Trading advice from several sources is available to help businesses comply with the law.
The Health and Safety Executive website has advice on:
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute provides advice on a number of topics:
In the guide
Failure to adopt basic food hygiene procedures can lead to contamination or damage
Note: although the United Kingdom has left the European Union, certain pieces of legislation (formally known as 'retained EU law') will still apply until such time as they are replaced by new UK legislation; this means that you will still see references to EU regulations in our guidance.
This guidance is for England
Farmers and growers must follow basic hygiene procedures to ensure hazards such as contamination arising from soil, water, fertilisers, pesticides, handling of waste, etc are prevented. Records relevant to food safety must also be kept.
Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs is aimed at ensuring that controls throughout the food chain are strengthened; it is executed and enforced in England by the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013. In particular, the legislation is intended to modernise, consolidate and simplify food hygiene legislation, and to apply effective and proportionate controls throughout the food chain from primary production to sale or supply to the final consumer (known as the farm-to-fork approach).
What types of businesses are covered?
Food businesses and food business operators are defined in Regulation (EC) 178/2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety:
So, for example, any livestock farms, fish farms, arable farms, PYO (pick your own), market gardens or bee keepers producing food for human consumption.
One of the requirements of the Regulation is that, with few exceptions, all food businesses must be approved or registered with their local authority. More information on food business registration or approval is available on the GOV.UK website.
The farm-to-fork approach of the legislation includes requirements for primary producers. Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 contains various conditions and guides to good hygiene practice, which food businesses, including farmers and growers, will have to comply with as appropriate. The requirements for farmers and growers are fairly basic hygiene procedures. As food businesses, they will have to ensure that hazards are controlled appropriately.
Under food hygiene rules, you will need to take steps to:
The legislation requires that you keep records relevant to food safety, including:
Good records help protect you and your business in the event of an animal feed or related human food-safety incident and are essential in order to quickly trace the origins of any problem.
Most of the information you need to keep will already be available as invoices, receipts, spray records, etc or as part of the requirements of farm or crop assurance schemes and you should not need to create many new records.
If you do need to record additional information, you may find it useful to complete a farm diary or notebook.
For more information on the work of trading standards services - and the possible consequences of not abiding by the law - please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement and penalties'.
Last reviewed / updated: August 2020
In this update
No major changes
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.
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