Not HSE Registered ?… here’s how to do it.
Let’s be honest, all of you fabulous cake makers and decorators out there are not HSE registered. Your business probably started out as a hobby, perhaps making the odd cake here and there for friends and family when they asked. You delighted in the work, and so you gladly welcomed the opportunity to show off what you can do, but over time, friends of friends started contacting you and somehow you wound up with a Facebook business page and a Pinterest board of all your creations. You became a business.
That is wonderful! At the same time, somewhere in the back of your mind, you realise there are things that businesses need to do to avoid getting in trouble- namely getting registered with the HSE. Maybe it was something you’ve been putting off until you have more time, but that time never materialises, or maybe you’ve got concerns that you’ll have to jump through hoops to meet all their criteria, and are feeling overwhelmed. But, right now you’re also living in fear that the doorbell might ring one day and an environmental health officer who found out about you will be on your doorstep. It doesn’t have to be that way. Getting HSE certified is not as difficult as it seems, and we’ll walk you through the process of getting registered, so you can build your business with confidence.
The Basics of HSE Registration
The Food Safety Authority Ireland has a list of things to consider when starting a food business from home. Start by reviewing their information. Read the basics about starting a Food business here
The agency has also developed a pack which contains training info, an instruction DVD, and templates for food safety records. This information is already included in your food safety course, and you do not need to buy it, but purchasing it can be helpful if you have worries about not knowing all the necessary info. If you’re interested in Purchasing the learning materials you can do so here
Our Quick Overview of What You Need to Do as a Cake Baker
#1 Complete a Basic Food Safety Course
Introductory courses are offered by private trainers who have agreed to teach the basic standards as set forth by the EHAI. Courses touch on a wide array of topics relevant to food safety and range in cost from around €100 – €150, depending on the trainer and how many people are in a class. you can visit their site www.EHAI.ie or find a trainer in your area here
#2 Set Up a Food Safety Management System
You will need to have a food safety management system/plan in place, and details about this will be covered in your food safety course, though information about HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point), HACCP flexibility, and what a low-risk business requires, is available on the FSAI website as well. What you need to know will be covered in your course but if you would like to read more about HACCP you can do so here
#3 The Basics to Make Sure Your Kitchen Meets HSE Requirements
The following are a list of basic criteria that your kitchen/ home must meet to comply with food hygiene legislation and will be taken into consideration when a representative conducts your home visit.
- Keep your cake/ baking ingredients and equipment separate from your normal household food items/ equipment. This can be done with either a separate designated press or separate labelled containers, such as clear plastic containers with lids.
- Ingredients should also be kept separate in your fridge. This can be done by designating a shelf solely for cake making ingredients or with containers again.
- When baking/ making your cakes, your kitchen should be designated for that task only at that time. For example, dinner cannot be on the stove at the same time as the cake is in the oven in order to avoid cross contamination.
- While you are baking/ decorating, no pets should be in your kitchen/ prep area, and there can be no smoking.
- Kitchens and storerooms must be clean and clutter free.
- You must have good personal hygiene and not work while sick (more details will be covered in your food safety course).
- Ideally, washing machines should not be located in the kitchen. In the event this is not possible, dirty laundry shall not be handled during cake making operations.
- Ideally, separate cleaning products for sanitising your area and equipment should be on hand. Non-bleach cleaners are preferred.
- Separate cleaning sponges, drying towels, etc. should be used.
- You must have clean separate work attire, which is only used for baking, on hand. (This includes uniforms, aprons, and the like.)
#4 Ensure Proper Ingredient Labelling, Such as Allergy Information
You must provide customers with food allergen information. This is as simple as giving your customer a simple print out of what allergens are in your cake. However, you should be aware that places like Tesco will not provide this information to you if you purchase your supplies there, and it may be easy to miss a warning, so you should register for alerts, which you can do here Lastly, if you plan to sell at farmer’s markets or a stall, in addition to being listed on Bakers & Cakers, there are additional guidelines to meet.
It’s also worth noting that you must list all 14 allergens, but you needn’t say “may contain” if the ingredient is already listed on the base ingredient. Furthermore, all “free from” claims (such as gluten-free or sugar-free) must be guaranteed and substantiated. If you are including these types of baked goods on the Bakers & Cakers website, we will request verification of these claims, up to and including lab testing. Review the 14 allergens you must declare Here
If you are supplying Farmers markets there are some extra criteria which you can read about here :
#5 Notify the HSE About Your Business
Once you have completed your food safety course and you have your kitchen in order, you should then ring your local environmental health office to notify the HSE of your food business. The HSE office will send you out a notification form, which you will need to fill out and return to them. Following this, an Environmental Health officer will contact you and may schedule a visit to inspect your kitchen as part of the notification process. In some circumstances, based on the nature of your business and discussions with you, you may be told to go ahead and commence your food business, and an inspection will be planned in due course. You will be sent a notification acknowledgement letter by the local EH office. Get the number to your local HSE office here
Register for Bakers & Cakers
While it may seem like a lot of information, chances are that you’re already acting in accordance with all the guidelines. All you’ll really need to do is dot your i’s and cross your t’s by taking your food safety course and going through the motions of getting your certification to prove you are. Once you’re registered, you can set up your very own Bakers & Cakers profile, so you can take advantage of all our business management and sales tools. With your HSE certification in hand, and a spot held for you on our site, you can take your baking business to the next level.
Already have your HSE certification? Register here with Bakers & Cakers as a supplier today!