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Food standards

Food business self-assessment

As part of the regulatory obligations placed upon Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards, we are required by law to undertake risk-based interventions with all registered food businesses in the local authority.

Businesses registered with this department, are being asked to complete our online self-assessment.

Choosing not to self-assess within 28 days will result in a regulatory compliance visit being arranged by Staffordshire Trading Standards.

Staffordshire business advice

We provide business advice and auditing services on the legal requirements for the legal composition, labelling and packaging of food throughout the food chain. If you would like to learn more about the services we provide please get in touch.

Contact us: Business Advice


The Food business is responsible for ensuring any and all illegal food and drink are not sold by or from the business and must carry out basic checks before selling any new product ranges or accepting new products from suppliers.

All food businesses are routinely inspected, Officers will take formal enforcement, including imediate seizure and detention of all illegal products and undertake legal prosecution.

Food labelling requirements

  • Food labelling information MUST be in English.
  • Food labelling MUST list all allergens in English.
  • All allergens MUST be emphasised and in CAPTIALS.
  • Food labelling MUST list ingredients that use colourings and E numbers AND any warnings about adverse effects of that colour on children.
  • Food labelling MUST list additives with a GB name and function.
  • Food labelling MUST list nutritional information in the correct format.
  • Food labellinge MUST list the Food Business Operator (FBO) responsible for the food and they MUST have a UK address.

Food which fails any of the above is classed as non-compliant and is potentially illegal or unsafe, you the food business are directly responsible and must remove all such items from sale.

Food traceability requirements

As a registered Food Business, you MUST have available for inspection all the information that identifies who you purchased the food/drink that you sell.

The easiest way to do this is to keep all your invoices and receipts. Make sure the supplier/contractor supply fully referenced invoices.

All food sold in the UK MUST originate from a UK based business. Any which doesn't is illegal and will be seized.

Food additives requirements

As a registered Food Business, you MUST NOT sell food/drink which contains additives that do not comply with GB requirements as excessive consumption of certain additives is linked to allergic reactions and sickness.

It is an offence to sell foods which contain non-compliant additives, any such goods will be seized.

Examples of non-authorised additives that CANNOT be sold in the UK:

  • Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) - not permitted in flavoured drinks.
  • Calcium disodium EDTA (E 385) - not permitted in flavoured drinks.
  • Sodium erythorbate (E 316) - not permitted in flavoured drinks.
  • Tartrazine (E 102) (Yellow 5) - not authorised in pickles.
  • Colour E 127, Erythrosine (Red 3) - only permitted in specified amounts within cocktail and candied cherries.
  • Bleached Flour’ or ‘Flour treatment agents’, which includes bleaching agents are - not permitted in any food.
  • White mineral / mineral oil - not a permitted.
  • Konjac (E 425) or Carrageenan (E 407) - not permitted as they are a choking hazard. Also not allowed in jelly confectionery.
  • Zinc aspartate - no permitted.

Many imported confectionary such as American Candy contain these additives, all imported goods sold must be safe and labelled correctly. Regular inspections are conducted to identify and remove such goods.

Food allergen requirements

Allergic reactions make people very ill and can sometimes lead to death. There is no cure and the only way to avoid getting ill is to make sure you don’t eat the foods that you are allergic to.

The 14 allergens are: celery, cereals containing gluten (such as wheat, barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters), eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs (such as mussels and oysters), mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites.

What food businesses need to do

  • Food businesses MUST provide allergenic information to customers about EVERY item containing allergenic ingredients in ANY unpackaged food served.
  • Food businesses MUST provide allergenic information either on the menu, a chalkboard, an information pack or verbally by staff.
  • Food businesses MUST provide a notice directing customers to WHERE they can the allergenic information if it is not clearly displayed.
  • Food businesses CANNOT say that it is not known whether a food contains an allergen or that all the food served may contain an allergen.
  • Food businesses MUST provide allergenic information when taking telephone or online orders.
  • Food businesses MUST provide allergenic information upon delivery of ordered food.

Note: Customers may provide food businesses with chef’s cards which list the foods that they are allergic to. These are intended to help caterers understand exactly which foods their customers need to avoid. 

Food business guidance

All guidance for food business is available online, it is the businesses obligation to be aware of this information.

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