Shropshire Council

Running a food business from home

If you're handling or preparing food at home as a commercial business it's your responsibility to ensure the food is safe, and you must comply with current food safety legislation. You're also required to register your food business

The standards you will have to meet depend on a number of factors, such as the type and quantity of food you intend to prepare.

Although we wouldn't expect to see the same things in a domestic kitchen as we would in a commercial one, we'd still expect the same high standards of food safety and hygiene.

As a general principle, if you prepare high risk foods the standards required of you will be much stricter than if you only prepare low risk foods.

If you're a home cake maker, you may find our guidance useful.

The kitchen

  • all surfaces must be capable of being effectively cleaned. Domestic kitchen units that are in a good condition are normally of an acceptable standard
  • carpeting is not recommended for kitchen floors, but where it is used, it must be kept clean and in a good condition. It's strongly recommended that the next time the floor covering is due for replacement an easy to clean (washable) floor surface should be provided
  • there must be a sink, with hot and cold running water, available for washing equipment and foodstuffs. In addition to the washing up sink you must have somewhere nearby to wash your hands. This will need hot water, antibacterial soap and hand drying facilities. It also needs to be separate from the washing up sink – usually the basin in a downstairs cloakroom is fine
  • It's recommended that food equipment and utensils shouldn't be stored underneath the sink unit due to the potential risk of contamination from waste water

Handling practices

  • personal hygiene must be of a high standard at all times, this includes the wearing of appropriate clothing, and the removal of any jewellery
  • wash hands before food preparation, after handling raw meat or eggs, and pets, and after going to the toilet etc. Take a look at our guidance on hand hygiene
  • effective cleaning must be carried out, using a two-step cleaning method where surfaces are cleaned initially with hot soapy water to remove food debris, followed by an effective disinfectant
  • due to the potential risk of contamination, pets shouldn't be allowed in the kitchen. If this can't be prevented, all surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned before food preparation begins
  • don't carry out any food preparation activities when suffering from sickness and/or diarrhoea, including the 48 hours after the last bout of symptoms

Temperature control

‘High risk’ foods such as meat, dairy products and other food items, which the manufacturer states must be kept refrigerated, must be kept at a temperature of 8°C or below. It's recommended that a thermometer should be available to take the temperature of any units you have. When taking the air temperature, a satisfactory temperature range would be between 0-6°C, as the temperature of the food items may be 1-2°C higher.

It's a strong recommendation to record the temperature of the fridge on a regular basis, so that any deficiencies in performance can be identified and dealt with immediately, an action which could form part of a ‘due diligence defence’, showing that all reasonable precautions have been taken.

You must also ensure that:

  • to minimise any possible cross contamination raw meat must be kept below or separate to cooked/ready to eat foods
  • all food items should be kept covered if practicable to prevent any possible contamination
  • a suitable stock rotation system must be in place

It's recommended that:

  • defrosting of food should be carried out in the fridge; if not practicable then food should be left at room temperature for as short a time as possible
  • the operating temperature of a freezer is between -18 and -21°C, and the freezer unit should be defrosted on a regular basis. The manufacturer’s star rating guidance on storage times must be adhered to.

Training

Food handlers must be supervised, instructed and/or trained in food hygiene to a level appropriate to their work. To comply with this it's recommended that the main food handler undertakes a level 2 food hygiene course.

Food safety management system

You need to write down the controls you have in place and the checks you carry out to ensure that the food you make is safe. The use of the Food Standard Agency’s ‘Safer Food Better Business’ is one way of doing this.