I’m running Mellis Berry out of my parents’ flat. I don’t own a home and I’m always on a move so their place is the best and most stable place for me to work. Plus European Union allows to run a food business out of your house. This and the idea of making gourmet honey products was enough for me to start.
Depending on the type of food you are planning to produce you either need to simply notify the health authority or you need a full accreditation. In most of the cases (if not all) when you are making food for sale in your apartment you just need to notify the authorities.
One of the first steps is to get medical certificate from your doctor stating that you have no deseases or parasites that could prevent you from preparing food for sale. This certificate is valid for 2 years and is easily obtainable from your local doctor. Next is the water quality certificate.
When taking the water sample you need to take off the head of the tap, heat the tap with direct flame in order to kill all the bacteria, then let the water run for a minute, fill in the special plastic container that you are required to get from the laboratory, and then within 2 hours hand over the samples to lab. I did follow all steps, however turned out that some parts of my tap were made of plastic even though it genuinely looked like metal. In a couple of seconds it was on fire. Think of it again – water tap is on fire! The plastic melted, the whole thing needs to be replaced, the water quality was perfect, parents just sighed.
Next in the list of requirements is to provide the water pipes and sewage plans of your house and how are these connected to the network. Although I am still unsure whether you need it for any business or just those operated in commercial estate (i.e. pubs, restaurants, bakeries, etc), or maybe when you live in a separate house. I had to get the plans for the block of flats. Luckily these are available in the city archive.
Finally you need to describe the process of how you are going to prepare the products. Everything from controlling quality of the purchased or harvested raw materials, to where and how these are going to be stored, processed, and sold. Everything should be accompanied with the schemas, arrows of food movements, temperatures, etc. For such a simple product like honey dessert it took me good two months and about 50 pages. In the end I was way over detailed, which is not bad, but I could have saved time.
Essentially these are the steps that you need to go through in order to start cooking commercially in your flat. It’s all easy when you know it. I could have done it now in a week or less. But half a year ago and with almost no documentation it was like studying rocket science.