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Do I Need a Hygiene Certificate to Make Sandwiches?

By: Susan Hunt MA - Updated: 20 May 2019 | comments*Discuss
Sandwich Making Food Safety Safe Food


I work at a newsagents in a train station. Up until recently they have bought in pre-packed sandwiches for public sale but have now started to make their own instead. The manager has handed out a booklet about an introduction to food hygiene with a questionnaire to complete at the end.

As I understood the law, each indiviual person who will be making the sandwiches needs to have a food hygiene certificate, but my manager insists that I don't need one. As you can imagine this is causing tension in the workplace as I don't want to be involved in the making process until I'm certain that I'm covered legally. Who's right?

(N.B, 19 March 2009)


People die every year in the UK from food poisoning or bacteria contained in food so you would expect that anyone preparing food must hold a qualification.

Unfortunately this is not currently the case, although any reputable employer will ensure that staff handling food are adequately trained and hold at least a minimum food safety qualification.

It may be that because you are simply preparing sandwiches, your employer does not recognise the dangers involved. Many people wrongly think that it is only when serving hot food that careful food handling procedures need to be followed.

Even Sandwiches Pose a Risk

The truth, however, is that some potentially fatal bacteria such as listeria can be found even in salads and dairy products (seafood, certain cheeses and cress are well-known culprits) so it is imperative that correct safety procedures are followed.

Under new food legislation introduced in 2006, there are strict rules which apply to employers where food is prepared or handled. Even a small outlet must show, in writing, what it does to ensure that its food is safe to eat.

And although a person preparing food is not required to hold any type of qualification, a suitably trained person needs to provide supervision and/or training.


It is a manager’s responsibility to make sure that all food handlers are either trained or supervised and most good employers fulfil this requirement by arranging for staff to take a suitably-accredited course.

They could, however, opt to give you the relevant training ‘on the job’ or ensure that they employ people who already have food training.

Even a retail business wanting to sell food should have a ‘food safety management system’. This system depends on the size of the business, so a small business will only need a very simple system but the person in charge of the ‘food safety management system’ MUST have sufficient training.

You need to tell your employer that you do not feel confident carrying out this work without adequate training or supervision (assuming that this isn’t being provided.)

Food Safety

You don’t say how or where you prepare the sandwiches. For example, do you follow strict procedures about hand-washing, wearing special clothing or an apron, removing jewellery (other than a wedding band) and ensuring hair is tied back and controlled?

Have you been given guidance about wounds, diseases or illnesses? (If you have diarrhoea or vomiting you should not handle food for at least 48 hours after the symptoms have gone.)

Further Help

There are also many rules regarding the premises where the food is being prepared including ease-of-cleaning, provision of suitable workspace and wash basins etc.

The Environmental Health Department of your local authority will always be able to provide advice and guidance on specific queries relating to food safety and you can find out more about handling food safely from the Food Standards Agency website.

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If I make sandwiches for our bowls club teas, do I need a hygiene certificate or training? They will be free to the bowlers.
Merrow - 20-May-19 @ 9:28 PM
I host a work place event where we make toasties for staff. It’s not a consistent event, maybe every 2-3 months. Am I required any registration of food hygiene certificates?
Lisa - 8-Mar-19 @ 7:06 AM
I would like to buy cakes and pies from an outlet and sell it cold to customers. Do i need to contact Enviromental Health. I do not have a premises I will be just picking up and then selling on. What do i need to have or do.
Jen - 7-May-18 @ 8:42 AM
Olifest venue is coming in July. I want to sell cake sandwiches and pies I will buy from a bakery. What licence and equipment do I need?
Joni - 8-Jan-18 @ 8:57 AM
I have a shop and was looking to sell bought in sandwiches already made and packaged, do I need any certificate or licence to sell them
Steve - 26-Sep-17 @ 10:48 AM
Haylz - Your Question:
His I'm looking to open anew afternoon tea place at the ground floor of my premises the rest is a beauty salon upstairs. Do I need any hygiene certificate's for this. I will be making sandwiches but I will be ordering cakes in from a supplier?

Our Response:
Please see the gov.uk link here that will give you further information about setting up a restaurant, café or other catering business, whether taking over a business that already exists or starting a new one.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 3-Aug-17 @ 2:20 PM
His I'm looking to open anew afternoon tea place at the ground floor of my premises the rest is a beauty salon upstairs. Do I need any hygiene certificate's for this. I will be making sandwiches but I will be ordering cakes in from a supplier?
Haylz - 2-Aug-17 @ 7:36 PM
Hello, can my employer require me to take an online food safety course, but demand that I pay for the course myself?
Agnes - 28-Jul-17 @ 11:52 PM
Hi I am interested in providing prepackaged sandwiches and fruit for children at school.
Meka - 9-Oct-16 @ 4:56 PM
How long can be minced meat kept raw in fridge formaking burgers in hospitality? I heard max two days, headchef made burgers Tuesday - Friday he was still selling making burgers from that meat- guests complained meat is off tastes bad. Thanks forward for advice.
right done - 27-Jun-16 @ 9:12 PM
Am I able to cook and serve bacon rolls at a Plumbers Merchant? The rolls will be made to order and given away free of charge. Thanks in advance.
Mace - 28-Apr-16 @ 12:14 PM
What health and safety measures need to be put in place? I work in a recreation centre used by adults who are fully able without disabilities. They would like to make their own toast with butter/jam, cups of tea/coffee and heat up their own food in the microwave using the centre's facilities (ie toaster, hot water urn and microwave). The centre would supply the bread, jam, butter, milk, tea and coffe etc only - not microwaveable food.
Jo - 21-Mar-16 @ 10:34 AM
Hi, I am looking at organising baby showers and kids parties and would like to provide food, but I don't want to have to get food hygiene certificates and contact the local council for food ssfety etc. Can I purchase precooked deli food from the supermarket and put that out on trays for the guests as this would be something they could do themselves? Thanks in advance :)
Leesy - 13-Mar-16 @ 10:51 PM
I belong to a WI Institute and we provide Cream Teas for Coach Parties during the Summer months. We only have three or four a year, We have food Hygiene certificates, but I am sure that I read somewhere that for small private occasions they are not necessary. I would be grateful for your advice.
Marley - 3-Mar-16 @ 1:57 PM
Do you need a licence for Providing a free Buffett to patrons at a pub (prepared away from the pub)
Donna78 - 19-Feb-16 @ 5:25 PM
I work in a nursery which has a cook who works mornings. In the afternoons the staff prepare the snack and tea. I have been told I can't do this as I don't have a food hygiene certificate. However once a week we do baking with the children which I have to prepare then help them to make. Am I ok to do this without a food hygiene certificate?
emma - 12-Feb-16 @ 10:06 PM
Hello,where I work we have visitors from other branches - we would like to buy prepared sandwiches from the local supermarket and place on trays for their lunches, we will be wearing gloves to do this, occasionally we may slice the sandwiches into smaller sections - are there any rules/regulations we should adhere to?
Helks - 12-Feb-16 @ 3:34 PM
I want to do buffets for weddings etc do I need a food hygiene certificate please
foxy - 31-Jan-16 @ 4:45 PM
I have set up a group of volunteers called Sutton Night Watch and we run a soup kitchen for the homeless and needy in our borough We are serving canned and home made soup and sandwiches . I have held a basic hygiene certificate and due to the nature of the work that some of the volunteers do they also have working knowledge of food handling. Can you please tell me what the rules are about this as we are being told so many different things Many thanks
SNW - 27-Jan-16 @ 5:19 AM
I am being made to produce sandwiches , high risk , i.e. egg mayo , ham etc , then held ambient!! Is this My resreponsibilith or my bosses when it comes to recording temps , etc ? Ie I have said this is wrong but I have to do it , i.e. make them and place them in known ambient temperature deli fridge that doesn't work . Thank you
moo - 4-Dec-15 @ 8:41 PM
An acquaintance who does catering, pissessing a level 1 food certification, told me that she was allowed to make 'soups' but that chilli was not permitted, as it was considered to be a 'meal'. Is this true? If so, how do you define a meal?
Rj - 3-Nov-15 @ 10:29 PM
Bea - Your Question:
Hi, I'm still waiting on an answer to my question re picking up salad items with fingers.

Our Response:
Hands should be washed frequently and properly. You can find out more information via the Food Standards Agency here. The Food Safety Act 1990 provides the framework for all food legislation in Britain.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 21-Sep-15 @ 12:10 PM
Hi, I'm still waiting on an answer to my question re picking up salad items with fingers.
Bea - 20-Sep-15 @ 1:05 PM
Bought sandwiches yesterday at local shop. Lady who made them up put salad on with her fingers ie tomatoes, sweet corn, raw onions. Is this legal-we were shocked!
Bea - 12-Sep-15 @ 10:31 AM
D1972 - Your Question:
I currently make bacon rolls in my local rugby club. I have a good hygiene cert. if anyone helps do they need one too.

Our Response:
In the UK, food handlers don't have to hold a food hygiene certificate to prepare or sell food. Skills may be obtained through on-the-job training, self-study or relevant prior experience, please see FSA link here. I hope this helps.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 27-Aug-15 @ 1:38 PM
I currently make bacon rolls in my local rugby club. I have a good hygiene cert. if anyone helps do they need one too.
D1972 - 26-Aug-15 @ 4:41 PM
@Jp - I have included a CAB link here which should give you more information. In addition and as specified in the article, the Environmental Health Department of your local authority will always be able to provide advice and guidance on specific queries relating to food safety and you can find out more about handling food safely from the Food Standards Agency website. I hope this helps.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 9-Jun-15 @ 2:34 PM
Hi.. I belong to a church ministry that prepares hot breakfast for the homeless.Please advice as to what procedure is needed.Currently there has been no food handling training nor is there any food certified person on the team.How can we ensure that we will not face any legal issues
Jp - 8-Jun-15 @ 9:12 AM
@Clo Fish - In the first instance you should contact your local council who will send someone from the Environmental Health to assess the kitchen or workspace you will be working from. You may also have to undertake a food hygiene certificate course. I have included a link from the FSI herewhich should also help further. Good luck with your new venture.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 1-May-15 @ 12:20 PM
Hi, I have started a franchise of a children's party entertainment business, and one of the packages other branches provide includes party food boxes for the children. I have had one of the costumers ask me if I can provide these and it is something I think I would like to offer, I have looked for local caterers to provide the food like the other branches do but I have had no luck. I am thinking now that I would like to just do it myself. I have tried looking into the licenses and hygiene certificates etc and if I would need them but I cannot see if they apply to me. I would only be providing party food boxes which would contain something along the lines of a sandwich, packet of crisps, carton of juice, dried fruit and a biscuit or muffin. I would prepare on the morning of the party and transport to the venue in my car. Could you help shed some light on this for me please? Many thanks
Clo Fish - 30-Apr-15 @ 8:07 PM
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