Starting a Food Business by the FSAI

Bord Bia’s Consumer Foods and Small Business teams have been merged to create a new Food & Beverages Division.

The Vantage Suite of Services for Small Business clients will be maintained within the new division. Client responsibilities have been allocated by sector and the sector responsibilities are outlined in the table below. The E-mail address is as follows:

Details about the range of services for Small Business clients can be found on the Vantage Website at These services are open to all food and drink producers which have reached a stage, where they have a product in place and a business plan underway. Start ups can of course use the on-line facility and our information department.

The mentoring programme is part of a Brand Forum programme.

  • Work with Irish food and drink companies to develop and grow their brands with inspiring brand speakers, practical workshops and 1-2-1 mentoring
  • There are six events throughout the year which provide inspiration and networking opportunities for brands. Industry and academic experts share their views on building better brands.
  • A series of workshops are provided on themes such as social media and, PR, along with two days of mentoring on how to develop their brand. In 2011 there were over 80 member companies in the programme
  • Cost is €250 for companies with a turnover of less than €2.5m, and €500 for companies with a turnover greater than €2.5m


Good food safety and hygiene practices are an essential component of any food business in order to protect the consumers' health. Primary responsibility for food safety rests with the food business operator.

This information is also applicable to food business operators intending to operate their food business from home. You can find more information in our factsheet

Starting a Food Business in the Home

3 Steps to your New Food Business:

1. Know the Legislation

All food business operators (FBO) must now comply with hygiene of foodstuffs legislation, Regulation 852/2004/EC. This legislation lays down rules for FBOs on the hygiene of foodstuffs, including temperature control, HACCP, equipment, transport, waste, personal hygiene and training.

FBO dealing with foods of animal origin must also comply with Regulation 853/2004/EC which sets out specific hygiene rules for these types of products.

FBO must also comply with legislation on general food law, Regulation 178/2002/EC, which requires all food businesses to have a traceability system in place. FBO must be able to identify who they have received food from and who they have supplied it to (except for those businesses supplying the final consumer). FBO must not place unsafe food on the market.

Additional legislation may be required depending on the category of business. See more information on food legislation.

2. Register Business with the Competent Authority

FBO must register with a competent authority (see below) before commencing trade. Failure to do so is an offence. The competent authority will depend on the nature of the business and whether foods of animal origin e.g. meat, poultry, fish etc. are handled or processed.

If your business handles and/or processes foods of animal origin you may need approval from the competent authority. Details of the approval process are available from the competent authority.

Businesses requiring approval must be approved before commencing trade. It is advisable to contact your competent authority for advice at the earliest stage of your business development. Approval takes into account plans, premises, waste management, processes, HACCP, products and throughput among other things.

Competent Authorities for Registration and Approval of Food Businesses:

  • Health Service Executive (HSE)

Typically, the HSE inspects businesses like restaurants, delis, retailers, mobile food businesses and food stalls and some manufacturing premises. Contact your local HSE office for further information.

Find contact details for your local HSE office

NB: You should contact the HSE at the earliest possible stage if you are thinking of starting a food business - Read more

  • Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF)

Typically, DAFF inspects establishments involved in animal slaughter and handling and/or processing meat, dairy products, eggs etc.

LoCall: 1890 200510 Tel: 01 6072000

  • Local Authority Veterinary Inspector

Typically, the local authority veterinary inspector inspects establishments ivolved in animal slaughter and handling and/or processing meat, dairy products, eggs etc.. Contact your local authority for more information (contact details available from our Advice-Line 1890 336677).

  • Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA)

Typically, the SFPA inspects establishments handling and/or processing fish and fishery products and products of aquaculture.

Tel: 021 4515100

If you are unsure which competent authority you should contact you can phone our advice-line on 1890 336677 for assistance.

3. Obtain a copy of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) guides to good practice

These guides provide guidance on complying with the food hygiene legislation and are an invaluable resource for food businesses:

I.S. 340:2007 – Hygiene in the Catering Sector

I.S. 341:2007 - Hygiene in Food Retailing and Wholesaling

I.S. 22000:2005 - Food Safety Management Systems - Requirements for any Organisation in the Food Chain

For more information, or to purchase guides, call the NSAI on (01) 8576730 / 8576731 or visit their website at