Home Catering

This guidance will answer some of the important questions you may have and provide you with the information you need to prepare and handle food at home.

If you are preparing or handling food at home that is to be taken somewhere else to be eaten, then this guide applies to you. This applies to you if you prepare or handle food at home for weddings, parties, group meetings such as lunch clubs, church and village halls, social clubs who provide food for members, cake makers, community centres, childminders, farmers markets and boot fair or market stalls that sell food.

This guidance will help you meet the requirements of the regulations. It will also provide you with the information you need to show you produce safe food.

If you are preparing or handling food at home and it is eaten by members of the public (even if it is free to consumers), it is your responsibility to make sure your food does not make people ill.

Extra care must be taken if you provide food for vulnerable groups. These include young children under 5, pregnant women, older people over 65 or any one who is ill or immuno compromised.

Will I be inspected?

If you are preparing or handling food at home then you will have an inspection. Each person is assessed individually. Your food safety officer will advise you on this.

If you prepare food at the site where it is to be eaten, then that premises can be registered and your home will not be inspected and you will be covered by that premises registration.

Food safety guidance for home catering

There are food safety issues that you need to control to ensure you produce safe food.

All the information you need to run a food business can be found in a pack from the FSA called:

Questions and answers

Can I become a home caterer?

If you intend to take on the tasks of a home caterer, you must make sure you have a good knowledge of food hygiene (preferably a Food Hygiene Course Certificate or equivalent), and have the facilities to store, prepare, cook and cool food safely.

Do I have to have a new kitchen?

This is very difficult to answer as it does depend on what food you are doing and how much food you are producing. However in the majority of cases the kitchen you have is normally acceptable. The best way to find out is to allow an officer to call before you decide to start your business, they will help and advise you and there is no fee.

Do I need separate storage?

Yes you must keep food you prepare and ingredients for your business separate from you domestic food. Don't panic this can be a separate cupboard, separate shelves in fridges, or separate compartments in a freezer.

I have pets can I still caterer from my home?

Ideally all pets should be kept out of the kitchen at all times. They must be kept out of the kitchen while food is being prepared and the kitchen must be thoroughly washed and disinfected before preparation begins.

Am I allowed to have my washing machine and dryer in my kitchen?

Ideally washing machines and dryers should be located outside food rooms. In some circumstances this is not possible, and in these instances, NO laundry should be done while food is being prepared. Any laundry that is needed for the food business such as overalls, aprons, cloths, tea towels, etc. should be washed separately from domestic laundry.

Can my children help me?

Young Children and toddlers should be kept out of the kitchen while you prepare food for your business.

I have an order for food to prepare but I have been unwell can I still do it if I am careful?

If you are unwell then you should not prepare food, particularly if you have food poisoning or a diarrhoea and sickness illness. You should wait until you have been free of all symptoms for at least 48 hours before preparing food for your business.

Do I have to have coloured chopping boards?

It is recommend that you have separate chopping boards for separate tasks, for example raw and cooked foods. The coloured boards help you keep clear separation e.g. red = raw, blue = fish, green = veg, etc.; as long as you have enough boards to prepare food separately and safely and they are clearly marked or disinfected between uses then you do not have to purchase coloured chopping boards.

What are the basic rules?


The law and regulations

If you do prepare or handle food at home then the Food Hygiene Regulations apply to you. The regulations are as follows:

Registration of food premises

If you are running a food business you must register with the local authority.

This is free and a form can be sent to you or it can be downloaded. Once completed and returned an officer will contact you to make an appointment to carry out an initial inspection. After this inspections if required may be unannounced.

Please contact the Health Protection Team on 01327 322281 or email health.protection@southnorthants.gov.uk if need further in formation.

Contact details

Commercial and Business Support Team
Email this service
01327 322323

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