Food safety advice

All food businesses must put in place (and follow) a food safety management system to ensure that it consistently produces safe food.

Safer Food, Better Business (SFBB)

The government have published 8 information packs tailored to:

Each pack contains forms (known as 'safe methods') for you to work through.

You must complete all of the forms relevant to your business to detail each step of the food process to ensure hygeine and safety.

You should then share this pack with all of your staff, so they know what they must do to follow the plan for producing food safely.

Diary sheets are available to note down any daily changes to protocol.

The pack and completed diary sheets are evidence that the premises has a food safety management system in place and the completed diary sheets show the business is monitoring the controls they have identified.

If your system and controls are simple, you will not be required to use SFBB.

We advise home caterers and bakers to consistently observe simple steps, which will help you ensure that you make safe food; for example:

  • purchase quality ingredients from reputable suppliers
  • check ingredients for common allergens, if found, handle these with extra care to prevent cross contamination and label them correctly
  • purchase small quantities of ingredients, so there is not a lot to store
  • keep ingredients separate from the family's food
  • purchase a suitable food grade thermometer, check the fridge temperature and record the temperature checks in a diary
  • remove miscellaneous small items from the kitchen, to prevent foreign body contamination
  • deep clean and sanitise the kitchen before cooking food for the business
  • when cooking, keep family members and pets out of the kitchen
  • ensure you put food into a suitable food grade container 
  • source suitable packaging for the food to be delivered to the customer in, eg cardboard cake boxes and film fronted bags.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)

Manufacturers, larger businesses, butchers selling cooked meats and caterers with more complex menus will need to develop a system along HACCP principles.

HACCP is a food safety management system looking in detail at each step in the production process to identify hazards and implement controls.

Businesses can access the free MY HACCP web tool to guide them through the process of developing a food safety management system based on the HACCP principles.

Read guidance on preventing contamination of meat

If you do not have the training and expertise to do this yourself you should seek assistance from a qualified professional in food safety.

Chilled food storage and production

It is important that the cold chain for perishable foods is maintained and routinely monitored to assist in controlling food safety to prevent the growth of pathogenic micro-organisms or the formation of toxins and safely fulfil their stated shelf life. The commercial storage of chilled foods must therefore comply with The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and this will assist effective stock management. The Chilled Food Association is one example of an organisation that can assist approved cold store and retailers with advice to maintain their cold chains.

It is recommended that all food businesses are familiar with the requirements of temperature control to ensure the food they handle or produce is safe for consumption. Safer Food, Better Business is a food safety management pack for small catering businesses, such as restaurants, caf├ęs and takeaways that have registered with the local authority as a food business. 


Food Information Regulations 2014 (opens new window) have made it mandatory for allergen information to be emphasised in the ingredients list on all pre-packed foods. For non pre-packed foods (including catering), allergen information must be made available to consumers.

There are 14 allergens covered by the regulations.

The Food Standards Agency website gives information on the allergens covered by the regulations (opens new window), and advice on providing information to customers and best practice for handling allergenic ingredients to prevent cross contamination.

The Food Standards Agency allergen checklist for food businesses (opens new window) provides an easy to follow guide to putting allergen controls in place at a business.

There is also a food allergy online training course (opens new window) that managers and staff must complete.

The law has changed in relation to 'pre-packed for direct sale (opens new window)' food. The changes take effect from October 2021 giving businesses time to comply with the new requirements.

Use the materials and resources provided by the Food Standards Agency to ensure that your business controls allergens and has full allergen information available for customers.

Page last updated: 20 Feb 2023