Food safety

Food hygiene applies to events where food is provided, whether a charge is made for the food or not. Small one off type events such as school fetes, etc will not need to register as a food business, however any commercial food businesses providing food at events, must be registered with their home Local Authority.

If you are intending to use contract caterers or mobile food units, they must be registered with their own Local Authority and can demonstrate that they are trained in food hygiene.

Environmental Health staff should be made aware of the type of food traders you intend to use at the earliest opportunity.

Events may be large so that even a very experienced caterer and event organiser may be dealing with something out of the ordinary.

Events may take place over a number of days requiring the storage of considerable quantities of food for longer than usual.

Make adequate provision for all food traders to be supplied with potable water. It is a legal requirement for food premises to have a supply of potable water. The event needs to be able to provide the traders with such a supply if they don’t have their own.

If you are going to provide your own catering then follow the basic advice below:

Four golden rules for food safety

  1. Choose foods that can be cooked and served safely
  2. Use staff who know what they are doing and who can demonstrate good practices of personal hygiene.
  3. Manage cleaning and disinfection to the highest standards.
  4. Store perishable foods at 8ºC or below

The foods

  • keep it simple and only put on the menu what can be handled safely
  • if foods cannot be stored, cooked and served safely – don’t use them
  • do not serve any salad dressing, sauce or pudding made with uncooked egg
  • serve foods that do not require refrigeration – look at the labels on the food

Storage and cooking – cold food, buffet dishes, cream dishes

  • hire extra refrigeration equipment as necessary. Certain foods should be refrigerated at ideally at 5ºC or less until ready for service. Look at the food label to see storage requirements
  • make a list of all the cold foods to be used – then work out if there is sufficient refrigerator space to store them properly

Storage and cooking of food that will be served hot

  • ensure that foods can be cooked safely, core temperatures must reach at least 75ºC
  • if food is to be served hot there should be suitable and sufficient equipment capable of keeping foods above 63ºC
  • ensure dishes made with minced meats, burgers, stuffed joints and rolled joints are cooked through to core temperatures of 75ºC (“No pink bits”)
  • there should be means for checking temperatures. Who will carry out the checks?
  • the preparation of raw and cooked food must be kept separate at all times to prevent cross contamination

Food waste disposal

Estimate the amount of food waste likely to be produced and make waste collection and disposal provisions for the food traders operating at your event. If the caterers supply food in packaging then litter bins and litter picking will also need to be organised.

For further guidance on food safety please contact the Council’s Commercial Team. Additional information is also available on the food safety pages.

Health and safety

Ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all the people on the site may first appear to be a daunting task but there are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of an incident occurring.

Risk assessments

Risk assessing is a logical process of looking at what is proposed to take place before, during and after the event to see if any health and safety issues can be removed before they occur.

Look at the tasks that are being undertaken and ask yourself do we have to do that task, can we do it in a safer way, are the people competent to do that task, can we protect the area where the task is taking place. Basically do you need to do that, if not why do it, or if you do need to do that, can it be done more safely.

Once you have done the risk assessment you should ensure that you put the necessary control measures in place to minimise the risk. You should also write down your main findings and make them available to anybody who may need them.

Large scale events should also risk assess for major problems, failure of the power supply at night, emergency vehicle access and service vehicle access.

Don’t forget that the environment at outside events can change overnight. Your risk assessments should cover these eventualities.

Safely removing cars that have got stuck, due to heavy rain, in a field type car park.

Main health and safety concerns

Below is a basic outline of activities or equipment that is used at the majority of outdoor events. It should not be considered as a complete list as it is the responsibility of the event organisers to ensure the safety of the site.

  • segregation of vehicles and pedestrians – can all vehicles be removed from site before the event takes place, can separate access points and routes be provided.
  • working at height – if you need to work at any height off the ground the correct type of equipment must be provided. Short duration work can be done from a suitable ladder providing three points of contact can be maintained between the person and the ladder.
  • slips, trips and falls – is the ground suitable, are unsafe areas fenced off, trailing cables or pipes must be secured.
  • unauthorised access – how do you stop unauthorised people gaining access to controlled areas
  • chemicals – procedures must be in place to ensure that only competent persons have use of any hazardous chemicals on site.
  • gas safety – repair work to any gas appliance must only be undertaken by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. (Repair work does not included the changing of gas bottles) Is the storage of gas bottles, etc suitable, are appliances certified as safe to use, is suitable ventilation provided.
  • electrical safety – repair work on electrical appliances or installations must only be undertaken by a competent person. Are electrical appliances and systems protected against water ingress etc, suitable?
  • manual Handling – can lifting operations etc be carried out with the use of mechanical equipment, if not, have people being given advice, instruction or training in how to undertake the task safely.

Some final thoughts

Risk assessments and health and safety procedures should not be overcomplicated or look at risks that are highly unlikely to be present.

Your procedure(s) are an important way to ensure that the event is a success by reducing the chances of an incident occurring.

Following simple procedures and precautions will enable you to demonstrate that you have considered the risk presented by the event and how you intend to minimise and control those risks.

For further guidance on Health and Safety please contact the Council’s Commercial Team. Additional information is also available on the Health and Safety section of this website.

Contact us

0300 123 5015

Page last reviewed: 11 July 2018