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Welcome Packs (The Provision of Food)

Leaving some local goodies, homemade cakes or bread and perhaps some eggs etc. for guests to enjoy during their stay is a lovely welcoming touch. However, could it mean that you need to register as a food business?

The general requirement to register a food business currently resides in retained EU regulations (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/eur/2004/852/article/6) which states:

“every food business operator shall notify the appropriate competent authority, in the manner that the latter requires, of each establishment under its control that carries out any of the stages of production, processing and distribution of food, with a view to the registration of each such establishment.”

Recital 9 of this regulation states registration should apply only to undertakings, the concept of which implies a certain continuity of activities and a certain degree of organisation. The competent authority in the UK for food registration purposes is currently the local authority.

The legal definition of a food business is any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any of the activities related to any stage of production, processing and distribution of food. The Food Standards agency states here: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/getting-ready-to-start-your-food-business#who- needs-to-register

“If you supply food regularly, for free or otherwise, to the public, then you need to register as a food business.”

So, does this apply to a Self-Catering Business?

It is difficult to give a definitive answer on which businesses need to be registered and it is ultimately (currently) up to the local authority to decide.

The provision of any kind of food in a welcome pack could mean registration is required if the law is taken literally, but most local authorities would say that this type of activity is so low risk that it doesn’t need to be registered.

In general terms:

  • If a self-caterer is only providing a small welcome pack of pre-packed goods tea/coffee/biscuits, then there would be no need to register with the local authority as a food business.
  • If they are providing home baking, they should register as a food business
  • A B&B should be registered as a food business

It is worth checking with the Environmental Health Team at your Local Authority for a definitive s of your own business.

* This may all change and be significantly different in Scotland (and NI) to the rest of the UK depending on how the UK government decides to handle the intended scrapping of retained EU legislation at the end of 2023.

Author of guidance: ASSC Date of guidance: March 2023

Disclaimer – Guidance Sheets are written by experienced Members of the ASSC and other experts. The information in the ‘Guidance Sheet’ is provided by the ASSC for use by Members in support of their own independent business decisions. It does not constitute advice or instruction for which the ASSC can be held liable in any way whatsoever. All Members and other readers remain responsible for the consequences of any decisions taken whether in the light of information gained from this Guidance Sheet or not.

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