Food safety management systems

By law all food businesses must be able show what they are doing to make sure their food is safe to eat.

In most cases, this must be written down in a food safety management system and the level of documentation required will depend on the nature and size of your business.

Businesses must also keep records of the checks they carry out. Failure to have an appropriate food safety management system may result in a reduction in your Food Hygiene Rating Score - potentially to a 1 rated score of Major Improvement Necessary. 

Food safety management packs

The Food Standards Agency has designed a simple to use toolkit containing an instruction pack and a diary to allow basic records to be kept for a selection of types of food business. You may consider this as an appropriate food safety management system for your food business.

There are different information packs for:

You can download the full pack for free or download specific sections as you need them. If you do not have a printer you can purchase the packs through online retailers. 

Other equally effective documents are available, or you may wish to develop your own policy and procedures, please contact the food safety team for advice.

Using the information pack will help your business to:

  • comply with the regulations
  • show what you do to make food safely
  • train staff
  • protect your business's reputation
  • improve your business, for example, by wasting less food

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)

If you are a small to medium sized manufacturer or caterer and are using techniques such as sous vide and vacuum packing, your activities may be considered as higher risk. The packs mentioned above may not be suitable for your business and you will need an HACCP system instead.

My HACCP is the Food Standards Agency's free web tool that will guide you through the process of developing a food safety management system based on the HACCP principles.

Butchers shops are also required to have detailed HACCP plans. Good examples of HACCP plans for butchers are Safe food handling for butchers and the ButcherSafe Food Safety Assurance System.

Small low-risk businesses

We have developed packs for home bakers, small low-risk food businesses, and for small retailers that do not prepare their own food but sell food that needs to be kept cold. These will help your business to comply with the legal requirement to document your food safety management system.

If our documents are not accessible to you, you can request a different format here.
Food safety for home bakers PDF (PDF 130 KB)
Food safety for small retailers PDF (PDF 71 KB)
Low risk food safety management system Word (Word 159 KB)

Help and advice

Our food safety team are keen to help you comply with your legal requirement to document your food safety management system. Your food safety officer will also encourage you to maintain and periodically review your procedures - if you don't maintain your monitoring checks this may result in a lowering of your Food Hygiene Rating Score.

If you need any help or advice please contact the food safety team.

You may also be registered in:

Last updated on 25 March 2022