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Running a home-based food business can be an intimidating challenge, even for experienced and skilled operators in the industry. However, it can also be a fantastic way to launch a new business in the food sector. Likewise, setting up a home-based business can avoid the expensive process and setup costs associated with a commercial kitchen. Notably, there are legal requirements no matter where a food business is located and special considerations for home-based businesses. This article will cover three legal requirements for home-based food businesses to be aware of, including inspections, food control plans, storage requirements, facilities and logistics. 

Inspections And Food Control Plans

Are you considering running a food business from home? In that case, it is vital to note that you will be subject to stringent food safety regulations and requirements. The food industry in New Zealand is tightly regulated. This is to ensure that New Zealanders are safe when buying and eating food. As a result, there are a range of implications for your home-based food business. 

The first of these is that you will need to expect inspections of your home when you set up a home-based food business. A recognised verifier from the government or your local authority will visit your home to ensure that you comply with your requirements and follow your food control plan. It can be unusual to have an inspector visit your home to check about your setup. However, there is nothing to worry about if you comply with all the food safety requirements and relevant regulations. 

In terms of a food control plan, you will need to show how you are making safe food from the context of your home setup. In addition, you will need to identify health risks. Importantly, you must show how you are managing those risks and limiting them from home. There is plenty of support available for you via online plans and templates. 

Storage Requirements

When setting up a home-based food business, consider how you will comply with storage requirements imposed by the law. Likewise, how you will comply with your own food control plan. This can encompass several different elements. It can be a complicated task, especially considering you will be storing food in the same place that you live. You will need to ensure:

  • that you have sufficient space to store all of the food you will be making on an ongoing basis as part of your business; 
  • that you have a system for ingredients containing allergens and separating those from allergen-free ingredients;  
  • your system for transporting the food from your home is safe and does not compromise the quality or health of the food; and
  • that you can keep your food for your business separate from your personal or family food.

Facilities and Logistics

In addition to storage, there are also several requirements to think about regarding the facilities of your food business. The added complication is that you are managing these logistical questions in the context of your own home. You may need to consider a few different legal questions when starting your business, such as:

  • whether you have the legal authority to start a business in your house. If you are a renter, check whether you have the proper permissions in your tenancy agreement to operate a business; 
  • whether you need a resource or building consent to have the facilities you need for your food business; and 
  • ensuring that your facilities and setup at home give you the right tools and space to comply with the food safety requirements set out in your food control plan. It is always a good idea to think this through before starting your operation.

Key Takeaways

It can be a fantastic experience to run your own home-based food business. Still, there is no doubt that there are several legal and regulatory requirements to note. It is sometimes harder to comply with these in the context of a home-based kitchen compared to a commercial kitchen. For instance, prepare yourself for home inspections. You want to be able to show how you are meeting your requirements for food safety, preparation, and storage. Also, make sure you have the right legal permissions. You may need to seek permission from your landlord to operate your new food business. 

For more information on running a successful and legally compliant home-based food business in New Zealand, contact LegalVision’s business lawyers on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are home-based food businesses inspected in New Zealand?

Yes, if you are a home-based food business, prepare yourself for inspections. These inspections ensure you are meeting your obligations, particularly in terms of food safety.

What should home-based food businesses do in terms of storage?

Home-based food businesses must take care with storing food, particularly in terms of not getting food or preparation mixed up with other food or activities at home. Keeping that food separate is really important. You should also think about keeping foods with allergens away from allergen-free food.

Can all renters start a home-based food business if they want?

Not necessarily. You need to ensure you have your landlord’s permission to operate a business from the house or place you are staying in.

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