Food safety for churches

06 January 2020

Guidance on food safety in churches.

Table-top bake sale

Food safety at your church

From running a café to providing tea and cakes at events, preparing food is a common activity in the life of a church. There is no reason why you should not prepare and sell food to support its mission in this way. Whilst instances of food poisoning and allergic reactions are rare, these are more likely to occur if poor food safety practices are adopted.  

Food safety law

Food supplied, sold or provided at charity or community events must comply with food law and be safe to eat. Obviously, you will have fewer responsibilities if you only handle, prepare, store or serve food occasionally and on a small scale.
Practical guidance on how to comply with the law in these circumstances is provided by the Food Standards Agency on their webpages – Providing food at community and charity events.  
Food safety will be a more significant concern if you prepare food regularly in an organised way – for example, running a restaurant, café or other catering business; providing charitable support (e.g. for the homeless); or if you are an employer who has a restaurant or use outside caterers.  In these circumstances, further guidance and resources are available. 

Basic food safety guidelines for churches

Depending on what you are doing, typical precautions could include:
  • Keeping church premises clean, well maintained and in good condition, if food is prepared there  
  • Ensuring food preparation surfaces are in good condition, easy to clean and disinfect 
  • Purchasing food from reputable suppliers
  • Paying attention to any ‘use-by’ dates 
  • Storing raw and ready-to-eat food properly 
  • Making sure that food is cooked and prepared properly 
  • Keeping food covered to help protect it from bacteria and prevent contamination 
  • Adopting good hygiene practices when preparing food.
Please note: this list is not exhaustive.

You can read our guidance on food safety to learn more, including possible actions you can take depending on your particular circumstances.