Do I Need a Food Hygiene Certificate to Sell Food?

food safety training

You need a food hygiene certificate to sell food. There are different types of certificates to suit the level of food hygiene your involvement with food requires.  Level 1 is an introductory food safety course for people who are beginning to cook at home. Food Hygiene Certificate Level 2 fits the general legal requirements for food handler. Level 3 is the qualification that food supervisors and managers need. Food hygiene certificates can easily be obtained via an online e-learning course.

Why is it needed to sell food?

Many people in the UK experience food poisoning. Unfortunately, this can cause extreme discomfort and distress, ongoing health problems, and in some cases, even death. Therefore anyone working with food should know what they are doing and how to handle it safely.

People handling food should be adequately trained and ideally hold at least a Level 2 hygiene certificate. The person preparing food does not have to hold any type of qualification but a suitably trained person must provide supervision and/or training. Even if you are preparing something as simple as a sandwich, there is still a threat to health if handling procedures are not followed correctly. Some potentially lethal bacteria such as listeria can lurk in salads and diary products. 

New food legislation was introduced in 2006 and outlined strict rules for how food is prepared and handled. Even if you are preparing, handling, producing, selling food on a small scale – you must be able to evidence how you have made sure the food is safe to eat.


As a manager it is your responsibility to make sure any food handlers you oversee are either trained or supervised. All businesses that have any involvement with food should have a ‘food safety management system’, but the type of system will depend on the size of the business. For example, a small business will only require a simple system, whereas a larger business will need a more complex one. In both instances, whoever is in charge of the system, must have appropriate training.

If you are an employee in this scenario, and do not feel sufficiently trained or supervised you should raise this with your manager. 

Your food hygiene responsibilities

If you are the owner or manager of the business, you are responsible for monitoring all aspects of hygiene and safety levels, including:

  • kitchen surfaces and equipment
  • refrigerators
  • dining areas
  • delivery vehicles
  • waste disposal
  • toilets
  • hand washing facilities

Your staff and training responsibilities

Any person who handles food in your business must receive training in food hygiene.Training should cover:

  • HACCP – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points
  • cooking
  • temperature control
  • cross contamination
  • cleaning and disinfection
  • personal hygiene
  • pest control
  • allergy awareness

The type and level of training will depend entirely on what type of business you run.

Supplier responsibilities

Whilst you have control over food hygiene in your business, you cannot control what has happened to food before it reaches you. This is why it is important to make sure you use suppliers who are reputable and can be trusted. Your suppliers should be:

  • registered with their district council
  • have a clear and correct food safety management system
  • store, transport and pack their goods in a hygienic way

It is also essential that you ask and are provided with clear and thorough allergenic ingredients.


Engage in Learning provide interactive Health and Safety courses, with engaging scenarios, memorable graphics, so they include a wide variety of interaction types combined with high quality information design keeps learners engaged.

Our Level 2 Food Safety online training course provides learners with the knowledge and understanding to identify and control food safety hazards and emphasises the responsibility of everyone in a catering environment.

Our Food Safety course can be found here