Food safety regulations

Food safety legislation exists to ensure all food business owners operate in a safe and hygienic way. It protects consumers by making it against the law to provide food which is unsafe or harmful to human health.

The legislation applies to all food businesses, including caterers, primary producers (such as farmers), manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

How the legislation affects you will depend on the size and type of your business.

Food safety enforcement

Responsibility for the enforcement of food legislation in Nottinghamshire lies with our Environmental Health team, who ensure that food businesses in the district are preparing and selling food hygienically.

Nottinghamshire County Council is responsible for permitted ingredients, food labelling and quality. Both authorities work together to ensure that all food premises comply with the law.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is the government’s department responsible for protecting public health in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You’ll find a specific business and industry section on their website containing advice and guidance on producing safe food.

Safer food, better business

All food outlets must produce food that is safe to eat. In addition, the law requires businesses to be able to show what they do to make food safe to eat, and to have this written down.

They must also keep records of the checks made. The Food Standards Agency has designed a simple to use tool kit, including an instruction pack and a diary allowing basic records to be kept.

Find out more and download the food management toolkit on the FSA safer food, better business page.

Allergen information for consumers

In the UK, approximately:

  • 1-2% of adults and 5-8% of children live with a food allergy
  • 1 in 100 people have coeliac disease (serious allergy to gluten)

By law, customers can expect to see details of 14 regulated allergens contained in the food you buy. This information must be shown either on labels, menus, chalk boards, tickets or provided verbally by a member of staff.

The allergens included in this law are:

  • celery
  • cereals containing gluten
  • crustaceans
  • eggs
  • fish
  • lupin
  • milk
  • molluscs
  • mustard
  • nuts
  • peanuts
  • sesame seeds
  • soya
  • sulphur dioxide

When ordering restaurant and take-away foods, customers may be asked about allergy requirements before completing an order and can expect to be provided with further information regarding the allergens when they receive their meal.

If you have a particular allergy, downloading and using an FSA think allergen card [PDF] may help you communicate this.

Allergen information

Find examples of where different allergens can be found in the FSA’s allergen fact sheet [PDF] and get more details about the allergen labelling requirements for pre-packed and loose foods on the FSA website. For detailed information on food allergen labelling and information requirements see the FSA technical guidance on allergens.

Find additional guidance on allergens, and a handy chef’s allergen menu table from the FSA website.

The FSA also offer free online training to help you understand allergens and managing their use in food.

Food alerts

This is the Food Standards Agency's way of letting consumers and local authorities know about problems associated with food and, in some cases, provide details of specific action to be taken. They are often issued in conjunction with a product withdrawal or recall by a manufacturer, retailer or distributor.

Sign up for food alerts by email on the FSA website.

Our officers are linked directly to the alert system and respond to warnings for action as they arise. It is often the actions of a public spirited complainant that initially raises the alarm over the condition of food.

Food hygiene and safety training

Employees in food businesses must be trained in food hygiene to a level that suits their duties and responsibilities. Find out more about food safety training courses.