Campaign highlights unregistered pandemic food businesses
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is working with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on a campaign to promote registration after the COVID-19 pandemic brought a huge increase in food businesses based in people’s homes. Since March 2020, 37% of new food ventures registering through the FSA’s digital service ‘Register a Food Business’, are run from domestic kitchens at private addresses. Many are failing to register with their environmental health teams as a food business.
These sellers are potentially putting consumers at risk as they may have little knowledge of food safety.
All food businesses have a legal obligation to register with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council 28 days prior to opening, and it is an offence not to do so.
Businesses must register whether selling online, via social media sites, trading from a physical customer-facing premises or simply selling food from a home kitchen. Without registration the council cannot assess the nature of the business, provide appropriate advice or give a Food Hygiene Rating where appropriate. The council can also help home caterers and those who sell online to identify when their hobby may have developed into a food business.
Michael Jackson, Deputy Director - Head of Regulatory Compliance, at the FSA said: “Local Authorities need to know who is trading in their area and registration is an opportunity to ensure that food businesses have access to relevant guidance and support to help them get it right from the start and to protect consumers.”
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services Cllr Hayley Eachus added: "We have seen an increase in people selling food from their homes over the course of the pandemic.
“That’s why we’re working with the FSA to support businesses in Basingstoke and Deane to ensure they are registering and keeping us informed of changes to their businesses.
“Registration is free and can’t be refused. If you are already trading and have not registered yet, you need to do so as soon as possible as this is a legal requirement.”
Get more information
• Food businesses can get more information at www.food.gov.uk/register
• Not sure if you should register as a food business? Visit the council's website for guidance: www.basingstoke.gov.uk/starting-food-business