Environmental Health

Business advice

Our Business Support and Improvement team can provide a wide range of advice that will help you plan, establish and develop your business in a safe and protective manner.

From advice on starting up or expanding a food business, product safety regulations for those that import, manufacture or supply goods to consumers, to how to ensure your business meets the occupational health and safety standards and which premises are enforced by us or the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland.  

We can advise you on how best to keep your customers safe, your employees safe and you safe.

Sale of food ¦ Non-food consumer products ¦ Health and safety in the workplace

Does your business involve the sale of food?

If you are planning to start a new business you must register your food business with your local Council at least 28 days before opening.

Register your business

When you are starting up or expanding a food business there is lots of important information you need to consider from the outset.

This will help you manage your business correctly from the start.

For more information visit the Food Standards Agency's 'Registering and managing a food business' page.

When you are trying to choose the right premises for your business, it is very important to make sure that they comply with the necessary regulations, are suitable for the purpose intended and will allow you to prepare food safely.

For more information visit the Food Standards Agency's 'Hygiene requirements for your business' page.

For one to one advice on Food Safety contact:
Elaine Thompson
Business Support & Improvement Team

T: 028 2563 3130

Other useful links:

Managing Food Safely – Food Safety Management or HACCP is all about what you do to manage how food is produced in your business, to make sure it is safe to eat.

You might be asked to put together a “food safety management system” and keep up to date records relating to your procedures.

For more information visit the Food Standards Agency's 'Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)' page

When you produce food for sale you need to make sure that it will be safe to eat at the end of its allocated shelf life to prevent harmful food poisoning bacteria being present and causing any illness to the consumer.

For more information visit the GOV.UK website to download the Ready to eat foods: microbiological safety assessment guidelines.

It is a legal requirement to know what food allergens are present in the food you produce and sell.

This must be available to the consumer whether the food is sold loose or prepacked for sale.

For more information visit the Food Standards Agency's 'Labelling and allergens' page.

Depending on the size of your business you may need to apply nutritional information to the packaging.

Similarly, if you are making any nutritional claims relating to your products you will need to provide nutritional information to support these claims.

For more information visit the Food Standards Agency's 'Nutrition labelling' page.

If you are producing food for retail sale you will want to ensure you choose the right type of packaging for your products.

Products are required to be fully labelled with a number of details to ensure you meet your legal requirements.

For more information visit the Food Standards Agency's 'Packaging and labelling' page.

Most foodstuffs are required to carry a date mark.

This may be a “Use by” or “Best Before” date. 

To determine what type of date mark your food will require visit the Wrap website's 'Food date labelling and storage advice' section.

When you are producing food for sale you will be expected to know who you got your food supplies from and who you have sold these to.

This is known as traceability. In the event, of something going wrong with a product whilst out in the market it may be necessary to withdraw or recall the food.

For more information visit the Food Standards Agency's 'Food incidents' page.

Does your business involve the sale of non-food consumer products?

Product safety in the UK is governed by a wide regulatory framework consisting of both national and European-derived legislation. 

The laws apply to any business involved in the import, manufacture and supply of goods to consumers.

Local councils have enforcement responsibilities for safety related issues with Consumer Goods.

General information on Consumer Protection Legislation visit our Product Safety section.

For one to one advice on Product Safety contact:
Shauna Lagan
Business Support & Improvement Team.
T: 028 2563 3128

Other useful links:

The role of Trading Standards is to promote and maintain fair trading, protect consumers and help reputable businesses to thrive in NI. 

For information on Trading Standards issues visit the Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service website.

The Consumer Council provide free independent support and advice for all consumers and businesses in N.I.

They also have the powers to investigate complaints about energy, water, transport and postal services. 

For General Consumer queries visit the Consumer Council website.

Do you require information on Health & Safety in the Workplace?

Environmental Health are responsible for securing occupational health and safety standards in certain workplaces within the Mid and East Antrim Borough area.

To find out who the relevant enforcing authority is for your workplace (i.e. Council or HSENI) go to our Health and safety page.

In general, health and safety laws apply to all businesses (employer and self-employed).

Health and safety laws are there to protect you, your employees and the public from workplace dangers.

Key legal duties placed on employers include the need to write a health and safety policy; carry out a risk assessment to control workplace risks; provide staff training and information; provide the right workplace facilities and consult with employees.

For information on these legal requirements to make health and safety work for your business visit the Health and Safety Executive NI's 'Small business advice' section.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (NI) 1997 (RIDDOR) place a legal duty on employers, self-employed people and people in control of premises to report work related deaths; major injuries and over-three-day injuries; work related diseases and dangerous occurrences to their enforcing authority.

All employers can use the on-line centralised system in Northern Ireland to report an incident.

HSENI's Report an Incident

For one to one advice on Health & Safety contact:
Elise Logan
Business Support & Improvement Team.

T: 028 2563 3131

Other useful links:

For further information on health and safety basics such as writing a health and safety policy and carrying out a risk assessment visit the NI Business Information website's 'Health and safety' page.

Do you require information on a Smoke Free Business?

Since 30 April 2007 all of Northern Ireland’s workplaces and public buildings have been smoke free.

The Smoking (NI) Order 2006 was introduced to protect workers and the public from exposure to second hand smoke and is enforced by Officers within the Business Support & Improvement Team.

For more information visit our Tobacco control page or visit the Space To Breathe website.

Gas safety in commercial catering premises

Businesses operating gas powered commercial catering equipment have a duty to ensure that their appliances are maintained in a safe condition.

During the current Covid-19 pandemic, these duties still apply, whether the equipment is in regular use, or is being put back into use after a period of closure.

Gas appliance safety is very important – a gas explosion or carbon monoxide from a faulty appliance may affect the public as well as you and your employees.

The Gas Safe Register’s website has a very handy Commercial Catering Fact Sheet.

Other Useful Links for starting a new business: