Community and charity food provision: revised guidance on application of EU food hygiene law

Last updated:
21 August 2015
We are seeking views on our draft revised guidance for organisers of charity and community food provision about the application of EU food hygiene law. The original guidance was issued in July 2013. It is being revised so it stays relevant and helpful for users.

Your views

We particularly welcome any comments you have about whether the guidance:

  • is helpful and does what it claims to do
  • describes the law and how it applies clearly
  • does not undermine public health protection given by the law
  • is a fair and proportionate view of the law
  • is clear that community and charity providers must contact local authorities if they are still unsure whether registration of their activities is required after looking at the guidance
  • provides examples that are realistic and cover enough situations
  • places unnecessary burdens on organisations in the charity or community sector or on local authorities

How to comment

Please email your comments to foodhygiene.policy@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk by Friday 30 October 2015.

What has changed?

The guidance has been revised to:

  • Give more clarity of the legal requirements and how they apply.
  • Provide more practical examples, largely based on scenarios raised by community and charity food providers or by local authorities.
  • Note changes to the law regarding information provision about allergens and food intolerance.
  • Change contact details to ensure that community and charity food providers contact the local authority directly if they are unsure whether their event needs registration or not, even after consulting the guidance. The FSA has given its general view in the guidance but local decisions are taken by local authorities and the draft reflects this.

Who is the guidance for?

The main audiences for the guidance are organisers of charity and community food provision and local authority food safety officers in England.

However the FSA has made a wide range of interested parties aware of the guidance’s revision including charities, community organisations, faith groups, health bodies, rural organisations and all English district councils.

The guidance does not have authority in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Purpose of the guidance

The guidance is designed to help clarify when charity food operations are likely to need registration as food businesses. It does this by providing the FSA’s view on the circumstances when such operations are regular enough and of a certain scale.

Regular and organised food supply, even if it is not-for-profit, requires registration and full compliance with food hygiene laws. The guidance should help local authority food safety officers make pragmatic assessments on whether or not to register activities carried out in the village hall, community and charity sector. It should also help community and charity food organisers share a common understanding of the legal considerations.  

How the guidance is set out

The guidance is in two parts:

  • The first part explains the EU Regulation regarding the registration of food businesses and our interpretation of that law.
  • The second part gives practical examples of community food provision and the FSA’s views as to whether each scenario requires registration.

Practical food hygiene and other advice for community food providers

Questions and answers gives advice on issues relevant to larger-scale catering in community settings can be found via the link below. The questions and answers are updated on an ongoing basis and comments are welcome at any time