I am thinking of opening a new food business – What should I do?
If you are considering opening a new food business and have identified the premises you wish to use for your business it is recommended that you then contact your local Environmental Health Officer (EHO) for advice.
Very often new food business owners will design the layout of a kitchen or food preparation area in such a way that they unknowingly build in food safety problems. These are often very expensive and difficult to sort out once the building work has been completed, for example ventilation systems, drainage systems and toilet facilities just to highlight a few.
Another costly mistake often made by those starting off in the food service industry is not building in additional kitchen preparation and storage space.
When a business is successful it can often become very busy and will eventually outgrow the space provided in the kitchen/storage areas. Trying to prepare too much food in advance or too many meals at one time can lead to serious food poisoning risks so it is imperative that additional capacity is built in or a limited menu is agreed upon.
The local EHO for the area in which the premises is located will endeavour to advise you on your proposed plans and ideas. They will clarify any queries you have on your legal obligations under food safety law including structural design and layout, training, food safety management systems and registration with the HSE.
I am considering taking on an Existing Food Business- what should I do?
If you are considering leasing/franchising or buying an existing food business as a going concern, then it is strongly recommended that before closing the deal you or your solicitor should ask to see the last report issued to the premises by the local Environmental Health Officer.
Unfortunately due to legal confidentiality the EHO cannot give this report directly to you, but the person selling you the business should be able to give you with a copy of the last correspondence received from their EHO.
In some cases people have unwittingly found themselves taking over food businesses that may have a number of issues outstanding with the Environmental Health Service, so as a safeguard to such a situation we strongly recommend that you check the status of the business with the EHO service in advance.
This not only applies to food safety law but to tobacco control laws also.
For further information on any of the above contact the local Environmental Health Officer for the area in which the business is located.
For further information on food law log on to www.fsai.ie The Food Safety Authority of Ireland
For further information on tobacco control law log on to www.ntco.ie The National Tobacco Control Office