This page provides helpful information for childminders who use their own homes to look after children. If as part of your role as a child minder you provide food to the child in your care, this information will be of particular interest.
As a childminder you are no longer required to register separately with Uttlesford District Council as a "food business operator" as the information you provide when registering with Ofsted will now be used to satisfy both purposes.This only applies for registrations made on or after 1 January 2014and is part of the government's commitment to reduce the burden on business.
There will be no change in the way we view you as a food business and you will still receive advice and assistance from Environmental Health and may be subject to a periodic food hygiene assessment or inspection. If your childminder business does need an inspection, a food safety officer will contact you to arrange a suitable time to visit. The officer will talk about food hygiene and food safety to help make sure the food you give to any children is prepared, stored and handled safely.
(This advice is aimed solely at child-minders within their own domestic home and is not intended for nannies, home child-minders, nurseries, care homes or schools.)
Preparing, storing and handling food
If you are a childminder that provides food as part of your normal childminding service you are responsible under food law for ensuring that food is prepared, stored and handled in compliance with the food hygiene regulations. This includes keeping a record of actions carried out to keep food safe. The Food Standards Agency has produced a special pack:
Higher risk activities
If you are carrying out higher risk food activities as part of your childminder service, we advise you to contact us for further advice about those activities. Higher risk activities might include:
- providing a large number of meals per day as part of your normal childminding service
- producing certain homemade foods such as baby food or sous-vide cooking
- producing your own meals for chilled storage and reheating
- certain storage activities - for example: vacuum packing or making and then canning or jarring homemade chutneys, flavoured oils and other products
Food Hygiene Courses
Food hygiene courses are available through Uttlesford District Council. However, there is no requirement for food handlers to attend formal courses or to acquire food hygiene qualifications. It is important however, that food handlers have sufficient knowledge to prepare and supply food that is safe to eat.
For further information on this or any other food safety matter, contact Environmental Health Administrator, Lesley Johnston:
Tel: 01799 510483
Email: Lesley Johnston
Helpful food hygiene and safety tips
These should be kept out of food preparation areas due to the risk of cross-contamination - this can happen when harmful bacteria are spread onto food from other food surfaces, hands or equipment. You will want to show that where pets can gain access to food preparation areas, procedures are in place to adequately wash and disinfect work surfaces and cooking utensils before any food handling or preparation takes place.
Baby changing facilities
These should also be kept away from food preparation areas. Soiled nappies should not be brought into food preparation areas and should never be placed on work surfaces. If baby changing facilities are needed, you will need to show that you have adequate controls in place to make sure food preparation areas are not contaminated and that effective cleaning and disinfection procedures are in place.
Ideally, laundry facilities should be separate from food preparation areas but this may not be practical in many domestic environments. Where separate facilities are not available, it will be necessary to demonstrate that laundry is not carried out at the same time as food preparation and measures are in place to ensure that detergents and soiled clothing do not come into direct contact with food, work surfaces or cooking utensils. Also, you should ensure that procedures are in place to adequately wash and disinfect work surfaces and cooking utensils before any food preparation takes place.
Your hands can easily spread bacteria around the kitchen and onto food. It is important to always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water at each of these times:
- before starting to prepare or handle food
- after touching raw food, especially meat/poultry, fish, eggs and unwashed fruit and vegetables
- after using the toilet or changing nappies
- after touching the bin or laundry
- after blowing your nose
- after touching pets, phones, light switches, door handles and cash registers
Food allergens pose a significant risk to consumers with allergic conditions, which may even be life threatening. Children are particularly vulnerable because of their reduced level of control over the foods they eat.
As a childminder, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have allergen information to provide for the food you serve and that this is accurate, consistent and verifiable. Remember to check the ingredients list of foods you use to make sure allergen information is correct, to avoid triggering an allergic reaction. The provision of allergen information concerns any foods bought from a shop and unpackaged foods including home-cooked meals. This allergen information should be easily accessible and readily available to any children in your care, or their parents.
There are 14 allergens currently listed under food law that you must declare. These are:
- cereals containing gluten, eg wheat (including spelt and khorasan), rye, barley and oats and their hybridised strains
- crustaceans, eg prawns, crab and lobster
- nuts, eg almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio, cashew, macadamia nuts or Queensland nuts
- celery (including celeriac)
- sulphur dioxide/sulphites (preservatives used in some foods and drinks) at levels above 10mg per kg or per litre
- molluscs, eg clams, mussels, whelks oysters, snails and squid
Further information on allergen legislation and FSA advice can be found on the