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Starting a Food Business from Home

Starting a Food Business from Home

Starting a food business from home can be a rewarding business venture. However, it is only for those committed to maintaining the highest level of hygiene and food safety. Producing food in your home for many people to eat is a serious undertaking. It is not the same as cooking for the family! You will be entering into a highly regulated business area with serious legal obligations. Food business operators are legally responsible for producing food that is safe.

 

Food Hygiene Legislation

Operating a food business from home does not exempt your business from the requirements of the food hygiene legislation (Regulation EC 852/2004). This legislation sets out requirements for:

Where food of animal origin, e.g. meat, poultry, eggs, fish, unpasteurised milk, is being processed, you may also need to comply with the legislation setting down specific hygiene rules for foods of animal origin (Regulation 853/2004). In some cases, the business may require approval by the HSE.

You should contact your local HSE office as soon as possible to check if your home is suitable for the intended food business activities. Contact details for local HSE offices are available HERE (Contact details if you’ve made a complaint about a food business and want to follow it up with the local food inspector, or if you need to register your business).

 

Additional Legislation

Compliance with additional legislation may be required depending on the type of product which you intend to make, e.g. labelling, additives, marketing standards for eggs, nutrition and health claims etc.

Full details of all food legislation can be found on FSAI website page Food Legislation.

 

Possible Pitfalls when Operating a Food Business from Home

Starting a food business from home can present specific problems that you should be aware of.

1) Food can become contaminated due to:
2) Production of too much food for the size of the area.
3) Insufficient/unsuitable refrigerator space to keep food chilled.
4) Lack of equipment necessary to cool food fast enough after cooking.
5) The type of food being produced or the process involved presents too high a risk to take place safely in a domestic kitchen.
6) Food may be supplied to a vulnerable group, e.g. babies and young children, pregnant women and the elderly.

 

Food Labelling

Food which is prepacked by the manufacturer before being brought for sale at a farmers market or other food stall is subject to the full labelling rules. All of the mandatory information, must then appear on the product label. More information on what is required to be declared on the label is available in FSAI factsheet Food Information for Consumers at Markets Operated by Country Markets Limited. These rules also apply where it is intended to sell your produce in local retail premises.

 

Additional food safety related useful information can be found on FSAI website.

 

Please remember – it is a legal requirement that staff who are involved in a food environment are trained and/or supervised commensurate with their work activity!

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Food Safety (HACCP) courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email info@elearn.ie

Recognising and Promoting Positive Safety Behaviour

For employers there is a legal duty to provide a safe place of work for their employees wherever the place of work maybe. In these COVID-19 times this can and does in many cases mean remote working from home. Health and Safety requires all the stake holders to actively participate in safe work practice and to understand what is involved to create a safe place to work. Giving staff the information and tools to do this is a first step. When on-boarding staff, it is important to carry out a risk assessment that is personal to the employee and their role. Making sure they have the correct training, and any necessary certification is the next step and thereafter the employer needs to monitor compliance and performance.

 

Chair in Office

Office Ergonomics

 

An effective way of doing this is through an online solution that provides the records and training required. Having such a system that provides 24/7 access to information you can then go further to promote positive safety behaviour. By encouraging ongoing engagement with the core safety information and training you can see which employees are performing well and keeping engaged and up to date. You can incentivise staff to make sure they are aware of safe behaviour and you can encourage them to report unsafe issues that may arise.

It is true that a safe place of work is likely to be a more productive environment for the employee which all contributes to your bottom line. Promoting positive safety behaviour will reduce the risk of accidents and incidents and will reduce days lost to illness or accidents. It will also help you protect your company from the negative publicity and potential legal action arising from an accident in the workplace. Everyone in a working environment requires knowledge and training on safety behaviour and how to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. A desk bound job requires proper ergonomics and knowledge regarding breaks and what to do in an emergency. Even working in the home carries significant risks if a workstation is not correctly set up.

Our pattern and location of work is changing rapidly as a result of the pandemic and is likely to change permanently with a much larger degree of blended work where people attend the office on a part time basis. In this scenario it will become increasingly important to promote positive safety behaviour as the employer will have less control of the work environment while still being legally responsible for it. Even more reason to recognise and promote positive safety behaviour.

Myelearnsafety.com can provide more information on this topic as well as providing a solution to safety training and compliance monitoring. We would be delighted to hear from you with any of your concerns or problems.

Article  by Vincent Traynor

Please feel free to contact Cormac on 01 278 1938 or cormac@elearn.ie,  if you would like to discuss your health and safety needs further,  or take advantage of a complimentary course.

Managing Mental Health for Remote Workers

Mindfulness Remote Working

 

Timely advice has been published by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) on virtual assessment of working conditions for remote workers. While there is concentration in the advice on the physical conditions and equipment needed it is a good idea to consider how to help reduce stress for employees as part of a health and safety policy in the workplace.

 

Working in an office or remotely can produce a stressful environment for mental health. An employer is obliged under legislation to provide a safe place of work for their employees and employees are entitled to expect that provision is made by their employers regardless of where they are working. Mental health is an important part of a safe place to work. Mindfulness Practice can help reduce stress. A simple way to help reduce stress would be to provide access to a course on mindfulness practice.

 

People working remotely are missing out on the normal social interaction in the office environment which can create its own stress. People working in an office environment are subject to a different set of circumstances. Both can benefit from Mindfulness practice. Myelearnsafety.com provides a mindfulness practice course that can give you a simple guide to the topic and help start you on the way to reduce stress in your workplace, particularly if you are working remotely.

 

Other courses will also help you assess your workstation requirements when working remotely and the staff at myelearnsafety.com can provide expert competent assessment of remote working conditions and provide the relevant advice.

For further advice contact cormac@elearn.ie or on +353 1 278 1938.

 

Article written by Vincent Traynor