Baking At Home


Do I need a food hygiene certificate for commercial home baking?

Food Hygiene Certificate
A Level 2 Food Safety Certificate.


People in the UK enjoy sweet and savoury treats. From dining out to home catering, we love eating all types of rich and flavourful things. Many great bakers consider if they can use their skills to start a business from home. The first question to be answered, what are the legal requirements of starting a baking business from home?

Do I need a food hygiene certificate if I intend to bake from home? 

The answer is YES. The Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 and the Food Safety Act 1990, clearly state that anyone who handles or is associated with food made for commercial consumption has a legal responsibility to safeguard that food. Thus, understanding safety precautions and techniques to protect food is essential for all businesses that sell food. Another question often asked is “how often will I have to renew my food hygiene certificate if I work from home?” That question is answered here

Which setups will require registration? 

The UK regulates the commercial sale of food items and requires every business to be registered. To provide food for commercial purposes, you will need to register yourself with food authorities and complete the necessary training. The following steps must be taken before you start any commercial activity:

  • Get started by registering your setup with your Local Authority.

  • The Local Authority will then advise if you need registration or approval.

  • Complete the necessary level of food hygiene training before the visit of the EHO.

  • After registration, the EHO (Environment Health Officer) will inspect your premises. The visit is free of cost. The EHO will explain to you the rules of health and hygiene and how to work from home.

  • You will then need to get a licence. You will need to fill an application form of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which can be found online, or you can obtain it from the FSA office. 

You should ask an accountant about whether you need to register with HMRC  for self assessment or business registration. Whichever registration is required, you will need to keep a track record of your income and expenditure. You will also need to learn about how to label food products and food allergies. Finally it would be wise to consider some form of business insurance.

You may be fined, imprisoned for up to 2 years or both if you run a food business without registering.

Food Hygiene Certification Levels:

Depending on the level of setup you want, there are three different certifications: 

Food Hygiene & Safety Level 1 - Course:

The first level is the hygiene course that provides the basics of food safety. It is geared toward small scale businesses and usually covers the following: 

  • Understanding the importance of good food hygiene;

  • Understanding the legal obligation to ensure food safety;

  • Forms of food contamination;

  • Food storage and preservation methods;

  • Good personal hygiene;

  • Proper housekeeping food preparation and handling areas;

Food Hygiene & Safety Level 2 - Course:

The second level includes understanding and practice in food safety; it is best for small or medium scale business.

Level 2 discusses how baking food at home can legally be sold and safe for people to eat. The level 2 certificate will cover all legal obligations. The level 2 good hygiene course covers: 

  • Good food hygiene;

  • Regulations underpinning food safety 

  • The agencies involved with ongoing management;

  • Food contamination;

  • Assessing and managing food safety risks;

  • Food storage and preservation methods;

  • Good personal hygiene;

  • Effective pest control;

  • Implement effective cleaning methods;

  • Legal and food safety requirements for premises;

  • Food safety management systems, including HACCP;

Food Hygiene & Safety Level 3 - Course:

It is the final level training suited toward large scale or commercial providers and caterers, not really required for Home Baking. The Level 3 Food Hygiene course covers: 

  • the role in the supervision of food handlers.

  • Understanding prevention methods for food-borne illness

  • Developing and maintaining an effective HACCP system

  • Controlling contamination by safe temperatures and storage

How can I get Food hygiene training? 

The simplest, best value and most convenient way is via an online training provider. 

Do I need to display my licence?

Each council has its own rules with respect to displaying the licence. Usually, the council will require you to show your approved status on the packaging. 

What is the Food hygiene rating scheme?

Once you have completed registering, your local authority will inspect your premises. After inspection, you will be given a Food Hygiene Rating between 1 and 5. One being the lowest and five being the highest. More information is available here.

How to Handle food safely, the basics:

  1. Cleaning

  2. Chilling

  3. Cooking

  4. Cross-contamination

  5. Expiry dates

Cleaning:

  1. Personal hygiene is essential for food handling.

  2. Wash your hands frequently or use a sanitiser.

Chilling: 

  1. Food can be prepared in advance and frozen.

  2. Always defrost food entirely before handling.

  3. Do not use defrosted food repeatedly.

  4. Leftover defrosted food should be discarded.

Cooking: 

  1. Make sure to cook food properly before serving.

Cross-contamination: 

  1. Make sure food counters and utensils are appropriately sanitized to avoid cross-contamination.

  2. Always wash hands after handling raw food to avoid cross-contamination.

Did you know different coloured chopping boards are recommended to prevent cross contamination? Here’s a quick guide to chopping boards.

Expiry dates:

  1. All food that is stored should be labeled with an expiry date. 

  2. Never use food past expiry date.

Making and transporting cakes:

  1. Proper packaging is essential, so food is not contaminated at any time. 

  2. If an item uses fresh cream, it's better to keep it cool.

  3. Seal your product after preparation before handing over or dispatching them.

Label the packaging: 

  1. When handling cake, wear gloves.

  2. To transport, make sure the delivery car is clean.

  3. To avoid the box from slipping, place a non-slip mat.

  4. Do carry a repair kit to redecorate if any touching up is needed.

Business insurance

Once registration is completed; it is best to get your business insured. The insurance company will then cover any mishaps or damages. There are different kinds of insurance available. You can choose the one which best fits according to your needs and budget. 

A really useful guide to setting up a business for baking cakes and supplying from home has been produced by some local authorities.