Bed & Breakfast

This guidance is aimed at small bed and breakfast businesses (2-4 bedrooms) providing a full cooked breakfast, typically run by the owner with no staff. Please note that this guidance refers to the minimum standards required for all premises offering bed and breakfast accommodation.

Food Business Registration

It may surprise you, but a bed and breakfast is considered a food business and you must register your B&B with the Local Authority where you wish to operate. You should register [PDF 11KB] 28 days before you intend to start operating.

Food Hygiene Inspection Overview

Once you have registered with the District Council, an Officer will arrange to visit your premises. This will be at a mutually convenient time and will usually take no longer than an hour. The visit will initially involve a discussion regarding the details of your business, to include the following;

  • Number of guests that you can accommodate
  • Type of food provided (e.g. full English breakfast, sandwiches, cooked evening meals)
  • Where food is purchased from
  • How food is stored and the storage temperature
  • How food is prepared and whether you have formal food hygiene training (this may not always be a legal requirement)
  • Cross contamination (bacteria from raw foods such as meat coming into contact with ready to eat foods, such as sandwiches)
  • Thorough cooking of foods and cooking temperatures
  • Cooling and reheating of foods (if applicable)
  • Pest control

Officers will also be looking at the structure of the work surfaces, walls, ceiling and floor. In general terms they must be in good repair and be capable of being kept clean. Officers will also look at how you are storing food in the refrigerator and ensure that the temperature is operating below the legal maximum, detailed below.

Written Requirements for Bed & Breakfasts

Food business operators also have to have a food safety management system in place. The food safety management system must be in writing, but how food business operators meet this requirement will depend on the size and the nature of the business. For example, a small bed and breakfast with three rooms doing only cooked breakfasts would require a very simple system. A larger establishment doing 3 meals a day would need a far more detailed system.

Please see our page on Safer Food Better Business (SFBB) for further information. The SFBB pack is generally aimed at larger, more high risk food premises, so parts of the pack will not apply to your business. Officers can advise you on whether the pack is relevant to your business at the time of your food hygiene inspection. You may wish to use a simplified food safety management system [Word 227 KB] and a daily check sheet [Word 42 KB], but this should be amended to suit your business and what you do.

Whether you choose to use the SFBB system or your own, you must remember to identify all the things that could go wrong in your business operation and how you can prevent them from happening.

If you are unsure if the safer Food Better Business pack is suitable for your business operation, or require any further advice, please contact us using the details below.

Cooking, handling and storing food

The following guidance is general information concerning bed and breakfast premises.

Your Kitchen

Your kitchen must be suitably designed to allow for safe working practices. In particular, to enable the separation of raw and ready to eat foods during food storage, preparation, and cooking. In general terms the structure of your kitchen must be sound. It must be capable of being cleaned effectively and kept clean. Most types of decor should be acceptable if they comply with this requirement.

In particular, the work surfaces should be smooth non absorbent and capable of effective cleaning, as must the walls, ceiling and floor. Carpet is not a suitable flooring in the kitchen. A sanitiser spray or disinfectant spray is ideal for killing any harmful bacteria on work surfaces. If the walls are papered this must be kept in good condition.

All other parts of the structure, must be maintained in a sound, clean condition, capable of easy and frequent cleaning and if necessary disinfection. The kitchen must be adequately lit (in order to check that food is adequately cooked and to see that it is clean). It should also have suitable ventilation, for example windows that can be opened.

There must be a deep sink with a constant supply of hot and cold water properly connected to the drainage system for the washing of equipment. Soap and a towel must be available at the sink. If you are preparing high risk food or cooking evening meals for your guests, a separate wash hand basin may be required in the kitchen.

If you have a private water supply such as a well, spring or borehole, please contact us to discuss this further. The water will need to be tested to ensure that it is safe to drink as you are supplying it to members of the public. Please see our pages on Private Water Supplies.

Equipment in Contact with Food

Any equipment that comes into contact with food, such as chopping boards and utensils must be clean and capable of being kept clean.

Food Handling Practices and Training

Personal hygiene must be of a high standard at all times. Regular hand washing must be undertaken especially before any food is handled. Always wash your hands before handling food and:

  • After going to the toilet
  • After handling rubbish
  • After touching uncooked meat
  • After handling or feeding pets
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

We would recommend the use of a liquid anti bacterial soap.

Clean clothing and a clean apron must be worn when handling food, to ensure that it is not contaminated. Use single use clothes wherever possible. If you use reusable cloths then always use a new or clean cloth to clean surfaces or utensils that will be used for ready to eat foods. If a cloth is used for uncooked meat or eggs it should removed for washing. Wash or disinfect cloths and fabric hand towels every day either on a hot cycle in the washing machine or by hand using a disinfectant and hot water.

Many bed & breakfast business owners have benefited from food hygiene training such as the Charted Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering. Whilst it may not be a legal requirement to attend the course, you must be aware of and understand the basic principles of food hygiene and safe handling of food. Please see our page on Food Hygiene Training.

Food Storage

Any raw food (such as raw meat and raw chicken) should be stored in the bottom of your refrigerator to prevent cross contamination. All foods should be kept covered and no food should be stored in open tins (always decant into a suitable lidded container).

The legal requirement is that 'high risk' foods (such as cooked meat and ready to eat foods, such as sandwiches) must be kept at or below 8°C. Ideally at a temperature of between 3°C to 5°C. The recommended operating temperature for a freezer is minus 18 to minus 21°C, and the freezer unit should be defrosted on a regular basis. Manufacturer's star ratings guidance on storage times must be adhered to.

Cooking and preparation of Foods

All foods should be thoroughly cooked and steaming hot. Visual checks can be undertaken to ensure that there are no pink bits and that juices run clear. You must prepare uncooked and ready to eat foods separately. Do not use the same chopping board, work surface or knives unless they have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between the different foods.

General Requirements

  • If your washing machine or tumble dryer is located in your kitchen ensure that washing is undertaken at a different time to food preparation. Ensure that work surfaces are thoroughly cleaned before food preparation and that dirty laundry is not stored in the kitchen area.
  • Pets should not be allowed in the kitchen area when food preparation is being undertaken. If you do have pets all work surfaces must be cleaned and sanitised / disinfected prior to food preparation.
  • If you have been suffering from sickness and or diarrhoea (including the last 48 hours after the last bout of illness) you must not prepare or cook food for your guests.
  • It is recommended that eggs are stored in the refrigerator. The safest method of defrosting food is in the refrigerator.
  • Effective cleaning must be carried out and it is recommended that a food safe sanitiser / disinfectant is used on food preparation surfaces.
  • You must make sure that the state of repair of your property prevents access by pests into your kitchen. Keep lids on internal and external bins, and ensure bins are washed out regularly.
  • If you see any signs of pests immediate action must be taken to eradicate them and you must throw away any food that they come into contact with. If you think you have an infestation of pests seek professional advice.