I am supposedly going to be moving to the UK within the next year and wanted to know if there is the UK equivalent to the American "Cottage Food Laws"? I have been googling trying to find info but I don't think I am using the right search words. I have seen some UK bakers post that they bake out of their homes but I wanted to know if there is a source of information home baking businesses somewhere. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I am American and I live in London. There are some cottage food type laws. When you get here, you can go to the council's website and file a form 28 days before you start your business. The UK is weighted down with all kinds of laws that I find ridiculous, but weirdly there isn't any requirement to be inspected or approved where I am - you just have to notify the council what you're doing via this form, and all's well.
I am indeed :-) Cottage food law is probably not what we would use. More 'home-based baking business' and things like that?
Generally we get it easy compared to our fellow US cakers. The main essential thing is that you are registered with the food department of your local council. It's free and usually requires an inspection of your kitchen and they will quiz you (probably) on food regs.
A food hygiene certificate is recommended although, as far as I know, not essential. The info you learn from that will form part of the council inspection. It's pretty basic stuff (temp of your fridge etc) but may be different to your recommendations in the USA so best check. The Food Standards Agency is the source of all this info here (think that's like your FDA?) and even if you don't do an official food hygiene cert, you need to be familiar with the FSA.
We are also of course members of the lovely EU so there are several EU laws we have to comply to. They are usually well covered by the FSA but there are things like allergens which are a nightmare.
insurance is advisable but, to the best of my knowledge, not a legal requirement. I find it terrifying but there you go.
Tax is a whole other ball game. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is our tax office. If you are selling cakes then you must be registered with them as self employed which will affect your tax code. There are a few ways to do it but most of us set up as 'sole traders'. How you want to form your company is a whole other discussion but, assuming you are a sole trader, you just pay tax on your business profit and have to complete a self-assessment tax return at the end of the year. What you pay will depend on your 'day job' income if you have one. I suggest you go and visit an accountant when you come here who will give you a run down of your options. Most will do a free hour if you register through a local business group.
Make friends with your local food inspector person. Mine at least is a really useful source of information and will help you with our food regs (or point you in the right direction).
Where are you looking to move to? Feel free to message me for any more info. I can't claim to be an accountant or tax advisor but have a pretty good handle on the general stuff :-D xx
What if you simply ask for donations instead of putting prices on them? Is there a regulation on that? I have had many Food Safety Certificates over the years Is there a link for the ones in the UK?