Food safety regulations

It is important for your business that food is handled and stored correctly and is not contaminated in any way.

Remember the 4 C's for food safety:

  • Cleanliness
  • Cooking
  • Chilling
  • Cross-contamination

Visit the Food and Drink Federation website for further information. Check out the consumers section for the A-Z compendium of food safety information, and the four food safety fact files on hygiene, food storage, food preparation and food poisoning.

Food business responsibility

An estimated five million people suffer from food poisoning in England and Wales each year. Running a food business means that you have a particular responsibility in protecting the health of your customers.

For more detailed information please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Staff in the Food Safety Team are always willing to give guidance on how the law relates to your business. If you need advice, please complete our Food safety enquiry form.

Food information for consumers (allergy information)

From 13 December 2014, all food businesses (eg restaurants, takeaways, bakeries and delicatessens) must declare any of 14 identified allergenic ingredients which are used in non-prepacked or loose foods that are sold or provided. The EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation (No. 1169/2011) lays down rules for the new requirements.

Key areas of the regulation include:

  • Country of origin/Place of provenance: origin requirements have been tightened and also extended to fresh and frozen meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry. The Commission has introduced implementing rules which will require information on the place of rearing and place of slaughter for these meats. These rules are expected to apply from April 2015. The Commission will also undertake reviews on widening the scope to include other foods, including meat products and dairy products
  • Nutrition labelling: 'back of pack' information will become mandatory on the majority of prepacked foods, and it will be possible to voluntarily repeat on 'front of pack' information on nutrients of importance to public health. It will also be possible to provide voluntary nutrition information in the 'front of pack' format on food sold loose (eg on deli counters) and in catering establishments. In addition, there remains scope for businesses to use Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) based on reference intakes specified in the regulations and (subject to certain conditions) extra forms of expression and presentation
  • Alcoholic drinks will be exempted from mandatory nutrition labelling, but it will be possible for manufacturers to provide energy information on a voluntary basis
  • Date marking: depending on the type of food, consumers will continue to see 'best before' and 'use by' dates on pre-packed foods. The latter will be more tightly linked to food safety. Where appropriate ie for meat and fish, there will also be a date of first freezing shown on food labels
  • A minimum font size for the mandatory information on most food labels will aid clarity
  • Drinks with high caffeine content will also have to be labelled as not recommended for children or pregnant and breastfeeding women, with the actual caffeine content quoted
  • The types of vegetable oil used in food, such as palm oil, must be stated
  • Allergen information will be extended to non-prepacked foods and catering situations with flexibility in how businesses provide this to consumers
  • Added water in certain meat and fishery products will need to be shown in the name of the food if it makes up more than 5 per cent of the final product

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