Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Environmental Health and new business setsups  (Read 5013 times)


  • Joined Jun 2009
Environmental Health and new business setsups
« on: February 14, 2011, 03:02:12 pm »
I am in the process of setting up a new small business, and being a decent person, thought I would speak to the local council first to check what regulations and procedures I need to follow before I begin.

After about a week, environmental health phoned me back and I was told by about sentence 3 that "we don't like to approve food businesses working from home"!

And there was me foolishly under the apprehension that small businesses were to be encouraged in this country!!!!

The chap is coming out the week after next but already I am feeling like maybe I shouldn't even bother...... :(


  • Joined Apr 2010
Re: Environmental Health and new business setsups
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2011, 03:30:58 pm »
Completely sympathise about this. Good luck with environmental health.

We have been trying to set up a small market gardening/nursery business running from some land we own and are going round and round in circles with the council. There are no permanent buildings on the land and we don't actually need any for the business, but because of that the council won't issue an address for the land. This means we can't use national couriers for our deliveries as we don't show up on their address databases. We could use local firms as they are happier to follow our directions to get to us, but the cost difference wipes out so much of our profit it isn't worth bothering with. And putting our prices up to cover the extra cost makes us totally uncompetitive in the market. After explaining everything to the council we were told they wouldn't issue an address or anyone could set up a business anywhere they wanted!  >:( We are now in the position of saving for a barn we don't really need if we are to get the business moving. And that's assuming we get planning permission. Grrr. Rant over. Sorry.


  • Joined Sep 2010
Re: Environmental Health and new business setsups
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2011, 03:34:36 pm »
i think it depends on which part of the country you are in.
i spoke to environmental health/trading standards and they were very helpful, however when i rang back about making chutneys trading standards were brill and helpful, however, a lady i spoke to in environ healthsaid ok in home kitchen but need to have separate handwashing sink (ok if downstairs loo available). She then went on to say we have to send samples off for micro biological testing!!!!! i explained small scale etc....but she was adiment.
no one at our farmers market has done that ......
planning to ring back and speak to someone else...
hope all goes well



  • Joined Oct 2008
Re: Environmental Health and new business setsups
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2011, 03:43:59 pm »
is there diffrent rules for small direct sales than via shops.

how about sticking an old caravan on your market garden and class it as an office.


  • Guest
Re: Environmental Health and new business setsups
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2011, 05:33:14 pm »
I think they take this stance on domestic food prep because there's the potential for the kids, the dogs or next door's cat to wander into your 'food safe' area.
In reality what's needed for a commercial set up is clear, washable walls, central floor drain (for wash down's) and industrial work surfaces (the big stainless steel ones with open bottoms to allow for easy cleaning) and not much else. If you wanted to use your kitchen you'd need to make all these changes for a start off, and there's still the potential problem of the kids, dog, cat - basically it's a contamination thing. I like to know (as does probably everybody) there's no chance of something getting into my food (when I've not made it) and that's what they're looking for when they come to inspect you. It's all to do with your public liability too, and although it might not seem like it - I do think it's for your protection as much as the public's. Can you imagine if Mrs X (scammer and chancer) decided to say she found a dog hair in one of your products and now she's been very ill ? It would be really difficult in a domestic set-up to prove without doubt that this wasn't the case (and it doesn't have to be dog hair - it could be ANYTHING !) You're insurance would have to shell out, increasing your future premiums, environmental health would have to shut you down and do a full investigation - paperwork hell ahoy !
You'd have more chance, as Shatland Paul says, of getting them to approve a convertion in a caravan (mmm maybe ???) or a shed/outhouse if you've got one ?
Sorry, I know it's not what you wanted to hear - but it's likely to be the way they go with it.
Karen x

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Environmental Health and new business setsups
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2011, 05:51:06 pm »
very well constructed happy hippy i hope others read this post
there was a lady that was wanting to set up a cutting plant the same obstacles as outlined she bought an ex halls of broxburn delivery van body and successfully got her certificate


  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2008
  • Aberdour,Fife
Re: Environmental Health and new business setsups
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2011, 06:18:27 pm »
Check out reporting scotland at 1830 re home working..


  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Environmental Health and new business setsups
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2011, 09:12:15 am »
ah croftgary,many thanks for the heads up.  i saw it in the evening and the cup cake lady's kitchen didn't look very different from mine to be honest and, presumably, she has council approval or else she wouldnt be risking her business by being on telly!

hmmmmm, food for thought!

the cooncil bloke is coming out in a couple of weeks - i think i'm going to do my homework before he comes and aim to be better informed than he is.....

everyone else, many thanks for your comments too.  we do have a caravan and also an outbuilding, both of which i could eventually work out of - sadly no money to do either of them up at this stage.....

and happyhippy, i so totally agree with your comments - hence the reason i wanted to involve the council at this very early stage.  my 'problem' isnt with the rules and regulations - more the fact that Mr Jobsworth stated within minutes of our conversation that "they dont really like to approve these type of businesses".  Hardly working with me is it?

at the end of the day it is my repuation, not to mention my livlihood that would be at stake if i got it wrong (fot forgetting the poor poisoned customer of course!!), THAT is why i want to get it right and make sure i am compliant, legal, hygienic and all that goes with that, however, above all i want to set this business up and i had foolishly hoped that the council might actually want to advise me and help me - rather than becoming some sort of Business Prevention Unit!!!

sorry.....daily rant over :(


  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Environmental Health and new business setsups
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2011, 09:17:56 am »
HH - just had another thought about your comment re "not wanting something in your food" - my mum is having an ongoing battle with asda on this very subject.  she is partially sighted (registered blind) and found a lump of green plastic in a jar of peanut butter she bought from them a few months ago.

they've tried to fob her off, telling her it was a piece of wood (hullo, green plastic and wood do not look that similar to me!) and the matter is being investigated...yeah right!

imagine if she hadn't seen it and had eaten it??

just your point happyhippy, but you wouldnt imagine a company like asda having these issues.

and then i wnet out for a meal with hubby a year or so ago, had chicken something or other and the chicken was green inside - they said it was harmless dye and i wasnt to worry about it.  gave me a voucher for a free i was ever going to go back there!!!

so i guess what i'm trying to say is, despite the size of the organisation mistakes can be made, all we can do is try to minimise them as much as possible, have adequate insurance and a keen eye on the detail.  All of which i would do, with or without regulations anyway.


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
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Re: Environmental Health and new business setsups
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2011, 09:38:31 am »
Slightly different situation but similar principle - I had a litter of puppies aged 3 weeks and had started weaning them.  At that time I used Pedigree tinned puppy food as part of their diet - I found a large piece of skin in a tin, about 2 inches long and an inch wide - animal probably but far too big for a baby puppy to swallow and it was too firm to be chewed so it could have choked.  I wrote to them and they asked for the article and tin to be returned - yeah and I'd never have seen it or them again - so I sent photos instead.  An apology came with a whole lot of adult tins, I had already told them I'd never feed their puppy food again.  So you have to be careful with animal foods too.  Read all you can Laura, and be one step ahead of that cooncil mannie (or wifie - they're worse)  In this day and age of economic misery you'd think they'd want to help small businesses get on their feet, not try to drop them at the first hurdle - good luck!  ;D
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age


  • Guest
Re: Environmental Health and new business setsups
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2011, 09:38:57 am »
I wasn't trying to put you off Egglady - just to give you an idea of what they look for ideally.
You'll get the teeth suckers and jaw blawers (sorry, my expression) everywhere - some of this is just plain negativity (vitality vulture's I call 'em - my mum's a nightmare for it ;)) but some of it is from their experience of it and is to try advise and assist you in avoiding spending lots of cash and jumping through all the hoops only to get a 'no' from the officials at the end.  ;)
I think your initial contact at the council was a vitality vulture  ;) ;D ::)
I suppose it's going to depend on what you're producing, what your kitchen's like and how the person that comes to see you on the day feels.
Nobody here can say you won't be able to do it (hell, GO FOR IT I say, if you've got an idea that will help your income !) but they're just trying to point out the possible pitfalls in a worst case scenario.
Make the wee council chappy a nice cake and cup of tea & lots of smiling when he comes to see you - hope it goes well.
Good luck  :-* :-* :-*

country soul

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Environmental Health and new business setsups
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2011, 04:14:42 pm »
I am an Environmental Health Officer! and its sad you have had such a negative response.I would have hoped that my fellow colleagues would have been more positive about your new business
You dont say what your new business is but in most cases(not all ) you do not need approval of any kind.All that is required is a completed Registration Form 28 days before you intend to commence,an inspection may follow as a result
I would work with the Officer but also get yourself a Safer Food Better Business pack,they are available from local authorities or down load from the Food Standards Agency web site.You will be one step ahead to start.Also look at food hygiene training,the requirment here is to have sufficient knowledge  you can get that a variety of ways but a course is most usual.


  • Guest
Re: Environmental Health and new business setsups
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2011, 04:33:57 pm »
That's a really encouraging reply  ;D
After doing a bit of research I found this guide from my local trading standards - you answer some questions and it pulls together all the relevant info you need
Hopefully your council will have a similar thing egglady ? If not, this one's bound to be similar ?
Karen x


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