The Food Safety Agency has published guidance on how to interpret EU food hygeine law.
Their advice particularly applies to:-
A one off event - such as church or school fete
Daily small scale provision of low risk foods by community and charity volunteers
Both are deemed to be unlikely to need registration.
If you are organising a large community event or several large events in a year then you will need to contact your local authority for advice.
If you are providing food on a daily basis to vulnerable people; if the food could be in a high risk group - ie with a potential for salmonella poisoning; or if you need complex food controls then you might need to register. Again contact your local authority.
For the full advice, a series of helpful advice and tips for those offering catering on a local level and links to useful food safety information then follow this link to the Food Standards Agency page
The FSA’s current view seems to be what its Chief Executive wrote in her Report to the FSA Board in November 2012.
Reuse of jam jars
There have also been recent reports in the media claiming that the FSA / EU had banned the re-use of jam jars and that this would adversely impact on charities and voluntary events. This is incorrect. An individual can reuse jam jars for occasional events. In doing so, they obviously need to ensure proper sterilisation and good hygiene in preparation.
If you are a food business using glass, plastic, foil etc. for food storage then there are, quite reasonably, EU rules about ensuring any chemicals in the container don’t pass into the food at levels that are a danger to health. There is no evidence that the re-use of jam jars poses any risk of this occurring. It is for local authorities to determine what constitutes a food business. They can advise those involved in preparing food on a charitable basis. It would seem that local enforcement authorities have been applying a common sense approach to this issue for a number of years in discussion with local organisations and we are not aware of any prosecutions.
The FSA supports this common sense approach to enforcing this legislation.