Community and charity events

Information and guidance about food safety if you're planning a community or charity event.

If you're planning a charity or community event such as a street party, a school fair or fundraiser barbeque, it is important that you consider all the food safety implications to keep everyone as safe as you can.

Our 'Community and Charity Events' guidance document includes information and advice if you're planning one of these events. 

Providing food at a community or charity event

If you handle, prepare, store or serve food occasionally it's unlikely that you will need to register as a food business. You may need to register with your local authority as a food business if you provide food on a regular and organised basis. Please get in touch with your local authority food safety team for more information.

Food safety at community or charity events

Following the “4Cs” of food hygiene, cleaning, chilling, cooking and avoiding cross-contamination will help you prepare, make and store food safely. You can do this by:

  • Cleaning effectively to remove bacteria on hands, equipment and surfaces, helping to stop harmful bacteria from spreading onto food.
  • Chilling your food to stop or significantly slow the growth of bacteria. This temperature must be maintained and if you're putting out food for a party, don't leave it out for more than four hours.
  • Cooking food correctly - make sure you cook food for the correct length of time and at the right temperature.
  • Avoiding cross-contamination which might lead to bacteria passing from raw foods to ready-to-eat foods via things like knives and chopping boards.

Best practice for managing food safety

Practical tips to help you plan your event or to think about when you're attending a street party this summer include:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water before food preparation and consumption and always after handling raw meat/poultry.
  • Always wash fresh fruit and vegetables to remove any soil.
  • Keep raw and ready-to-eat foods apart.
  • Do not use food past its use-by date.
  • Always read any cooking instructions and make sure food is properly cooked before you serve it – it needs to be steaming hot.
  • Make sure that food preparation areas are cleaned and sanitised before and after use and equipment is washed in hot soapy water.
  • Plan ahead to keep your food cool until it’s time to eat. Any foods which you would usually keep in the fridge at home also need to be kept cool for your event. You can use a cool box or bag with ice, frozen gel packs or frozen drinks distributed evenly throughout to help keep your food cold.

Vulnerable groups

It is important to understand who you are serving because some people are more susceptible to getting food poisoning or becoming seriously unwell with it.

Vulnerable persons are those at a higher risk of food poisoning, usually because their immune system does not work so well. These include people who are pregnant, children under 5, elderly people and those with certain long-term medical conditions or on particular drug treatments.

Food allergens

Food allergens can't be removed by cooking, so it is important that they are managed carefully. It's best practice to provide a list of the allergens present in foods for those attending the event. This will allow everyone to make safe choices when choosing food to eat, particularly people with food allergies.

We have free online food allergy training that you might find useful.

More on this topic

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Online Allergy Training

Welcome to Food Standards Scotland online allergen training tool

Guidance

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A successful party is one you and your guests enjoy. Obviously, that means no food poisoning!