Safety guidance for event organisers and traders

These notes are intended as a practical guide for those responsible for catering operations, running food businesses, stalls or exhibition stands. The notes are an interpretation of the requirements of the relevant legislation. If you have any queries or you disagree you should contact the council before the event to discuss your concerns.

Food safety

Note that you will be required to show your Food Safety Management System (HACCP) to the council before you can trade. Also, you will need to be registered by the council in which area you are normally based. If you are unclear about these requirements you should seek advice from your local environmental health officer.


In all kitchen areas, food preparation areas, bars, food serveries, mobile vans and stalls the floor must be level, clean, washable and non-slip. 


The internal structure of the kitchens, food preparation rooms, food serveries, mobile vans and stalls must be washable. If food is to be prepared next to tent walls, ideally the walls should be lined with polythene sheets so they can be cleaned easily.

Sink provision

Sinks are required for washing up and for food preparation. They should be supplied with controllable hot and cold water. These sinks must be large enough to wash up large pieces of equipment. All exterior wash up sinks must be protected from the weather. Separate food preparation sinks may be needed in addition to wash up sinks. If this is not practicable, large clean plastic bowls must be provided for vegetable washing. Drying facilities will also be needed.

Hand washing

A separate basin must be conveniently accessible with a controllable supply of hot and cold water, soap and towels. Disposable paper towels are recommended and a suitable refuse bin should be provided. If a purpose-built sink cannot be provided then clean plastic bowls can be used provided that hot and cold water is made available. A large, clear notice reminding food handlers to wash their hands must be displayed.

Protective clothing

Those engaged in the handling of open food must wear clean and washable protective clothing. These must be changed as necessary. Outdoor clothing and footwear must be stored away from food preparation areas. Long hair should be tied up or covered by a hairnet or hat.

Water supply

Clean and wholesome water must be available at each food stall. Ensure that all water containers are cleaned both inside and out. A chlorine-based steriliser, e.g. ‘Milton’ should be used.


Arrangements must be made for the drainage of waste water from the sinks/wash hand basins and drained directly into the site sewage system wherever possible.

Lighting and power supply

Arrangements should be made for the provision of artificial lighting, together with sufficient electric power socket outlets for refrigerators, freezers etc.  (See electrical provisions under ‘Health & Safety’)

Temperature control

Chilled storage (e.g. in a refrigerator or cool box)

Under the regulations you are required to keep chilled high-risk foods at a temperature of 8ºC or below.  Check that all such food arrives on site below 8 ºC, and remains there, by checking regularly throughout the day. It is good practice to keep a log of temperature readings.  High-risk foods must NEVER be stored overnight at room temperature on food stalls, in pavilions or stored in the back of un-refrigerated vehicles. Once frozen food has thawed it must be used, refrigerated or discarded but not refrozen.

Cooking or reheating

High-risk food must be cooked or reheated thoroughly to kill any microbes in the food. Check regularly throughout the day that the food is being cooked through. It is best practice to cook or reheat food to a core temperature of at least 75ºC for 30 seconds (or 70ºc for 2 minutes) and to keep a log of temperature readings. Ensure that any probe thermometer is sanitised before and after use.

Hot holding

High-risk hot food must, by law, be held at or above 63ºC. Use a thermometer to check regularly throughout the day that the food is being held above 63ºC. It is good practice to keep a log of temperature readings. In some circumstances, it is permitted to hold the food below this temperature for a maximum period of 2 hours. You must have a system in place to track and demonstrate how you are applying this rule.

Protection against contamination

All open food that you have on display must be kept covered or protected by screens. Food awaiting cooking must also be kept covered wherever possible to discourage flies and wasps. Raw and cooked food must always be kept apart.


Food stored or displayed for sale should not be placed directly on to the ground. Store packet goods in pest - proof containers. Do not store food outside, in direct sunlight or where it may get wet or damp.


All equipment must be kept clean, safe and in good repair.


Equipment and work surfaces must be regularly cleaned and sanitised. You are recommended to draw up a cleaning schedule, itemising equipment and areas which require cleaning, frequency, the products and who should do it.

Delivery vehicles

Only vehicles which have been purpose designed or suitably adapted in accordance with the Regulations may be used for the transport, storage or delivery of food.

Refuse storage

Bins with close fitting lids must be provided for the temporary storage of waste. Refuse must be removed from the food stall as often as needed in sealed bags and stored tidily to await collection or removal.

Food allergens

You are required to:

  • provide allergen information to the consumer for both prepacked and non-prepacked (open) food and drink,
  • handle and manage food allergens to prevent cross-contamination in food preparation.

Food businesses must make sure that staff receive training on allergens. Free training on food allergens can be found at: .

14 Allergens

Food businesses need to tell customers if any food they provide contain any of the listed 14 allergens as an ingredient.

The 14 allergens are: celery, cereals containing gluten (such as wheat, barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters), eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs (such as mussels and oysters), mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites and tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts).

Prepacked food

Prepacked food items refer to any food put into packaging before being placed on sale, whether you have packed it yourself or bought it already packed. Examples include: canned drinks; pre-boxed desserts; wrapped sandwiches; ice lollies etc. 

Prepacked food must have a full ingredients list present on the packaging. Allergens present in the product must be emphasised each time they appear in the ingredients list.

Non-prepacked (open) foods

If you sell open (non-prepacked) foods, you must supply allergen information for every item that contains any of the 14 allergens. Examples include: plated hot meals; a burger put into a box after the customer selects it; paninis that have been removed from a wrapper before service; ketchup that the customer puts on their food etc.

You must provide allergen information in writing. You have two options for how to provide this information. Either:

  1. listing the allergens up front (without the customer having to ask) on a menu, chalkboard or label placed by the food. Or,
  2. displaying a written sign in a clearly visible position, explaining how your customers can obtain this information*, and

Ensuring staff have access to accurate information about allergens in the food so that they can answer the customer’s questions. One way of keeping allergen information for all the food items you offer is to complete an Allergen Matrix where downloadable resources and more information and can be accessed.


If you have 250 or more staff you must provide calorie information for non-prepacked food or drink which is suitable for immediate consumption.

The following information must be displayed prominently and clearly at the point of choice:

  • The energy content of the food in kilocalories (Kcal).
  • The size of the portion to which the calories information relates.
  • A statement of daily calories needs, i.e. “Adults need around 2,000 Kcal a day”.

Where food is on display, it must be set out on a label next to, or close to each item of food and in a way that the label can be read easily.

The statement of daily calories must be displayed on each page of a menu or prominently at the point of choice if there is no menu.

Calorie labelling in the out of home sector: implementation guidance (

Health and safety

Your health and safety at work responsibilities to your employees, members of the public and any others affected by your work activity are the same at a temporary event as they would be at any permanent premises. You have a duty to carry out general workplace risk assessments as well as more specific assessments in relation to the control of chemicals hazardous to health (COSHH), manual handling and young people at work.

The following work activities cause the most accidents at outdoor events and you must consider whether you can avoid the activity and if not whether you have appropriate equipment to do the job and that your employees are properly trained: -

  • Working at height: who is to put up the stall? Will ladders be used? Are they suitable for the task?
  • Transport issues: how will deliveries be managed? Are vehicles suitable and drivers competent? Can reversing be avoided? Are there restrictions on times of deliveries to protect the public?
  • Manual handling: Can manual handling be avoided? Do you have handling aids available? Do staff know how to use them?
  • Slips, trips and falls: are floor coverings in good condition and kept clean? Are walkways kept clear? Is the Iighting adequate at night? Do you clean up spillages straightaway? What footwear do staff have?

In addition, you must comply with any health and safety requirements imposed on you by the event organisers under their event safety management plan.

You must also take account of the following specific points:

First aid kit

Each stall stand or catering unit should be provided with a fully stocked first aid kit including bandages and waterproof dressings (blue coloured plasters are required for food handlers). Someone needs to take responsibility for taking charge in the event of an accident.

Guarding of machinery

Operators shall ensure that all machinery used for cutting, slicing, mincing etc is properly guarded to prevent injury to personnel.

  • All persons operating such machinery shall be trained and instructed in its proper use.
  • No person under the age of 18 years shall be allowed to clean such a machine.
  • Suitable clear and precise notices must be displayed in the vicinity of the machine working area with a statement to the effect.
  • ‘Guards to be fixed in position before operation of the machine’ No person under the age of 18 years is allowed to clean this machine’.        

Carbon Dioxide cylinders

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) cylinders must be securely restrained vertically when connected to beer dispensing equipment.


  1. Restraint may be in the form of straps, chains or by mobile cylinder support.
  2. Full cylinders not in use and empty cylinders, should be either securely restrained vertically or alternatively if laid on the floor, they should be securely wedged to prevent rolling.

Safe use of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG)

LPG, i.e. Propane or Butane, is potentially dangerous.

When using  LPG in cylinders you should ensure that:-          

  1. LPG Cylinders must be stored and connected OUTSIDE of tents and marquees (for mobile vans see item 6).
  2. Cylinders stand with the valve uppermost (unless specifically designed to be stored otherwise).
  3. The maximum quantity of LPG in cylinders on any stand, including LPG connected to appliances or equipment should not exceed a day’s supply. If it is proposed to use or store greater quantities then prior discussion and agreement with the Event Organisers should take place.
  4. The change over procedure when coupling to appliances should be properly understood and staff properly instructed and supervised. So called “empty” cylinders still contain gas and therefore should be carefully handled. The “empty” cylinders should be stored in the open air with the shut off valve in the closed position.
  5. Fixed piping is to be used where possible. However, if flexible tubing is used, it should be suitable for its purpose, e.g. to the appropriate British Standard and if necessary, provided with mechanical protection to minimise damage. Tubing should be crimped or secured by a suitable hose clip (not a worm driven , or similar and be gas tight. When not required, gas supplies should be isolated at the cylinder as well as at the appliance.
  6. Propane cylinders may be used to supply gas to frying and catering appliances in mobiles providing that the cylinders and regulators are situated in a separate ventilated and fire resistant (not less than 30 minutes fire resistance) compartment having access from outside the vehicle. The cylinders must be fitted in the vertical position with the valve uppermost and must be fastened securely to prevent movement during transit. Service and reserve cylinders should preferably be connected through an automatic changeover device in order that the reserve cylinder can automatically come into operation when the service cylinder has been exhausted.
  7. It is important that all barbecues and grills are screened to prevent the public and staff being burnt by them. Please ensure all your gas operated equipment has been checked by a competent Gas Safe Registered gas fitter and certified safe.  You should bring copies of inspection documentation to the event so it is available if required.

Electrical safety

All electrical installations and equipment must comply with the general requirements of The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and be protected from exposure to the weather. Cable runs over the surface of the ground must if possible be avoided but if used must be protected by rubber mats or ramps to avoid damage and be suitably marked to avoid tripping hazards. Any portable appliances used must be maintained correctly and subject to regular inspection and testing. All electrical connections and adaptations should be made by a competent electrician, in accordance with the IEE Wiring Regulations (17th Edition).

Fire fighting equipment

Stalls cooking food – 4kg dry powder or four litres of foam. If deep fat frying is taking place, it is recommended that you fit a flame failure device and also a suitable fire blanket

  • Stalls with generators/electrical equipment – 4kg dry powder or Carbon Dioxide CO2.
  • Stalls not cooking food – 4.5 litres of water.

 Further advice on fire safety is available from your local fire prevention officer.

Fire risk assessment

If staff are employed on the stall then you must carry out a fire risk assessment. If you employ five or more people then the risk assessment must be written down.

Further advice should be sought from your fire prevention officer before you leave for the event.


If you plan to have any form of entertainment be it live and/or amplified, you may be required to produce a noise management plan. You are strongly advised to seek guidance from the council’s Environmental Protection team and refer to the Environmental Act 1990.

Collections/deliveries and build

Any deliveries to site in relation to the event shall be during hours agreed with the environmental protection team.

Trading standards

Display a thorough price list usually within a minimum of thirty items representative of the range of food and drink you sell. Remember if you also sell food to be taken away (cans of drinks, sweets, etc) please show their price.


For any event on the public highway the organiser must contact the council’s special events project manager who will judge the impact on the highway and decide what action, if any, is needed. The site meeting must take place at least six weeks before the event to allow sufficient time for Traffic Regulation Orders should they be necessary for instance for road closures or parking suspensions. Depending on the type of event a cost might be involved which must be met by the organisers.

Food safety checklist for mobile food traders at events

Before the event ensure that you have read through the full guidance. Below is a basic checklist for the day.

Checklist for mobile food traders at events (pdf)

For further advice contact

Environment Department, Town Hall, King Street, Hammersmith, W6 9JU

020 8753 1081

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