Preparing Food At Home To Sell – What Do You Need To Know?
Cottage industries, as they were once called, are extremely popular when it comes to the catering trade, with a wide variety of foods being handmade in people’s homes, ready to take to markets, fairs or even to supply shops and cafes. From jams to biscuits and from fudge to barbeque sauce, the flexibility and convenience involved in working from home, especially in the age of Covid-19, means that small producers are increasingly looking to work from domestic kitchens. But what do you need to know if you’re planning on preparing food at home prior to selling it?
First of all, you’ve got to ensure that the space and equipment you are using are up to the job. A large, well-lit and ventilated space is vital, and within it you will need to ensure that you have an easily cleanable and large working area for food preparation. Your cooking equipment (everything from the smallest utensil to the cooker and grill) will need to be robust and dynamic enough to cope with being used at a frequency not usually associated with a domestic setting. You’ll also have to make sure that your production train is well thought through and allows you, your ingredients and your products to move through the preparation process in the most ergonomic and economic way.
You’ll need to think about certain aspects of food safety, the most obvious being the danger of possible contamination, either with foreign bodies or with bacteria. This is more likely in a domestic setting as usually the preparation space is not a dedicated area, and it may be shared with family members at other times. To minimise this, you should ensure that no members of the family (especially pets) enter the area when food is being prepared and that hygiene standards and practices are maintained throughout. Once you have registered as a food business, the Food Standards Agency will require you to complete a risk assessment for your food preparation area and to complete food hygiene training prior to issuing you with a rating. It is very important that you follow these procedures, as you are likely to be forced to cease trading if you do not.
Your risk assessment should also identify the need for the appropriate level of insurance cover for your business, because even if you are preparing food from home, you are still liable if something goes wrong, if there is an accident or damage or if your product does somehow become contaminated.
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