Food Safety Guidance

Providing food for beekeeping events including sales to the public

November 2022

This guidance has bought together information on Food Safety and Food Hygiene from various sources, including the Food Standards Agency (England), Food Standards (Scotland), The BBKA and The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.Its purpose is to provide some sensible advice to Associations providing food for events particularly when food is sold.Advice from the CIEH “It should be noted that operations such as the occasional handling, preparation, storage and serving of food by private persons at events such as church, school or village fairs are not covered by the full scope of the Food Hygiene Regulations, but organisers still have a duty of care and need to ensure arrangements are in place to provide safe food.” If in doubt, seek further advice from the local authority.


1.Introduction. 3

Foodborne bacteria and viruses. 3

Food Allergy. 3

2.Examples of events. 4

A.       Local Association Events. 4

B.       Local Association Events where members of the public may attend. 4

C.       Public Events where the Association has been invited to take part. 4

3. Food hygiene registration. 5

4.Food hygiene training. 5

5. Insurance. 5

6.Food Safety- General good practice. 6

General advice concerning all food preparation. 7

Chilled food. 7

Cooking food. 8

Serving food. 8

Foods that need extra care. 8

7. Food allergy information. 9

Which foods are allergens?. 9

8. Specific advice. 10

Barbecues. 10

Hot food holding. 10

Buffets. 11

Cakes and baked goods (Non-savoury) 11

Using Jam Jars. 11

Food transportation. 11

9. Further advice. 12


This guidance is intended to give Food Safety and Food Hygiene advice when holding events such as meetings, local events within the Association and when holding events where food is sold to the public. 

Every year some 2.4 million people suffer from food poisoning. Approximately 16,000 people end up in hospital. Unfortunately, about 180 people do die each year from eating contaminated food. 

Food poisoning is caused by eating something that has been contaminated with germs.

This can happen if food:

  • is not cooked or reheated thoroughly
  • is not stored correctly – for example, it has not been frozen or chilled properly
  • is left out for too long at room temperature
  • is handled by someone who is ill or has not washed their hands
  • is eaten after its ‘use by’ date

Any type of food can cause food poisoning.

Foodborne bacteria and viruses

Foodborne organisms live in the gut of many farm animals. During rearing, slaughter and processing it can be transferred into:

  • meat
  • eggs
  • poultry
  • milk

Other foods like green vegetables, fruit and shellfish can become contaminated through contact with animal and human faeces.

Foodborne bacteria can be spread by cross-contamination. For example, if raw and cooked foods are stored together, bacteria will spread from the raw food to the cooked food.

Some foodborne bacteria can also be spread from pets to people and from person to person through poor hygiene. This includes things like failing to wash your hands properly after going to the toilet or after handling pets.

Food Allergy

Some people suffer from a food allergy. A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to specific foods. Although allergic reactions are often mild, they can be very serious. 

2.Examples of events

As members of a Beekeeping Association we are familiar with the following events where food is available.

A.    Local Association Events. 

  • Informal meetings where members come together to discuss various topics 
  • Beginners classes
  • Formal meetings such as Committee Meetings and Annual General Meetings
  • Association events where members come together for a bit of a celebration, e.g. Christmas.

In most cases the food will consist of tea and coffee, biscuits and cakes and sometimes homemade sandwiches and other party type food. Sometimes barbecues may be set up. 

B.    Local Association Events where members of the public may attend.

There are occasions when the Association will hold an event and invite families and friends as well as members of the public.  

These events might include fundraising events where food is prepared at home in a domestic kitchen and subsequently sold later to raise funds.  Food may even be cooked at the time and offered for sale e.g. barbecues.

C.    Public Events where the Association has been invited to take part. 

Associations may also be invited to take part in an event organised by others. 

In this case it is usual to sell our honey and other hive products. 

However sometimes this might include other foods such as cakes, jams, jellies, pickles and sandwiches etc. 

3. Food hygiene registration

If the Association prepares and offers food to others or prepares and sells food to others on an occasional and small-scale basis, it will not need to register with the local authority.  

This advice includes all of the activities mentioned in examples A. B. and C.

The key points are the words occasional and small scale

In other words, where the offering or selling of food is not regular and the sale of food is not being run as a business. 

4.Food hygiene training

Association members or people volunteering to help provide food do not need to have a formal qualification or to have attended recognised food safety courses to make and sell food for the events listed in A. B. and C.   

However, there is a need to make sure that food is handled safely. 

Sometimes it may be a requirement from those letting out halls or venues where such events take place, that formal certification is required. Nevertheless, it is not a legal requirement in food law. It is therefore advisable to read the terms of the hiring agreement in these situations.  Not complying with a venue’s requirements may invalidate any insurance that the venue or the Association may have in place. 

There are many on-line food safety training courses available. However the Level 2  Food Safety in Catering offered by the CIEH would be recommended. As of November 2022 it costs £31.50.

5. Insurance

Insurance is provided as part of the membership of the British Beekeeping Association, (BBKA).  This covers Public Liability and Product Liability.

Public Liability:  This covers injury to others or damage to their property, up to £10m. This is only while undertaking beekeeping activities and includes situations where the Association has erected stands and stalls or when hiring a venue or room. 

Products Liability: This covers the sale of Honey and other hive products, up to £10m.

It is important to note that the insurance does not cover the selling of any food other than Honey.

This means that the selling of cakes, sandwiches, “party” food, including hot and cold food, barbecued food, savouries, ice cream, home-made jams and pickles are not covered by the BBKA Insurance. 

The advice on the BBKA Insurance FAQ Document, which can be downloaded from the BBKA News website states: 

The BBKA policy only covers primary hive products – defined as wax, honey and propolis with no other added ingredients.  

For instance, if cakes were covered, the insurance company would require lists of all products made and ingredients used by each and every member, and every product would need to comply with food hygiene and production standards.

So it is important to understand that the selling of food (other than honey), by Associations at events (or even by the members individually) is NOT covered by Insurance. In this instance it is advisable to obtain separate insurance for the sale of food. 

Associations therefore need to consider this aspect when they are selling food rather than inviting people to share food with them.

6.Food Safety- General good practice

There are increased food safety risks when preparing food to be eaten at events or catering for larger numbers that one would do at home. 

When preparing food at home, the food is generally eaten immediately and if not, is stored by chilling directly in fridges or by freezing.  

When preparing food that is to be prepared for events, the food is often transported to another venue and it is generally displayed for a longer period of time. Food for events may also be prepared outdoors in the open and/or in areas where adequate cooling, reheating and cleaning facilities such as wash hand basins and sinks with hot and cold running water may not be available. 

The quantity of food prepared may also be much larger and this also increases the risk due to ensuring the food reaches a safe temperature when cooking. 

Apart from the concerns about the environment the food is prepared in, an important consideration is the time between preparing the food and the time the food is eaten. Storing and holding food at incorrect temperatures can allow the bacteria to multiply to a point where the bacteria will cause food poisoning.  Some bacteria produce toxins and these toxins are not destroyed by subsequent heating. 

It is also important that foods which are prepared at home such as jams, pickles, jellies are properly cooked to the correct temperatures and have the right acidity, (pH lower than 4.5) to avoid the growth of clostridium botulinum.

The best advice is to follow the “4Cs” of Food Hygiene.

These are 

Paying attention to these rules will help to ensure that members and others preparing, making, storing and selling food, for and on behalf of the Association, is safe to eat. 

General advice concerning all food preparation 

  • wash your hands regularly with soap and water, using hand sanitisers if hand washing facilities are not available; 
  • wear protective clothing- to protect the food, not yourself from getting dirty, i.e., aprons, clean shirts, overalls;
  • keep pets away from areas where food is being prepared;
  • do not prepare or serve food if you have had signs or symptoms of food poisoning in the past 48 hours;
  • ensure that food preparation areas are suitably cleaned and sanitised after use and wash any equipment you are using in hot soapy water; 
  • always wash fresh fruit and vegetables;
  • keep raw and ready-to-eat foods apart;
  • do not wash raw meat before cooking it;
  • do not use food past its use-by date. As a record keep packaging for 14 days; 
  • always read any cooking instructions and make sure food is properly cooked before you serve


  • prepare food in advance and freeze it, if you can, but ensure the food is properly defrosted before you use it;
  • keep food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible;
  • make sure your fridge is between 0-5°C. 

Chilled food

  • chilled foods must have the temperature maintained at below 5°- 8 °C during transportation,

i.e., cool box with freezer packs.  This is from both from the point of purchase and transportation to venue;  

  • check and record the temperature when purchasing and at the venue on arrival. You can take this by holding food packs against a food thermometer.   Food thermometers are easily available and are not expensive, around £10.00;
  • food that needs to be chilled, such as sandwich fillings served as part of a buffet, should be left out of the fridge for no more than four hours. After this time, any remaining food should be thrown away or put back in the fridge. If you put the food back in the fridge, don’t let it stand around at room temperature when you serve it again;
  • keep food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible;

Cooking food

  • when cooking poultry, rolled meat joints, stews, casseroles, minced meats and meat products, like hot dogs, burgers, sausage rolls, pasties and savoury pastries ensure the centre reaches a suitably high temperature, for example 75°C or above;
  • even if people are waiting for food don’t reduce the cooking times;
  • food should be covered at all times. 

Serving food 

When serving food, it is not necessary for the food handler to wear gloves, it is a personal choice. They are not a substitute for good personal hygiene and can become contaminated with bacteria in much the same way as hands can, even when they are new, and so should be kept clean and sanitised in the same way as bare hands.

However disposable single use gloves are advisable and should be changed frequently. 

When selecting gloves bear in mind that some people have an allergy to latex or develop one from regular contact. Alternative glove materials include nitrile, vinyl, rubber and plastic.

Antibacterial (Food Safe e.g. Disinfectants BS EN 1276 & BS EN 13697 ( spray cleaner should be available in each area where food is sold.

Foods that need extra care

Some foods are more likely to cause food poisoning than others. 

These include:

  • raw milk
  • raw shellfish
  • soft cheeses
  • pâté
  • foods containing raw egg
  • cooked sliced meats – often used in sandwiches!


Ensure that eggs are stamped with the British Lion Code of Practice or an equivalent scheme. These eggs are considered very low risk of containing Salmonella and safe for vulnerable groups to eat. Eggs that have not been produced to this standard should be cooked through until the white and yolk are solid. 

7. Food allergy information

For the events listed on Page 4, food does not have to be labelled to provide information for consumers about allergens present in the food as ingredients. This is because this legal requirement only applies to Food Registered businesses.  

However, we strongly recommend that you do so as best practice.

Food allergens cannot be removed by cooking, so it is important that they are managed carefully. The following advice is a guide to best practice when preparing food. 

  • double check ingredients listed on pre-packed foods for allergens;
  • when making foods, clean work surfaces and equipment thoroughly using hot, soapy water to ensure traces of anything you may have cooked before are removed;
  • keep a note of the ingredients used in your dish to share with those running the event;
  • if someone is allergic to something, simply taking it off their plate isn’t enough. Even a tiny trace can be enough to cause an allergic reaction;
  • Provide allergen information to the people attending the event as much as is possible;
  • Avoid cross-contamination, as you would with germs, in the kitchen;
  • Save the packaging of all foods and show them to anyone who asks. This way you are providing information, but not advising/ making a decision for people if safe to eat; 

Which foods are allergens?

  • celery
  • cereals containing gluten – wheat (including spelt and Khorasan), rye, barley and oats
  • crustaceans e.g. prawns, crabs and lobsters
  • eggs
  • fish
  • lupin, (which is a legume and often made into flour)
  • milk
  • molluscs e.g. mussels and oysters
  • mustard
  • tree nuts – almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew, pecan, Brazil, pistachio, macadamia nuts,
  • peanuts
  • sesame seeds
  • soya
  • sulphur dioxide and sulphites (where added and is above 10 mg/kg in the final product)

Although there are 14 substances or products causing allergies or intolerances which are identified, people can have allergies to foods which are not included on the list above. The same level of care must be taken when preparing all foods. 

8. Specific advice  


When barbecuing, the biggest risk of food poisoning is from raw and undercooked meat. But following a few simple tips can keep barbecued food safe.

  • wash hands after touching raw meat and before handling other food or equipment
  • check the centre of the food – meat isn’t necessarily cooked inside just because it looks charred on the outside, use a food thermometer to check the core temperature is 75°C; 
  • food will be considered cooked when it has reached an internal temperature of 75°C for an instant reading using a food probe, or 70°C holding the food probe in the food for 2 minutes.  Food probe wipes must be used between testing different foods;
  • make sure chicken, pork, burgers, sausages and kebabs are cooked all the way through;
  • if you don’t have a food thermometer check there is no pink meat, and juices run clear;
  • to help cook food thoroughly cook the meat indoors (in a pan, grill or oven), then finish it off on the barbecue for that chargrilled flavor;
  • even if people are waiting for food don’t reduce the cooking times, serving undercooked meat can give people food poisoning;
  • frozen food should be completely thawed before cooking;
  • keep raw meat in sealed containers, separate from other foods. That way it won’t contaminate them with bacteria;
  • use separate plates and utensils for raw meat to avoid cross-contamination with ready-to-eat foods such as bread rolls and salads;
  • don’t use a sauce or marinade for cooked food that’s had raw meat in it;
  • when the charcoal is glowing red with a powdery grey surface, it’s ready for you to start cooking
  • keep food moving on the barbecue, so it cooks evenly.

Hot food holding

  • hot plates must be running at a minimum of 63°C to prevent bacteria growth; 
  • food can be stored at this temperature for a maximum of 2 hours; 
  • the internal unit temperature should be checked, i.e. the food temperature checked, rather than relying on digital display readouts is not acceptable; 
  • the temperature should be checked every two hours throughout the day; 
  • hand washing facilities should be immediately nearby, even if food handling gloves are worn. To facilitate use, a hand wash bowl, flasks of hot water, antibacterial soap/gel and paper towels to dry hands; 
  • savoury foods, once cooked thoroughly can be offered for sale for a maximum of 2 hours at ambient/ room temperature. After this time, they must be removed and cannot be offered for sale. A system must be in place to identify the time at ambient display for these foods, i.e., colour coded dots with a record of the times noted, and kept for one month after the event.


Many foods included in a buffet, such as cold meats and sandwich fillings, require chilling and should be left out of the fridge for the shortest time possible and for no more than four hours. This includes the production time. 

After this time, any remaining food should be thrown away or put back in the fridge. If food is put the back in the fridge don’t let it stand around at room temperature when it is to be served again.

Ideally sandwiches should be stored in a chill unit, i.e. below 8 °C. before being offering for sale at ambient temperature. This will reduce any potential bacteria growth significantly.  

Cakes and baked goods (Non-savoury)

Cakes and cooked pastries are considered low risk foods. 

Generally served at ambient- (room) temperature, unless they include fresh cream in which case, they must be kept chilled, below 5-8 degrees °C.

  • keep a note of the allergen ingredients;
  • when handling cakes use tongs or a cake slice;
  • store cakes in a clean, sealable container, away from raw foods, somewhere cool and dry;
  • don’t use raw eggs in anything that won’t be thoroughly cooked, such as icing or mousse.

Using Jam Jars

It is safe to re-use glass jam jars to supply home-made jam or chutney as long as the jars are free from chips and cracks and are properly washed, and sterilised prior to each use. Well-fitting lids will also minimise any hygiene risks to the food in the jars

Food transportation

Food should be transported in clean suitable containers.

Any foods being transported should be kept out of the fridge for the shortest time possible bearing in the mind the need to keep the food below 5C- 8C.

For foods that need to be kept cool use clean cool bags or boxes for transportation.

9. Further advice 

Local authority food safety team

If you any questions or concerns, or want further advice contact your local authority food safety team as they will be happy to advise

 Food Standards Agency

There is lots of advice on the Food Standards Agency Website. 

Homepage | Food Standards Agency

 Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.


This is also downloadable as a pdf here

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