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Starting a food business

Changing your business operating model

This page contains guidance for changing the way your food business operates. Please read all the pages in this guide to ensure you have the information you need to run your food business.

If you are changing the operating model for your food business, such as selling food online, selling food from a mobile unit, or diversifying your business, it is important to understand the additional safety risks this may introduce.

This guidance on changing your business model includes the steps you need to take to address these risks, and how to communicate these to your customers effectively.

Inform your local authority

You must make sure your local authority has up to date information about your food business.

You should inform your local authority of any changes to your registerable food activities. This includes the introduction of a new delivery or takeaway service.

The local authority may not need to inspect your new business operation, but should be informed of any changes that may introduce additional risks into your food production processes.

You should tell your local authority if:

  • you decide not to start trading
  • you are planning to make significant changes to your business model
  • you plan to close your food business.

Risk assessment

Food businesses which have made changes should review and, update their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedures, or HACCP-based Food Safety Management System (such as Safer food, better business, or the Safe catering pack in Northern Ireland.) 

You should check that the changes you have made have not introduced any additional hazards which you are not controlling.

You must:

  • document any changes you make 
  • document the start-up checks you undertake

Your risk assessment should consider the impact of these changes to your usual hygiene and food safety practices.

You should make all staff aware of changes to your Food Safety Management Systems, and make sure they receive training when processes are changed. 

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