A new campaign from the Food Standards Agency (FSA), supported by the South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership, is calling for all new food businesses to register themselves to help keep their customers and them safe.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen 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.
Some businesses however may not be aware of the need to register with their local environmental health teams as a food business, potentially leading to food safety failings or misunderstanding that could put consumers at risk.
All food businesses in the sub-region have a legal obligation to register with their local authority, Boston Borough Council, East Lindsey District Council or South Holland District Council, 28 days prior to opening, with it being an offence not to do so. Businesses must register whether selling online, via social media sites, trade from a physical customer-facing premises or simply selling food from a home kitchen.
Registering allows the councils to assess the nature of the business, provide appropriate advice or give a Food Hygiene Ratings where appropriate. They can also help home caterers and those who sell online to identify when their hobby may have developed into a food business, and the next steps they would need to take.
Councillor Anthony Casson, Portfolio holder for Public Protection at South Holland District Council, said: “During the pandemic, we have seen an increase in people setting up new businesses or changing their working arrangements, choosing to sell food from their homes and also selling online.
“It is great to see this innovation and these exciting new businesses getting started in the Borough and Districts, but it is also important that we continue to work with them to make sure their practices are helping keep customers, residents and themselves safe.
“That’s why the South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership are working with the FSA to support businesses in Boston, East Lindsey and South Holland to ensure they are registered and keeping us informed of any changes to their business. It’s a legal requirement, and completely free, and allows us to make sure that they are getting all the help and guidance they may need.”
Councillor Deborah Evans, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services at Boston Borough Council and Councillor Martin Foster, Portfolio Holder for Operational Services at East Lindsey District Council said: “We are pleased to join South Holland District Council on this campaign as it’s important that the Partnership work together with the FSA to make sure businesses throughout the sub-region are getting the support and guidance needed to keep themselves and their customers safe.”
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.”
More information for food businesses, and how to register, is available at www.food.gov.uk/register or on the council websites at www.mybostonuk.com/environmental-health/, www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/foodsafety and www.sholland.gov.uk/Food.