Food safety is very important for childminders because children are a vulnerable group. This means children can be more seriously affected by food poisoning and food allergy than some other groups of people.

This guidance is aimed solely at registered childminders in domestic premises and is not intended for nannies and home child carers or care operating from non-domestic premises such as nurseries, care homes and schools.

Registering as a Food Business in Scotland

If you are planning to start up a childminding business that provides food as part of your childminding service you may need to register with your Scottish Local Authority, depending on the food services you provide.

The Legal Requirements for Registered Childminders in Domestic Premises Operating as a Food business guidance should help you understand whether you need to register as a food business.

After being registered as a food business your Local Authority Environmental health team may carry out a food safety inspection.  They are responsible for food safety in your local area. 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.

Allergen Information

From 13 December 2014, all food businesses, including childminders will need to provide allergen information on the foods they sell or provide. 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 can provide allergen information for the food you serve and that this 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 non-prepacked foods including home-cooked meals. This allergen information should be easily accessible and readily available to parents, who leave or may leave children in your care, and any children in your care who can make their own informed food choices.

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
  • eggs
  • fish
  • peanuts
  • soybeans
  • milk
  • nuts, eg almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio, cashew, macadamia nuts or Queensland nuts
  • celery (including celeriac)
  • mustard
  • sesame
  • sulphur dioxide/sulphites (preservatives used in some foods and drinks) at levels above 10mg per kg or per litre
  • lupin
  • molluscs, eg clams, mussels, whelks oysters, snails and squid

Further information on allergen legislation and advice can be found in Childminders in Scotland- Allergen Information

More informations on Food Allergy can be found on our Food Allergy page.

Find your Local Authority Environmental Health team

Further information

Safer Food, Better Business

A 'Safer food, better business' (SFBB) pack has been developed especially for childminders. The pack gives simple, straightforward advice on food safety, including information on feeding babies and children, cooking, cleaning, chilling and looking after a child with a food allergy.

You can download the pack from

Related Publications/Resources