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Are you planning to cater from home for family or friends, perhaps for a wedding or birthday, or for a group meeting or even start a new business?

Remember, food poisoning is a miserable and potentially dangerous experience and it is your responsibility to make sure that your food does not make anybody ill.

Can I run a food business from home?

In simple terms, yes you can cater from home. However, if you decide to do this, you and your home must comply with food safety legislation, like any other food business. Depending on the size and nature of the catering you want to do it may be possible to do it without any significant alterations. However, if you are or will be catering for large numbers of people on a regular basis, you may need to make structural alterations to your home. Part III of 'The Catering Guide' , pages 35-38 (see attachment at the bottom of the page) gives some good structural hygiene guidance but you must remember that this document does not refer to the current hygiene regulations. You must register your business before you start to trade

What if I don't want to run a business, I just want to make a few items of food?

Even if you give away your food at a charity event you will still need need to comply with the hygiene regulations.

You might be planning to prepare the food at home and then take it somewhere else to be eaten, such as a community centre, social club or village hall. As the person preparing or handling the food, it is your responsibility to make sure your food does not make the guests ill. Food poisoning is a miserable and potentially dangerous experience. You will need to take extra care if any young children, pregnant women, older people or anyone who is ill will be coming to the function. This is because if anyone in these vulnerable groups gets food poisoning, they are more likely to become seriously ill.

Catering from home for large functions is not something to be taken on lightly. Large amounts of food need to be prepared in advance and stored appropriately. If this is not done properly the risk of food poisoning is increased. You need to plan ahead and think carefully about food safety. If you’re thinking of catering for larger numbers than usual, here are some key DOs and DON’Ts: