Food safety and your food product for a local Saturday morning, farmers’ or night market

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Photo by Chesney Bradshaw

We now turn to food safety and what it means for your food product that you may wish to sell on a local food market. It’s not something that you can mess around with. Selling your products to family and friends is one thing but selling to the public is quite another.

Where do you start?

Begin with your local laws and regulations. How do you find out about them? Do a little research on your own, speak your ward councillor or chat to other traders.

Food safety starts with your food preparation. Make sure your food preparation area is clean and hygienic. Food is sensitive to temperature and you need to take this into account when preparing foods that perish easily. Preserves and cured products are somewhat different in that sugars and salts are good preservatives. Unless you are going to work hygienically, you might as well not be in the food business.

The regulations and laws laid down for food safety even if you are a small food trader exist to protect the interests of consumers. They are in place for a reason. Make sure you comply otherwise you could face a fat fine. Not only that that but you want to avoid purchasers of your food product getting ill or worse.

This is the serious side of making your own home-made food products. If you really can’t find the information or don’t under understand the requirements, then it would be best to get professional advice from someone in the food safety business or even your lawyer. 

Also check the food safety requirements with your local community food market. They will tell you what their requirements are and make sure that you comply. 

When we start out with a small food business, we are all excited and think about how much money we can make. However, we must consider risk. What risks are there in your preparation, storage and display of your products? Food products with a short shelf life require special care and attention. The best rule to follow is to consider anything that could be harmful to your respective buyers.

Accidents do happen. Problems occur. Things can go wrong. This is why it’s a good idea to think about taking out insurance should anything happen. I’m not suggesting that you do this with your first batch or two of products that you have carefully prepared. But I am suggesting that as your business grows and more people are exposed to your products, you need to take precautions against the those who will come after your business. If you have ever dealt with food products, you will know that there are some people out there who are out to get you. It’s a sad reality but you have to deal with it. Some people will claim that your product was the cause of their illness and will seek compensation. Cases can get complex and tricky so you need professional assistance. 

Food safety is really about being responsible, safeguarding your interests and that of your purchasers and ensuring that you comply with food safety regulations and legislation.

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