New year, new cookery school? Know the risks involved

If you want to or have turned your passion for food into a cookery school there are risks you need to consider and cover.

What can go wrong?

All kitchens carry hazards and in a commercial cookery school there are other issues that can occur:

  • Inexperienced clients dealing with sharp knives, hot surfaces, electricity, and natural gas.
  • Slips and trips from food or liquid spillages can easily occur. Especially when working with clients who are unfamiliar with the environment.
  • Poisoning could arise from eating food containing harmful bacteria or substances.
  • Foods can be cross-contaminated if stored or handled incorrectly.
  • Allergic reactions are caused by contact or consumption with foods like nuts, dairy products, or wheat.
  • Poorly maintained electrical equipment increases the risk of fires.
  • If you do not take reasonable care, you are also at risk of prosecution for failing to meet food safety standards.

What are the legal requirements?

When working with food in the UK you need to be aware of the following legislation:

  • The Food Safety Act 1990 (as amended)
  • The General Food Law Regulation (EC) 178/2002
  • Regulation (EC) 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs
  • The General Food Regulations 2004 (as amended)
  • The Food Information Regulations 2014

Importance of Insurance

Insurance is important for any business or individual, especially when you are providing a service for others. Whether you are a cookery school or a freelance chef you need to have a number of areas covered by your insurance. You are insuring against all risks to you, your premises, your clients, and the general public. Cookery School insurance from JMP is individually tailored to your needs but will include liability cover, poisoning & contamination, contents, property, equipment, and legal costs.

How can I reduce the risks in my business?

  • Register with your Local Authority as a Food Business Operator.
  • Attain a star rating under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (England, Northern Ireland and Wales) or a ‘pass’ in the Food Hygiene Information Scheme (Scotland only).
  • If you are working with a team, ensure that any staff in supervisory roles should have completed at least Level 2 (basic) food hygiene training.
  • It’s good practice to receive such training every three years. Display your certificate on your premises to reassure your students.
  • Adopt a food safety management system, such as HACCP. Alternatively, you can apply the principles of Food Safety via the use of Safer Food Better Business Pack.
  • If your location is a domestic premises you should not dispose of commercial catering waste with domestic waste. You can arrange a collection by a Registered Waste Carrier.
  • Your team and your clients need access to WC and hand washing facilities to maintain hygiene and welfare.
  • Provide easily cleanable surfaces to protect from contamination. Areas used for food preparation must be cleaned before and after use.
  • First aid boxes should be located close to your learning space and be fully stocked and easily accessible
  • Make sure any gas supplies, cookers, boilers, and appliances have been certified. For portable appliances, this is called a PAT and can be carried out by any competent professional.
  • When hosting classes that include early morning breakfasts or evening meals check there is sufficient lighting in preparation areas and client eating areas.

JMP Cookery School Insurance

Our specialist cookery school insurance cover is the first of its kind in the UK. Providing tailored cover specific to your needs, preventing gaps in insurance that could see you or your business in serious trouble. If you would like to make an enquiry or want to find out more about our cookery school insurance, please get in touch with our expert team today.