Food Safety Management Systems

What does this mean in practice?

As indicated above, all food businesses have to manage food safety effectively but the extent of documentation of that system varies greatly. For example very low risk businesses such as sweetshops or green grocers may not need any documentation at all. They could comply with the requirement by just relying on the relevant guide/s to good hygiene practice and applying their requirements.

The majority of food businesses will however need to have some degree of documented management system to ensure that safe food is supplied and the Food Standards Agency has developed a number of standard packs which help food businesses develop a food safety management system that is applicable to their business.

As the risks associated with a particular business increases, the need for documentation of their food safety management system and the necessity for keeping records will increase.

The first of the Food Standards Agency's packs is aimed at the simpler, more straightforward end of the food supply chain, i.e. those that are likely to need less formal systems, with lesser documentation and record keeping requirements and is called:

Safer Food Better Business

The Safer Food Better Business pack has been tailored to cover various different sectors, such as small caterers, retailers and premises involved in the preparation of Chinese cuisine and of Indian (and other types of Asian) cuisine.

Links to the Safer Food Better Business packs are provided below:

Safer Food Better Business (opens new window)

Hard copies of any of the Safer Food Better Business pack can be ordered from the Food Standards agency for free by calling 0845 606 0667 or by emailing

For more complex or more high risk premises, such as larger caterers, residential homes, schools, butchers handling raw and ready to eat foods, there is a more thorough pack available which is called:

Safe Catering

This pack assists businesses in developing a more detailed documented system and contains a comprehensive list of record sheets that businesses can use to record any monitoring that they undertake.

The Safe Catering pack can be viewed and printed from the following link:

Safe Catering (opens new window)

There is also a pack for the highest risk premises, or those that are so complex that the most effective means of managing safety is by developing a system that is strictly based on the HACCP principles. This level of system would be most appropriate for hospitals, extremely large nursing or residential homes, or complex food manufacturers. This pack is entitled:


Copies of the CookSafe packs can be downloaded from the following link to the Food Standards Agency website.

Cooksafe (opens new window)

MyHACCP (opens new window) is a free online web tool that guides food businesses through the process of identifying food safety hazards and controls and the production of a documented food safety management system based on HACCP principles. The tool is aimed at small food manufacturing businesses but will be useful to businesses in other sectors.

ID: 1575, revised 17/03/2023