Food hygiene and the law

As a food business you need to practice ways of working that will promote good food hygiene and ensure the food you serve is safe to eat.

This includes ensuring that:

  • procedures are in place to manage your food business; these need to be written down where necessary
  • your food premises are clean and in good condition
  • food is stored, prepared and cooked safely

Here are some ways you can help protect your customers and staff and prevent food poisoning:

Food Safety Management System (FSMS)

All of your business' food safety management procedures should be based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles.

This involves identifying any risks to food safety within your business and looking at what you can do to remove or minimise those risks. You also need to check any procedures in place are working and are being monitored and recorded as necessary.

Food safety management procedures should be appropriate for your business. If you have a small business these may only need to be simple.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has produced the 'safer food better business pack' to help you with this, see:

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Your FSMS will also need to consider the allergens that are in your food. Information must be readily available for your customers about any allergens that may be present in the food that they buy or order.

More information and free on-line training is available from the Food Standards Agency (FSA):

Trading Standards at West Sussex County Council deal with the labelling of foodstuffs, including allergen labelling.

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Food composition and labelling - Trading Standards

You can find out about food law enforcement and food composition and labelling by contacting West Sussex County Council's (WSCC) Trading Standards service:

Further information on food labelling and allergens is available from the Food Standards Agency (FSA):

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Reduce the risk of E.coli contamination

It's important you take all the necessary steps to control and reduce the risk of E.coli O157 contamination in your business.

The following guide from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) gives advice on good practice:

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Staff training

Anyone that handles food within a food business must receive the supervision and food hygiene training appropriate for the work they do.

Although staff don't legally have to attend a formal course, many business owners find this is the best way to ensure their staff gain the knowledge required. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) provide food safety courses which complement guidelines issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA):

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Fitness to work

You must not allow anyone to handle food or enter a food handling area if they:

  • are suffering from, or carrying, a disease likely to be transmitted through food
  • have infected wounds, skin infections or sores
  • have diarrhoea and/or vomiting

For more information please see the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) fitness for work guidance:

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Voluntary, charity and community based food activities

In some circumstances, the requirement to register a food business/activity is relaxed. This relaxation is dependent upon the level of food risk involved, the degree of organisation and the frequency of the food activity itself.

Examples of such activities include food banks, food distribution by charities and church organisations and community pantries.

FSA guidance on voluntary, charity and community food activities is here:

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Pest control

Food premises must be pest proofed and you must carry out regular checks for food pests such as rats, mice, cockroaches and flying insects. For more information see:

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Imported food

If you are importing food you must ensure you are aware of all the rules and regulations that apply to various products. To find out more from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) see:

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Waste management

As a food business you have a responsibility to ensure that any waste you produce is managed correctly. Waste should be stored in a container with a lid and you should arrange for it to be collected regularly by an authorised waste carrier. For details of the service we offer please see:

For guidance on the disposal of animal by-products please see:

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Safety in catering

Working in the catering industry presents many possible safety hazards and risk areas such as slips and trips, accidents involving knives, fire, contact dermatitis and musculoskeletal disorders.

For useful advice on how to protect your staff and customers please see:

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Page last updated: 29 May 2024

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