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Food hygiene requirements for stallholders

The following guidance has been designed and distributed to assist market stall holders in complying with the law and to promote best practice. We hope it will be a ready source of reference and would encourage you to keep it with you on your market stalls. You will find a 'definitions' section at the end to clarify certain terms.

Transporting your food

  • All equipment used for transporting food should be made of smooth, non-absorbent and cleansable materials and be maintained in a clean condition.
  • This includes all vehicles used.
  • Temperature control of high-risk foods must be maintained during transport.

Setting up your stall

  • The entire stall, construction, fabric and surfaces should be made of cleansable materials, kept clean and maintained in good repair.
  • The stall should be sited and facilities provided to protect food from contamination and hazards associated with sun, rain and wind.
  • The stall must be safely secured so that it is stable in windy conditions.

Food and hand contact surfaces

  • Surfaces that come into contact with food or hands must be made of smooth, non-absorbent and cleansable materials.
  • A supply of potable hot and cold water, stored in a sealed container, must be provided to enable effective sanitising of equipment and surfaces at all times.
  • Hygiene wipes are not considered adequate for sanitising these surfaces.

Personal hygiene

  • Appropriate clean protective clothing should be worn if you are selling open foods. A clean apron would normally be adequate.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before handling any food.
  • If you have or have been suffering from food poisoning symptoms you should not handle open food until you have been symptom free for 48 hours.
  • Spots, cuts and sores should be covered with a brightly coloured, waterproof plaster.

Hand washing

  • Where any open food is being handled, hand wash basins with hot and cold or mixed water should be provided exclusively for hand washing and be easily accessible. A bowl and a flask of hot water may be adequate, but this should be clarified by your Environmental Health Officer as it would depend on the scale of your operation.
  • Water for hand washing should be replaced frequently to ensure it is clean. The facilities should be set up before food is handled to ensure effective hand washing is taking place.
  • The use of plastic gloves is only permitted if they are changed regularly and hands are washed in between.
  • A supply of liquid, antibacterial soap and drying facilities should be available.
  • Hand gel alone is not considered adequate to keep hands clean when handling any open food. Ideally open food should be handled with tongs or other utensils.

Cold storage and display

  • Food must be displayed and stored as directed by the manufacturer.
  • All chilled high-risk foods must be kept at 8°C or below at all times.
  • The temperature of chilled high-risk foods should be monitored to ensure that the temperature throughout the food is at 8oC or below.
  • Cool boxes will need sufficient cool packs to ensure the food is kept at the correct temperature.
  • Displaying food on ice is only satisfactory if you can prove or demonstrate that the temperature throughout the food being displayed is at 8°C or below.
  • There is an exception of 1 period of up to 4 hours after which the food should be disposed of or kept under refrigeration until sold within its safe life.


  • When cooking foods you should ensure they are cooked thoroughly and served hot. This should be monitored by either using a calibrated temperature probe to a temperature above 75oC or by visual checks e.g. checking the centre of meat is not pink.

Hot holding food

  • Food being held hot should be kept above 63°C. This should be monitored regularly and accurately.
  • Heated food that falls below 63°C must be consumed within 2 hours.


  • Equipment used for the preparation, display and service of tasters must be used and maintained in a clean and hygienic manner.
  • Hand washing should be carried out as detailed in this guidance.
  • Tasters should be offered as individual portions to prevent contamination by the public e.g. use of cocktail sticks or individual containers.


  • All businesses selling food must be registered with the local authority in which it is based. This is where the equipment and foodstuffs are kept overnight.
  • If you are based within the Chichester District, registration forms can be found on our Registering and inspecting your food business web page.

Food safety management systems

  • Food stalls preparing or cooking food for sale or selling temperature sensitive foods must have a food safety management system, for example, the relevant Safer Food Better Business pack or HACCP.
  • This should be fully implemented to include the hazards and controls relating to your activities specifically carried out at the market. This must be available for inspection at all times.
  • If you need advice on which system is best for you please contact us at or 01243 534602.


  • You and your staff should be adequately trained to ensure the safety of the food. You will be expected to demonstrate adequate knowledge of food safety practises relating to your operation. Evidence of training should be available.
  • The current Food Standards Agency guidance is that handlers of open, high risk food should be trained to CIEH Level 2 standard or equivalent. Information on training carried out at Chichester District Council can be found on our Food safety training web page.


  • During storage and display, food should be protected from pests. This may necessitate the use of covers against flying insects and storage off of the ground in solid sided containers to prevent crawling insects and vermin.


  • Suitable hygienic facilities for the storage and removal of waste must be provided.
  • You must not dispose of waste in the public waste bins.


For guidance on labelling requirements please contact your local Trading Standards Department at West Sussex County Council (opens new window).


Open foodAny raw or cooked food that is not wrapped or packaged for sale before being transported to the market. This includes all pastry products, cakes, breads, raw meat, vegetables and foods being prepared for tasters or for sale that are displayed unwrapped.
High-risk foodFoods that are ready-to-eat and/or require temperature control.
ContaminationThe presence of anything that could cause harm in food. Bacterial i.e, germs from coughing, chemical i.e., cleaning products, physical i.e. hair, insects or environmental such as dust and dirt.
SanitisingEffective cleaning and killing of bacteria to safe levels. This would require washing with hot soapy water to remove food debris and dirt followed by chemical sanitiser/antibacterial spray and wiping with a disposable cloth.
  • Legislation consulted. Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 and The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013
  • Guidance consulted. Industry guide to good food hygiene practice: Markets and Fairs Guide. 1995

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