Food Hygiene Certificate - Do you have yours?

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Today I thought I would address something I think so many people over look, a food hygiene certificate.

So many new cake companies pop up each and every week but you can bet your life on it around 75% are unregistered until they are either made to by their local council or are informed by blogs such as this that it is compulsory.

Many people assume that a food hygiene certificate is just to say you can wash your hands and know how to store the food you work with but in fact it is there to safe guard you as a business too. If you do a certificate you have something to back you up should you want to branch out into corporate baking.  You will have the support of the local council when you register your business and having a certificate also gains their respect. They know you are running a professional business and your customers will know you care about what passes their lips and aren’t just concerned with how full your till becomes.

So how do you get one and how much is it? Well I have done lots of research into this many of you will only find the local council courses which can be charged at upwards of £100. However I have found this great company called  they do a level 2 certificate for just £12. I have spoken to my local environmental health officer and have been advised their courses are valid with local councils and that you should seek to do a level 2 certificate to cover you for all eventualities regarding cakes and baking.

You do have to be careful as some online courses aren’t approved for local councils to accept them but my local officer said it was perfect.

I have used the service myself recently when renewing mine and I found their website incredibly easy to use. You can do the test again if you fail for free. They have a pass guarantee which is what swung it for me. With 3 little ones always asking for a drink or when they can go out to play, I was always distracted so the knowledge that I could repeat it for free if needed really impressed me.

Remember if someone decides to take you to court for any food issues it will pay to have things like a food hygiene certificate and your business insurance to show you are a professional. You will gain more respect as a business and it will help to protect you from any bogus complaints.

Just think if you had the choice between a ladies baking in their home unregistered and uninsured or someone working from home that is fully certificated, insured and legally registered. With the reassurance that you know they have been inspected and they know how to handle the food you will have to eat. Which would you choose?

I hope this information helps some of you and will encourage you to do things officially and get your certificate. I have to say I was feeling like I had graduated when I printed out my certificate. I did expect a graduation cake, balloons and presents. Sadly I had to make do with a rich tea biscuit and a mug of tea.

Until next time



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  1. Bryony

    Hi Shelly, Just found your blog, so glad i did! I have been doing research into the steps needed to set up a business. I make chocolates at home and i really want to sell them. So far i understand that my home will be checked to make sure it's clean and safe with handling food. And that i need to register my business. You say level 2 certificate but if you don't have Level 1, do you do this first and just go straight to level 2? I appreciate that you have put a link to the website and the price. Hope to hear from you soon, thank you :) x

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  2. Tam

    Hello :) I make cakes from home (a lot for charity), have had my inspection done, have my food hygiene certificate and now I am doing kiddies parties (cupcake decorating). Do you have any idea what kind of insurance I should get? Thank you!!! Hi Tam, Yes public and product liability insurance but when calling also ask for advice on working with children as there may be other clauses you'll need to have to cover yourself. It's always best to be covered for every eventuality. Try Direct line my insurance with them is just under £6 a month and covers everything. I hope this helps Shelly x

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  3. Shirley

    Thinking about making cakes for our local library to sell with tea and coffee and to sell as takeaway. Will I need the certificate, home inspection and insurance. Thank you Hi Shirley, Yes you will need to do this just to cover yourself, if you are selling to the public and even if gifting to charity now I'd recommend it as it's a big blame culture now so you want to protect yourself. This Food certificate will be perfect for you. I hope this helps, best of luck with it all Shelly x

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  4. elaine

    I have a level 2 in food and hygiene do I have to do another course I am a assistant manager in a cake shop Hi Elaine, I would consider the level 3, the best person to advise you on this will be your local environmental health department as they all have different requirements but I'd have though with managing the store you will need the higher level. This is also available via this link. I hope this helps Shelly x

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  5. gillian gourdie

    hi i work at defra at peasholme green and work at the counter serving food. but we have things to do online courses. can i use my health and hygine certificate that waycto start my own business mak8hg cakes Hi Gillian, Yes this will be transferable, to be sure give your local environmental health department a call to check. Best of luck with everything Shelly x

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  6. Katy

    Hi Shelly am I right in thinking this course is recognised by majority local councils? I'm in Greenwich area and hoping so for this price ? Thankyou again for this helpful information xxx Hi Katy, Yes I've not come across anyone who's had an issue it's all official and with the unlimited attempts to pass it, it's fool proof too. Best of luck Shelly x

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  7. Stevie

    Hi, do I take the level 2 food hygiene 'retail' certificate to be able to sell to friends and run a cake stall? Thanks Hi Stevie Yes that's the one. I hope that helps Shelly

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  8. Rachel

    Hi this is a great feed. thanks for the info. Just wondered, I have been asked to go into a local craft shop and do a kids decorate cup cake workshop. Just simple decor no actual baking. Do i need the food hygiene cert? will i be covered under the shops PL ins? and finally does the shop need to hold an environmental health cert itself? thanks Hi Rachel, You will need your own food cert and PL insurance. Their PL insurance may cover you for third party issues but if you're to blame it may not. Best to be safe on this and as it's usually around £5 per month from Direct line you may aswell get it to be sure. Shelly

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  9. Gemma

    Hi, I am looking to work with a local coffee shop making cakes for them to sell. I understand that you need a level 2 certificate but do I have to do a level 1 as well? Hi Gemma, No a simple level 2 certificate is all you need as I understand it as it is just more indepth than the level one. I hope this helps. If in any doubt give your local environmental health department a call to check they're very helpful.

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  10. Marjory

    Hi, I'm making home made Scottish tablet mostly, occasional bakng & cheesecakes and selling to friends. In processor being registered with local council, which food hygiene course do I need? Is it 1 & 2? New to this lol x thanks in advance Hi Marjory, I'd simply give your local EH department a call I've found some only require the level one but others need just level 2 so you're best to check to save you time and money.

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  11. Rebecca

    Hi, I am starting a soft play mother and toddler group and will be serving teas and coffees to the mums, and squash etc to the babies, plus I hope to sell some biscuits and cakes as well. Do I need a food hygiene certificate? If I use store bought cakes rather than home made will this affect the need for a certificate? Kind regards Hi Rebecca you will indeed and you will need to be registered with the environmental health department too as it's all to cover you as well as the customers. I hope this helps.

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  12. Lorraine

    Hi Shelly, I am just starting out, I have my level 2, do I still need to have my kitchen inspected by my local environmental Health & obtain a public liability insurance if selling to my friends or local cafe's?. Everything I have read on the web seems a little unclear. Best regards Lorraine Hi Lorraine, Good question, yes you will. You need P&P liability to protect you, direct line are your best bet it's only about £55 for the year and you can pay monthly too. When you sell to cafe's you will need to protect yourself as much as possible. We live in a big blame culture now so you need to cover yourself as if anything goes wrong the cafe will automatically wash their hands of it and pass the blame to your door. Get registered with Environmental health and request a kitchen visit as most will be too busy but if you request they will try and fit you in. When they arrive get as much advice as you can as they are there to help you and make sure you are covered on all things. You will need a safer food better business book, this will be another thing which will cover you incase of any claims. The only thing which will cost you money will be the P&P cover but it's worth it and at £5 a month it's not much more than the cost of a decent coffee. If you need any more help please feel free to email me [email protected]

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  13. Dawn

    Hi I've I'm just about to start making cakes from home, and will hopefully be selling them to family and friends and recommendations , which basic food hygiene is for me? Thanks DAWN - The level 2 is perfect for you. I hope this helps x

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  14. Donna Clease

    I am seriously looking into starting my own cupcake shop and was so pleased to come across your site. This will help me alot :)

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  15. Lisa

    For a food and hygiene certificate do people come out to the house to assess the work area or is it all solely online? x LISA - It's completely online, you will need to register before you start trading with your local environmental health department.

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  16. Nicola Dann

    After some research and reading good reviews, I studied and passed this on line course today. Very easy to use. Would be easier without little ones running around though! This was a top up for me.

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  17. Samantha Schofield

    Really useful info as a start up biz. :-) Thank-you

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  18. Claire

    Hello Shelly, Thank you for above info, so helpful. But do you have to complete Level 1 first?? Am new to all of this! Thank you, C x CLAIRE - No level two is a different course you just need that one. I hope that helps. x

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  19. Sudha Srinivasan

    Thanks for sharing an important information such as food hygine. Just to clarify, there are three types within level2 (Retail, Manufacturing and Catering). Which one is approrpiate for baking at home? Thanks once again. Hi Sudha, When I asked my environmental health officer this same question she suggested I did the catering one and said there was very little difference and that any would be sufficient as a home cake business is such a low risk factor in their eyes. I hope this helps. Shelly

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  20. Kerrie

    Thank you Shelly for that great advice. I have been spending most of the day looking at which company to use to do my food hygiene certificate, so that has been most helpful. At what stage should I get insured and registered and how do i go about that? I am only just starting out and on a very small scale. Thank you and look forward to hearing from you.

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  21. Lisa Dixon

    Thank you,the companies I have worked for have always paid,and my 3 years is coming to an end next Jan,so this is very useful for people like me who are going it alone

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  22. Medway Safety

    Some really interesting information, Shelly. As you have said, there are so many advantages from having food safety training and as you have said a lot of people don't realise that this training is needed so it's great that you are raising awareness for it.

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  23. Ola

    Hello Shelly, thanks for your words of wisdom. I am really new to the world of baking..just started out a few months ago and have attended a few cupcake classes...Mainly doing this as a hobby and for friends and really helps to do things the right way..thanks once again..I "found" you in Cupcake Heaven Spring 2012

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