Starting a Food Business
- There are a number of issues to consider before you start a new food business. These include registering the business, structural requirements of the premises and having appropriately trained staff. You can contact an Environmental Health Officer to discuss any specific queries. Information on setting up a food business is available from the Food Standards Agency and is available from here.
- Details regarding the Food Standards Agency's Safer Food Better Business packs are available from their website.
- Food Standards Agency videos showing how to keep food safe can be found here.
Outdoor Events Catering Guidance
- Food safety must be a major consideration when preparing and / or selling food at outdoor events (e.g. farmers' markets, shows, catering for weddings and parties etc.).
- If someone operates for more than four days in any five consecutive weeks then they are legally obliged to register as a food business. Even if an operator is not legally required to register as a food business, all operators must comply with local food hygiene standards. It is important to remember that additional risks exist when operating from mobile premises and suitable provisions must be provided (including, but not limited to, facilities for hand washing).
- The 'downloads' section contains a guidance document which details the structural provisions and practices that you must follow if you run a mobile food business.
- Any complaints about food bought, provided or manufactured in the Bailiwick of Guernsey can be investigated by the Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation.
- If you have a sample of the food we will ask you to bring the food into our office. It is important that, where possible, you give us the food and any foreign objects as well as receipts, packaging and labels so that the complaint can be investigated as thoroughly as possible.
- If you have a disability or are unable to come to the office we can arrange to collect the food sample from you. If you do not live in Guernsey you may be able to take the food to your own local authority, which can arrange to send it to us. If you cannot visit our offices immediately, it is usually best to freeze the product.
- Many food complaints are related to food that originates from outside the Bailiwick. These complaints are still investigated by this Department but these matters are also referred to the 'primary authority' of the manufacturer.
- The department does not pursue claims for compensation but this type of action may be taken as a civil matter.
- If the complaint does not involve a food sample and is related to the structure or general practices within food premises then please contact an Environmental Health Officer so that this can be investigated.
- To ensure food safety is monitored in accordance with EU legislation, the Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation carries out sampling programmes of Guernsey's farmed shellfish harvesting industry. The shellfish beds are classified in accordance with EU Regulation 854/2003. See the relevant document in the downloads section for further information regarding classifications.
- Food samples can be taken and analysed in response to a complaint or as part of a sampling initiative. Often analysis of food is undertaken to assess the microbiological quality of the food, which can provide information on the suitability of the food for human consumption. If food is believed to be contaminated then some indication of the type of contaminant would need to be known in order to make the testing more targeted as the number of possible contaminants is almost infinite.
- If you believe that a specific food made you ill and you still have a sample of the food then it must be stored appropriately before the food is analysed otherwise the results may be inconclusive and the testing would be pointless. If the food cannot be taken directly to this Department then it should be frozen until it can be delivered.
Other general Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - Reducing risks, protecting people information for all businesses.