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How to safely host a street party

Whether you are attending a community party or hosting one of your own, it is important to be aware of food safety and hygiene. Below are some practical tips and advice on best practice so that everyone can trust the food they’re eating.

Street party registration

If you are putting on a one-off event for friends and neighbours, you do not need to register, however if any food businesses are present they must be registered with the local council.

However, you may need to register with your local authority as a food business if you provide food on a regular and organised basis.

Licencing requirements are controlled by your Local Authority. You can read more on how to register your food business

You do not need a food hygiene training certificate to make and sell food for charity events. However, you need to make sure that you handle food safely. 

Selling food at a street party

You do not need a food hygiene training certificate to make and sell food for charity events. However, you need to make sure that you handle food safely. 

Handling party food

Warm weather and outdoor cooking are the perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and there are risks when preparing and serving chilled food in these conditions. 

Following the 4Cs of food hygiene will help you prepare, make and store food safely. You can do this by:

  • cleaning effectively removes the bacteria on hands, equipment and surfaces. This helps to stop harmful bacteria and viruses from spreading onto food.
  • chilling your food below 8 degrees will stop or significantly slow the growth of bacteria. This temperature must be maintained and foods that need to be chilled like sandwich fillings should not be left out of the fridge for more than four hours. 
  • cooking food correctly by following the guidance on time and temperature
  • avoiding cross-contamination which might lead to bacteria passing from raw foods to ready-to-eat foods via things like re-usable shopping bags, knives and chopping boards.
  • good personal hygiene is also essential when you're preparing food. This will help ensure that bacteria you may have come into contact with isn't passed to your friends, family and neighbours in their food. 

Best practice

Here are some practical tips to help keep food you prepare and eat safe during your celebrations:

  • wash your hands regularly with soap and water before food preparation and consumption
  • always wash fresh fruit and vegetables
  • keep raw and ready-to-eat foods apart
  • do not use food past its use-by date
  • always read any cooking instructions and make sure food is properly cooked before you serve it – it needs to be piping hot
  • ensure that food preparation areas are cleaned and sanitised before and after use and ensure equipment is washed in hot soapy water
  • plan ahead to keep your food cool until you're ready to eat. Any foods which you would usually keep in the fridge at home also need to be kept cool on your picnic. This includes; any food with a use-by-date, cooked dishes, salads and dairy products
  • place these foods in a cool box or cool bag with ice or frozen gel packs. Distribute these throughout the box or bag, not all at the bottom. You can also use frozen drinks to help keep your cool box cold. Store cold food below 5 degrees to prevent bacteria from growing. 

If food isn't handled properly people are at risk of food poisoning from:

  • campylobacter – spreads through the cross-contamination from raw chicken
  • listeria – is most commonly associated with chilled, ready-to-eat foods like cured meats, pre-prepared sandwiches and salads
  • salmonella – is most often found in undercooked poultry, raw meat, eggs or unpasteurised milk
  • E.coli – it is often found on raw and undercooked meats

Read our Providing food at community and charity events for specific advice about making and serving cakes at community events.

Our picnic advice contains more tips on how to keep food cold and safe.

If you are hosting a BBQ then please read our BBQ food safety information

Bear in mind that on hot days you need to be extra vigilant. 

Providing advice for people with food allergies

The FSA recommends that you provide as much information about allergens as possible.

The more information you can provide about the ingredients in the food you serve the better. This will allow everyone to make safe choices when choosing food to eat, particularly those with specific food allergies.

There are resources available if you wish to display allergen guidance.

Local food safety team advice

Contact your local food safety team if you have any enquiries about your event or an event you are looking to attend.

You can find your local food safety team on our website: Contact a local food safety team.

COVID advice for street parties

It is important to remember that COVID still poses a risk to us all and there are actions we can all take to help reduce the risk of catching the virus and passing it on to others.  If you have any symptoms of COVID or you feel unwell, please follow the guidance on Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19 on GOV.UK.