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Mobile & Outdoor Catering

Many businesses cater outside or use a vehicle for preparing and serving food. These businesses often provide food at outdoor events, such as markets or festivals, or distribute food to the workplace or doorstep. They include hotdog vendors, ice-cream vans, burger vans and any other business that sells hot or cold food, usually intended for immediate consumption.

 

Food Hygiene

As with any food business, mobile and outside caterers must be registered (link to registration page) as a food business. These businesses must register with the Local Authority where the main place of business is located and/or the vehicle is kept overnight.

 

The Environmental Health Department of the home authority (where the business is registered) will inspect the unit on a regular basis. Occasionally officers will inspect businesses which trade in the Borough, but are registered elsewhere.

 

Health and Safety

Owners of these businesses must have regard to the health and safety of themselves, visitors and members of the public. These mobile units are often confined spaces and therefore present a hazard because of restricted movement.

 

Owners must carry out risk assessments of the tasks carried out in the unit. These must include consideration of safety measures for the catering operations, and the driving of any vehicles to and from the site. It will be necessary for drivers to carry out basic daily and weekly checks, and these should be documented. Routine maintenance such as servicing and MOTs should also be programmed.

 

Many outdoor catering units use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and there are specific controls relating to this:

 

  • The cylinders must be located securely on the outside of the vehicle, or within a purpose built housing vented externally.
  • All pipework must be copper or stainless steel tubing, or small lengths of rubber hose of less than 0.5 m.
  • The vehicle must be permanently ventilated.
  • The appliances must be in good condition, meet appropriate standards, and be securely fixed to prevent movement if used in a vehicle.
  • Staff and others who may be responsible for the unit must be fully trained in the use of the systems and emergency procedures.
  • Safety instructions must be displayed.
  • The number of gas cylinders stored at the home base should be kept to a minimum.
  • All mobile units should be provided with a dry powder fire extinguisher.

 

Licensing

If you trade in the street you may require a street trading licence. The Commercial Regulation team is consulted by the Licensing Service whenever a street trading licence application or renewal is received. The officer who looks at the application will normally speak to the owner of the vehicle and may suggest conditions to be added to the licence.

 

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has produced a guidance document for Outdoor and Mobile caterers which can be downloaded below.

 

Don't Miss

Environment

Here you will find information on environmental and planning issues. This section provides a wealth of information including details on how to make or enquire about a planning application, rubbish, waste and recycling information.

 


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