There are numerous things to consider when organising an event within your community. If you are planning on providing food at a one-off event, such as a fundraising coffee morning, soup and pudding afternoon, or hot meal takeaway evening, you do not need to register with Environmental Health. However we do recommend that you Contact One of Our Officers to discuss your event for helpful advice to ensure you are providing safe food.
If the premises is regularly involved in providing food at events, such as church halls for fundraisers or community halls for weddings, that premises will require to be registered with Environmental Health. Contact One of Our Officers if you are unsure whether the premises should be registered as a food business.
Some key points to consider when running a food stall or one off event are listed in this useful guidance document:
Food Standards Scotland issued the following guidance in June 2019:
Ask yourself - ‘What Could Go Wrong?’
Although your event may not require registration as a food business, your group has a responsibility to provide safe food. When organising the event you should consider the following:
- Identify the main food safety hazards related to your event and include allergen management, cross contamination controls and the provision of accurate allergen information.
- As the organiser you are advised to safeguard your event and ensure that you can provide accurate ingredient and allergen information to your consumers. The more accurate information you can provide to consumers about allergens, either orally or in written format, the better and the safer it is for your customers to make informed choices about the food they consume.
- Carry out visual checks within your event premises to ensure safe and hygienic conditions.
- Make records of any important checks relevant to your event e.g. cleaning, cooking, chilling of food or preventing cross contamination.
When You're Making Food for Large Numbers of People, It's Important to Keep Food Safe. Here Are Some General Practical Tips
- plan ahead - if you can prepare food in advance, this should make things easier later
- ensure the responsible person for the day has achieved a food hygiene training certificate
- wash your hands and any equipment you are using in hot soapy water
- keep food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible
- even if people are waiting to eat, don't reduce cooking times
- always make sure food is properly cooked before you serve it
- keep raw and ready-to-eat foods apart
- do not use food past its ‘use by’ date
- know what is in the ingredients so information about allergens can be provided (e.g. provide a ’contains nuts’ label for cakes)
Which people are particularly vulnerable?
If food is being provided to vulnerable people – this can include the elderly, infants under five years of age, expectant mums and anyone with a serious or long-term medical condition – you should take particular care to ensure the food is safe.
Is It Okay to Sell Homemade Cakes at a Local Fundraising Event?
There is no rule banning the sale of homemade cakes at fundraisers or other community events. Homemade cakes should be safe to eat, as long as the people who make them follow good food hygiene advice and the cakes are stored and transported safely.
Can we sell donated food at the fundraising event?
If members wish to donate foods to the event, made in their own homes, we advise the following:
- No fresh cream, raw egg or meat products
- No products should be donated which require temperature control
- All foods must be covered prior to leaving home (this maybe in large cake boxes or food grade bags)
- All donated foodstuffs must be accompanied with ingredient and allergen information
- Food for display must be covered either by food domes or food grade wrapping.
- Follow the guidelines during preparation and cooking in domestic settings.
How Long Can I Leave Food Out On a Buffet?
In general, food that needs to be chilled, such as sandwich fillings, should be left out of the fridge for the shortest time possible. If it is left at room temperature for a long time, bacteria can grow or toxins can form, and both of these could cause food poisoning.
If you are preparing a buffet, you should try to keep food out for a short time and not more than four hours. After this time, any remaining food should be thrown away or put back in the fridge but if you do put the food back in the fridge, don't let it stand around at room temperature if you serve it again.
Do I Need to Label Cakes and Jams Sold for Charity?
If you sell food for a charity or other community organisation, you will have to follow Food Information Regulations 2014 only if the charity or organisation is a registered food business. So, in general the labelling regulations won't apply to most food being sold for charity and so won't need to be labelled, including food sold at one-off events such as church events and school fundraisers which are not registered.
However, even if you're not legally required to label a food, you could label it voluntarily. For example:
- the product name
- a list of ingredients (in descending order of weight)
- details of any ingredients that could cause an allergic reaction – such as egg, milk, sulphites, peanuts and tree nuts
If you do label a food, you must make sure that the information you provide is clear and accurate.
From December 2014, new labelling rules apply. Again the laws only apply to registered food businesses but, if a person providing food in a village hall voluntarily provides allergen information, it will need to be accurate and in the correct format, especially if it is deemed to be pre-packed, such as a jar of jam or lemon curd.
Registered food businesses will need to provide mandatory information which includes allergen information.