How to set up a food business with food safety in mind featured image

How to choose the right premises when you set up a food business and what facilities you need to provide.

Choosing the right premises for your food business

The premises you choose for your food business must have 2 basic requirements:

  1. Comply with the necessary regulations (R638)
  2. Allow you to prepare food safely

You must keep your food premises clean and maintained in good condition and repair. Your premises must allow you to follow good food hygiene practices, including protection against contamination and pest control.

The following rules apply to your whole premises, not just the areas used for preparing food:

Handwashing facilities and toilets

You must have enough washbasins for staff to wash their hands with hot and cold running water and as well as hand wash amenities for washing and drying hands and hygienically.

Changeroom facilities

You must provide adequate facilities for staff to change their clothes, where necessary.

Other requirements

Your premises must also have adequate ventilation, lighting, and drainage and a suitable refuse area.

Food preparation areas

The following rules apply to rooms where food is prepared.

Floors and walls

Floors and walls must be:

  • Maintained in a good condition
  • Smoth and easy to clean
  • Cleaned and disinfected regularly


Ceilings should be:

  • In good condition
  • Easy to clean to prevent dirt from building up
  • Free from condensation and mould
  • Free from flaking paint or plaster

Windows and doors

Windows and any other openings (such as doors) must be constructed in a way that prevents dirt from building up. If they open to the outside, they must be fitted with insect screens that can be easily removed for cleaning.

Doors must be easy to:

  • Cleaned and sanitised regulary
  • In a state of repair

Surfaces (Tables)

Surfaces (including surfaces of equipment) in areas where food is handled, particularly those that are touched by food, must be:

  • Maintained in a good condition and of non-absorbant material (stainless steel)
  • Easy to clean and cleaned as part of clean-as-you-go

Facilities for cleaning equipment

Your premises must have adequate facilities for cleaning, sanitising, and storing utensils, including equipment. The facilities must have an adequate supply of hot and cold water.

Facilities for washing food

Separate sinks must be provided, where necessary, for washing food and cleaning equipment in food preparation areas.

Every sink must have an adequate supply of hot and cold water for food preparation and be of drinking quality (SANS 241). These facilities must be kept clean and be disinfected.


All items, fittings, and equipment that food touches must be:

  • Kept in good order, repair and condition
  • Cleaned effectively and be disinfected frequently enough to avoid any risk of contamination

Food waste

You must have adequate facilities for storing and disposing of food. You must remove food waste and other rubbish from rooms containing food as quickly as possible to avoid it building up and attracting pests.

The three main groups of pests that are encountered in food businesses are:

  • Rodents – rats and mice
  • Insects – cockroaches, beetles, ants and flies
  • Birds – pigeons etc

Need help getting your food business set up? We can help you cover all the food safety and hygiene requirements.

Food Consulting Services is a private South African-owned Food Testing Laboratory and Food Safety Consultancy, that tests water and food to ensure compliance with South African National Standards. We also perform hygiene survey audits to the hospitality and food manufacturing industry. If you’d like to learn more about Food Consulting Services, visit our website or feel free to enquire with us. We look forward to hearing from you and becoming your food safety partners. Get in touch with us for more information.

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