those at risk — e.g. yourself, the baker, customers if it spreads.
  • Evaluate, remove or reduce risks — e.g. clean the ovens routinely to avoid any dirt build-up.
  • Record and prepare for emergency — e.g. keep a log and mention fire exits available to use.
  • Review and update — e.g. you might get a newer oven with less risk of an issue.

Equipment and evacuation

Aside from the risk assessment, plan your evacuation and purchase fire safety equipment.

Equipment can include:

  • Alarms
  • Extinguishers
  • Blankets
  • Sprinkler system

If you’ve got equipment in place, then you must carry out regular checks to make sure they still work. Also use fire drills to see if evacuation plans are likely to work. 

Your local fire authority can visit you, and they can issue notices if you don’t have plans in place.

Final thoughts… 

Now that you’ve got a safe bakery, make sure your taxes follow regulations with Countingup.

As a small bakery business, you’ll also have to follow regulations regarding taxation. For example, as an owner, you’ll have to file your Self Assessment income tax returns.

Whisk through taxes with Countingup

Countingup is a business account with built-in accounting software to make bookkeeping for your bakery seamless through your phone

Its tax estimation feature helps you understand how much to put aside each month so that when it comes to the end of the year, you’re already ready.

Get started for free.

For more information on tips for your bakery, see:

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