Search site

Food safety for businesses

If you are intending to open a new food business, or are taking over an existing one, it is important for you to understand the food safety requirements that will apply to your business.

You should ensure that you are familiar with the range of food that will be provided or produced by your business, and the legal requirements that you will need to comply with to ensure its safety.

As all food businesses are different, you may need to carry out additional research to identify specific risks associated with the foods you produce and how to overcome them. You may also need to consider any particular consumer needs or risks, whether you need to carry out testing of your food products, and any restraints from such things as building layout, equipment, and environmental factors.

Whilst food safety regulators will give advice where appropriate, the primary responsibility for ensuring food safety and drawing up and implementing an effective food safety management system lies with the food business operator.

To help businesses with these tasks we have produced the guide What every business needs to know. We have also produced some additional topical guidance template forms that businesses may find useful. These are available on Advice and forms for businesses in Bexley.

Remember to make sure that you apply to register your food business at least 28 days before you begin to operate. You can find further information on how to register including a copy of the form available as a PDF under related downloads. Read and complete the form carefully, and return it to us signed and dated using the contact address provided on the form.

Businesses engaged in the production of meat or fish products, or pre-packed ready meals may be subject to different food safety requirements and are likely to need prior approval in order to operate. If your business is likely to be carrying out these processes, please contact the Food Safety team.

Need help setting up a food safety management system?

Businesses are free to set up a food safety management system that best suits their own business operations. However, guidance has been especially developed to help small businesses put in place food safety management procedures and comply with food hygiene regulations. This guidance is more commonly known as Safer Food, Better Business (often referred to as "SFBB"), and is available from the Food Standards Agency. The SFBB guidance has been expanded to include specific information for particular types of businesses such as childminders, retail premises, and care homes, as well as the food safety requirements of specific cuisines.

To help businesses train their staff in the requirements of their food safety management system, the Food Standards Agency has published 10 short videos to help illustrate some of the messages within the 'Safer food, better business' packs. Each video is about a minute long and covers specific food hygiene practices.

Keeping you informed

We keep food businesses up to date with topical issues by sending them 'Food Matters', an occasional newsletter prepared by the Food Safety team.

'Food Matters' is usually sent out two or three times a year - the most recent editions are available from Related Downloads.

When the Food Standards Agency (FSA) issues a food safety alert, we check to see what action is expected of local food authorities and will contact food businesses and/or the local press as necessary. More details of food safety alerts are available on Food Standards Agency

'Scores on the Doors' - The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

The Council has signed up to the Food Standards Agency's national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme to help improve food hygiene standards in food businesses and to help raise customer awareness. More details about the scheme and its implementation are available on Food Safety.