If you plan to sell refreshments from your kitchen, you might need to conform to stricter regulations. Find out if you might need to comply and what you’ll need to do…
REGISTERING YOUR KITCHEN
Some churches will be exempt from registering their kitchen with their local Environmental Health agency, but this is based on how your kitchen is used. We always recommend you seek advice from your local council, but here’s a rough guide to who needs to register:
Occasional/infrequent events: If you occasionally make teas and coffees and dish out a few biscuits for irregular events – the odd car boot sale, an annual summer fun day – your kitchen won’t need to be registered
Regular events: Any kitchen that is handling food for five days or more in any five consecutive weeks needs to be registered. That means that a weekly event, like a breakfast club or senior lunch, will need to be covered by requirements.
Commercial opening: If you’re running a café that’s open and selling food to the public on a daily/weekly basis, you’ll definitely need to register – and make sure your kitchen is up to scratch.
Tip: The law applies to any kitchen where food is supplied, whether it’s sold or given away for free, so even if your church only serves food on a charitable basis, you may still need to get cover.
It’s an often overlooked requirement in church kitchens that don’t operate commercially, but it can be vitally important. Food must be labelled correctly, with ingredients, Best Before dates, storage requirements and allergy information.
There are some exceptions (for instance, some one-off cakes, buns and jam, if sold infrequently) but it does make sense to keep good labelling habits in your church kitchen regardless of the laws, particularly when it comes to allergens.
Regardless of legislation, it’s always a good idea to make sure that any food handlers in your church have an appropriate level of food hygiene training.
When it comes to inspections from the local Environmental Health agency (if you are registered) you’ll need to show that food is being prepared and stored correctly, and that your volunteers or staff are using the kitchen correctly (ie, not leaving raw chicken next to cooked meat, keeping food labelled, etc).
You won’t always need to have formal training to prepare food in your kitchen, but a basic food hygiene course is a great way to make sure that your volunteers are fully up to speed on their food safety. Some churches, like Canterbury Baptist Church require anyone hiring the kitchen, too, to have a Level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene certificate, which is excellent practice.
If your kitchen has seen better days, it may be that an overhaul is needed to bring it up to health and safety standards. A domestic kitchen can deteriorate over time, with porous substances like MDF trapping bacteria and making the space impossible to keep hygienically clean.
A semi-commercial kitchen is a great option for a church kitchen, as its steel construction and customised powder-coated doors bridge the gap between commercial quality and domestic feel. Find out how Steelplan Kitchens can help: call us on 0844 809 9186 and speak to one of our kitchen design specialists.