Starting a Food Business
Starting a food business in Guernsey can be slightly different to starting any other business as there are a few extra hoops you need to jump through in order to be all set up. Don't panic! This guide takes you through the 4 most commonly asked questions.
This guide does not give definitive legal advice, it is provided to help give you an overview of the issues you may encounter and provide contact details to specialist area authorities
Where can I set up?
When choosing where to set up your food business make sure the space allows you to comply with the necessary regulations, and that you can prepare the food safely there.
This means having enough space for bins, sinks with hot and cold water, easily cleanable work surfaces and hot and food storage.There also must be adequate ventilation, lighting and drainage.
Ensuring that your premise is safe and suitable can become difficult when you operate a mobile food business or a catering company. This guide by the office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation details how to do this.
How do I register my food business?
If you are a business that wants to sell and/or prepare food you must register with Environmental Health.
To register as a food business you fill out this form. This will enable you to obtain the license to sell and prepare food in Guernsey and covers any business from a mobile food van to a restaurant. Don’t forget that any business, no matter how small, that is making items for consumption must go through the registration process with Guernsey’s Environmental Health.
As a new business, you can operate and register your company in different ways, we take you through starting a company or registering as a sole trader in our article about registering your business.
Health and Safety... does it always have to be a headache?
No! Here's a list of 5 things to guide you through making your premises a health and safety success!
Have a written health and safety policy - Find the risks and explain the actions taken/facilities provided to minimise or entirely remove them.
It's good practise to have a H&S policy even if you have under 5 employees but it can be brief. Follow this useful template and example policy to help you.
Learn the health and safety requirements of your business - This general guide to Health and Safety in the Workplace put together by the States of Guernsey Health and Safety Executive can sort out any confusion. More detailed info can also be found on the UK Health and Safety website which has detailed resources explaining everything you may need to consider.
Ensure your business is fire safe - A fire risk assessment must be carried out. For details on the fire safety building regulations for businesses view the Guernsey Technical Standard on Fire Safety or contact the fire and rescue service.
Have a first aid kit - Suitable for the size of your staff. Additionally most businesses will choose to have at least 1 member of staff first aid trained. Make sure to check the most recent policies above from the Government and also your insurance provider.
Be aware of allergies - Make sure you have the appropriate methods to avoid cross contamination or clear labelling on food products with allergens listed to keep your customers safe. Detailed guidance on Food Allergies for businesses.
How do I keep my food safe?
The first thing to address is your staff. Workers must be wearing clean clothes, have washed hands, an apron if handling food, be in good health and wearing a hat or have their hair tied back.
You also need to train your staff in food hygiene to a level appropriate to their role in food preparation. There are 4 levels of training, each level is required for a different type of role within a food business handling foods of differing risk levels. Details are provided in the Food Hygiene and Training guide alongside training provider contact details.
Finally, make sure you have the correct storage facilities to store food at the correct temperature so that it doesn't become a risk. You might also need temperature probes and food covers.
If you need more guidance on food safety these food safety coaching videos are really helpful. Food.gov.uk also has a selection of information packs detailing how to keep food safe in differing types of food businesses.