We had a visit today from the local environmental health service as we had registered ourselves as a food business - nothing to do with the supperclub but for market stall purposes.
The first thing however that they wanted to talk about - and it explained why they came out when we had been told we were low risk and might not be seen for 6+ months - was the fact that they had found out we were running a supperclub.
We were told categorically that any supperclub MUST register as a food business with their local authority.
We were told that all food laws applied - despite the fact the fact that we were not selling food. The law applies in "charitable" situations (which is why a free soup kitchen has to comply, or charitable stalls etc) so the fact that we were recieving donations (or even if we were feeding them for free they said!) meant we had to register.
As this is not something that I was aware of I thought I would raise this here and see what everyone else thought, had been told, had done etc.
We have looked registering and I have spoken to the head person of our local Environmental Health office, she was a little bossy to start with but then became very helpful.
We do not have to register but she asked if we would be prepared to undergo the 'Scores on the Doors' scheme and after looking at we have agreed. They have sent us a bumf pack of what is expected and it really doesnt seem that complex.
We already have a fridge and freezer that is purely for Clarkies use, ( Except at Christmas) they are both fitted with thermometers and we do record them on a form I downloaded from the net.
As far as we can tell the only thing we may have issues with is that we do not have a seperate hand wash sink in the lkitchen, but as we are going for registration as a Private Kitchen this should be ok.
We are just waiting for a gap in my work so we can sort it all out, I will keep you informed as we go on, but I would say to everyone if you are feeding people in your own home, selling food at markets etc , look into registering, once we are legal there is nothing to stop us growing and spreading even further!
Interesting to hear your experience, thanks. I don't have an issue with registering personally I was just surprised as to hear that legally they were saying supperclubs HAD to because despite operating on donations, that didn't exclude us from the wording of the law. You, like me, have said "we do not have to register" but as I said, this official was absolutely adamant that the law very definitely still applied.
Hopefully other supperclub owners will share their experience as it would be useful to get an idea of the nationwide picture on this.