In 2020, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland investigated 47 unregistered food businesses, up from 19 in 2019. The increase could be attributable to the temporary closure of food businesses due to Covid-19 restrictions and/or to people looking for alternative sources of income.
One of the primary obligations of any food business operator is to register with the relevant competent authority (e.g. HSE, DAFM or the local authority). If your business handles or processes foods of animal origin it may need approval.
Registration of the business is a simple and straightforward process and should be done before starting trading. It tells the authority that you are a food business and type of activities you are involved with so that an inspection can take place to ensure that you are producing safe food (of course you may want to avoid this!).
While it may be tempting to produce food from your kitchen or bedroom at home, and it may be quite lucrative in the short term, it may not be possible to put in place all the processes and procedures required to produce the food safely.
Failure to register the business may lead to an investigation into what you are doing and could result in officers obtaining a warrant to enter and search your home. Non-registration is also a criminal offence which could result in a fine of thousands of euro and/or imprisonment of up to 3 years.
The is a lot of guidance on the FSAI website (www.fsai.ie) about how to set up a food business but please contact us if you require further help.