If you’re preparing or storing food that you then serve to the public, there are rules and requirements you must follow, even if you just have a small cupcake business.
Whether you’re running a part-time cupcake business from your kitchen, or if you’ve just decided to open your very own cupcake shop, food hygiene and safety is of the utmost importance.
Across the UK, every year people die because of food poisoning or bacteria contained in food. While employers must ensure that their staff are properly trained for handling and preventing contaminated food, there is no law that states those preparing food must hold a qualification.
Smaller businesses and cafes that only offer cakes and prepare cold food like sandwiches or salads often don’t see the need to follow strict health and safety procedures. However, small kitchens used in these scenarios are just as likely to contract potential bacteria as restaurants, manufacturers and other food-related businesses. For example, fatal bacteria like Listeria can be found in salads and dairy products, which is why it is so important the correct safety procedures are followed - no matter what the size of your business is.
Should you want to operate your cupcake business from your home kitchen, you must prove that you have completed a Basic Food Hygiene course. You can do this online whenever you get the chance and the cost of this is relatively low. Once you have completed this, you will receive a food hygiene certificate, which proves your cleanliness and food safety within the kitchen.
If you are baking cakes or making other types of food infrequently for charity or other community events, you are not required to hold such a certificate. According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) “there is no rule banning the sale of homemade cakes at school fêtes or other community events.”
Under food legislation introduced in 2006, there are strict rules that apply to employers regarding where food is prepared and handled. Even the smallest of cupcakes businesses must be able to prove in writing what they do to ensure food is safe for consumption.
Even though a person preparing food is not required to hold any type of qualification, they must be provided with supervision and training. You can do this by finding accredited courses online. You can also provide ‘on the job’ training yourself, however inspectors and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) recognise accredited qualifications over this as it shows them that you and your staff have been trained at a certain level, to a particular standard.
If you have a retail business but also want to sell food, you should have a food safety management system. The detail within this system depends on the size of your business, so if you only have a small company this will only have to be simple. However, it is important to note that the person in charge of the food management system must have sufficient training.
Once you have registered your business with a local authority, the environment health department will give you a visit to assess the food safety and hygiene of your premises. Before this, you can contact the health department to gain advice and guidance on specific queries relating to food safety.
Once they have visited you they will deem your business safe and hygienic or give you a number of recommendations to improve before you open your business.