Legal requirements - Food Hygiene Regulations

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The Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 and Food Act 2014 require food premises to obtain a Certificate of Registration before food can be prepared or manufactured for public sale.  It is an offence to operate a food premises without a current registration certificate.

The Certificate of Registration will only be issued when the premises complies with the standards set down in the Act and/or Regulations. This will be determined through inspections and audits carried out by our District Environmental Health Officers.

We would also recommend that every food premise also have a manager or staff member responsible for training who has a recognized qualification in Food Hygiene. 

Registration requirements are set out in the Food Regulations First Schedule of the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974. 

A full copy of the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 is available to read here.

Eating Houses

If your premise is to contain seats for the consumption of food on the premises there are some special regulations to consider. 

The provision of a commercial dishwasher for cleaning dishes, the protection of displayed food for sale and the provision of sufficient kitchen floor space are three important requirements. 

For further clarification seek the advice of your environmental Health Officer. 

In addition to staff toilets, provision of toilets for male and female patrons may be necessary and if your building is accessible to paraplegics, toilet facilities for them will also be a requirement.  The number of sanitary fixtures will depend on the proposed seating capacity of the premises.

As eating houses are defined as a place of assembly, certain fire safety requirements will need to be addressed.

Please contact us to talk to a Building Control officer if you have any questions, or visit our building consent webpage.

Sale of Alcohol

If you intend to sell alcohol on your premises or have patrons bring alcohol for consumption on the premises while dining, you will need to apply for an On-Licence a requirement of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. 

For further information please visit our alcohol licensing web pages.

Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990

This Act requires all restaurants to be smoke-free.  The occupier is legally required to ensure that smoking does not occur in any part of the restaurant that is not an open area.

Summary of the Food Regulations

First Schedule Food Hygiene Regulations 1974


  • The premises need to be well constructed, in good repair and as far as practicable, offer no entrance or habitat for rodents.


  • Floors need to be solid and resistant to water and easily cleaned, adequately graded and drained, with all angles between floor and wells rounded off to a height of not less than 75mm from the floor, or
  • Wooden floors to be on a firm foundation, tightly cramped and with all angles between floor and walls rounded, or
  • Shall be either (a) or (b) and covered with a smooth surfaced material.

NOTE: The materials of the floor shall be suited to the work or process carried out in the premises.


  • Internal surfaces must be dust proof, smooth, and non-absorbent easily cleaned. 
  • Walls wetted or fouled shall be impervious (solid - like a metal backing) to a height of not less than two meters from the floor level. 
  • Minimum height for internal walls must be 2.40 meters. 
  • Internal surface walls need to be painted or treated


  • Ceilings or undersides of roof, and supports need to be smooth, and dust proof, and permit easy cleaning. 
  • Trusses need to be enclosed. 
  • Food rooms and washing up areas need to have a smooth even surface, non-absorbent and light in colour.


  • Lighting must be sufficient for worker comfort and ease of cleaning. 
  • Food and wash up rooms to have minimum illumination of 215 lux, 900mm above floor level. 
  • Lighting must be free from glare or shadow.


  • Ventilation is necessary to maintain comfortable conditions. 
  • Ventilation must be sufficient to prevent premises being excessively heated, to prevent condensation and to remove objectionable odours. 
  • If natural ventilation is not satisfactory, mechanical ventilation will be required over cooking equipment.
  • Discharges from cooking equipment are not to cause a nuisance.


  • Space must be sufficient for staff working and allow for easy access for cleaning where customers have access,
  • There must be sufficient area to prevent workers and customers from contaminating food.  Generally 3m2 clear floor area per worker is required.

Changing Facilities

  • Locker must be provided for staff. 
  • Where more than four persons are working separate changing rooms to be provided separated for each sex.

Toilet Accomodation

  • Toilets must be in sufficient for numbers of staff, convenient, clean.

Wash-Hand Basins

  • There must be 1 basin for first 10 persons on the premises, and one extra basin for every 10 or part of 10 
  • They must be convenient to place of work.
  • Wash hand basins must have a continuous supply of hot and cold water and be provided with liquid soap, nail brush and single-service towels (paper, mechanical or similar not conventional towels).

Water Supply

  • There must be adequate supply of clean wholesome water.

Hot Water Supply

  • There must be sufficient hot water at 63oC at all sinks and other appliances and a temperature of 83oC for every other purpose. 
  • Wash-hand basins may have tempered water at 38oC.


  • There must be a provision for sinks, sanitary fixtures and other appliances, of a sufficient size and capacity to ensure the equipment can be easily and properly cleaned.

Wastewater Disposal

  • Sewerage must be drained in accordance with the Building Act 199, including a grease trap for eating house premises. See the Trade waste Bylaw Project for information relating to changes in commercial and industrial waste water charges.


  • Yards and outside working areas are to be paved with an impervious washable surface and provided with drainage.
  • If no yard is provided, a separate room or enclosure is required for the storage of refuse containers.

For advice during development or if future alterations are planned, be sure to consult with one of our Environmental Health Officers who are always available for discussion and advice.