Starting and running a food business


All food businesses must comply with food safety legislation to make sure their food is safe to eat and is neither harmful to health nor unfit for human consumption. Food must be of the nature, substance or quality that customers would expect. Serving food which is both safe and of sufficient quality will also help to protect the reputation of your business.

Best practice on complying with food laws

Food businesses in Northern Ireland are required by law to register their establishments with the environmental health service of their local council. Food establishments include all types of food retailing and catering outlets; manufacturing, packing, importing/exporting, distributing, as well as domestic premises where food business activities are carried out. Registered premises are inspected to ensure they comply with the law.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is responsible for protecting public health and consumers' interests in relation to food. It also helps food businesses by providing advice and guidance.

This guide explains your legal obligations in relation to food hygiene law, record keeping and allergens in food. It also provides some healthier menu ideas.