Legal requirements for food vendors
Barbados law requires certain vendors of food and drink to have various licences, or certificates, in order to carry out their business. Following is a brief outline of what is required by law.
A Health Certificate
This is required by anyone who prepares food and drink for sale to the public. The vendor must apply to the Chief Environmental Health Officer (CEHO) for their area for a premises inspection. The CEHO will visit, inspect the premise, may offer suggestions, may instruct that something needs doing, may ask questions about hygiene, etc, etc, etc. Once he is satisfied, he will issue the Health certificate. Please note, there are various categories of food production, bakery, preserves, meats etc, and the requirements vary. Also worth noting that each CEHO has his own ideas about what is necessary. No fee is payable.
This is a legal requirement for everyone who prepares food or drink. Just because you have never had one, or only make a few jars of chutney, is no excuse for ignoring this requirement.
The Food Handling Certificate
This is required by all vendors who handle food or drink, but not, for some reason vendors of produce! It is obtained from your own Doctor and simply says that you are free from infectious disease and are safe to handle food. No examination is necessary. The Doctor may charge a fee and the certificate is renewable annually.
The Temporary Restaurant Licence
This is required by all vendors who offer food to be eaten at the market. It is issued by the Environmental Health Office for the area in which you operate. In Holder’s case, it is Black Rock Polyclinic office. There is no fee payable, the licence is issued on application every month and you are not given any type of paperwork. I am told that, if the market is in operation for a year, they may consider issuing annual licences.
Whilst it is not a requirement, all vendors of food and drink are advised to investigate the cost of public liability insurance... just in case!