Guidance for food businesses

General food law

Visit the Food Standards Agency website for information on food law.

"Use by" and "Best before" dates

Most pre-packed foods have to be labelled with a use by or a best before date.

Use by date

The use by date is marked on highly perishable food where eating the food after that date would present a risk of food poisoning. They appear on chilled foods such as meat and dairy products, sandwiches, ready-to-eat meals or cooked-chilled foods.

It is illegal to sell or display any food after its use by date.

Best before date

The best before date is marked on most foods where there is no immediate food poisoning risk after that date. When that date has passed, it doesn’t mean that the food may be dangerous, but it may no longer be at its best.

It is not illegal to sell food after its best before date, but it is illegal to sell or display any food which is of unacceptable quality, or which is unsafe to eat.

Read more about use by and best before dates on GOV.UK.

Food labelling

Food must be labelled correctly and there is certain information that must be shown. Visit GOV.UK to see what needs to be included.

Safe catering for community groups

Get advice on providing food in community halls for volunteers and charity groups.

Disposal of animal by-products

GOV.UK provides information on disposing of animal by-products.

Waste cooking oil

Used cooking oil from restaurants and catering facilities should not be poured down the drain system as it can lead to blockages. Get information on how dispose of waste cooking oil.

Visit the Food Safety Agency and Health and Safety Executive websites for other documents and guidance on food safety.

Food export health certificates

We are able to supply health certificates for a small charge. 

A health certificate is a document required to export some foods into certain countries.

Not all certificates are the same. Destination countries have different requirements. It is the exporter’s responsibility to ascertain the requirements of the destination country, including the required wording of any health certificate.

The following information must be provided in order to process any application.  The information should be supplied at least three working days before the certificate is required, although we do offer a next day service, for a higher fee:

  • despatch date
  • destination
  • importers name and address
  • name and address of producer/supplier
  • means of transport i.e. air / ship
  • the precise wording required on the certificate
  • name (or description) of the food
  • quantity of food (in words and figures)
  • batches identification, for example, "200 (two hundred) x 1 (one) litre cartons of orange juice"
  • any analyst report required by Brent Council
  • full payment

Contact our Food Safety Team for further information.