Experiences Involving Food in Dublin
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
What are some of the basic principles?
Your guest’s health and safety should always come first. For example, here’s what host Alissa recommends: “I always make sure that my kitchen is spic and span, that I only use fresh ingredients and that I tell my guests about the ingredients I use. I also ask my guests in advance about any food allergies they may have and religious or philosophical codes that I need to keep in mind when I prepare a meal to share with them."
My experience will involve serving food to guests outside of a traditional restaurant, cafe, or food business. Are there any specific rules I need to follow?
If your experience involves you cooking and/or handling food (including storing, serving, selling or distributing food prepared by other people) which is eaten by guests, you’ll need to make sure that you are informed of and follow good practices in relation to food safety, hygiene and information.
Your main responsibilities are:
Food safety: To ensure that the food you produce for your guests is safe. You are responsible for ensuring that you do not include anything in food, remove anything from food, or treat food in any way that would damage the health of people eating it, which includes ensuring that foods are kept at appropriate temperatures.
Where you are serving or dealing with food in your home, you’ll need protect against the risk of contamination of food from normal domestic activities, poor hygiene and working when ill. More detailed information on operating a food business at home can be found here).
Registration as a Food Business: If you are selling food for profit in your home, this falls within the definition of a food business. Food businesses are required to register with the Health Service Executive (“HSE”). See here for contact details for the HSE in your area. Your local HSE office can advise you on the steps involved in registration. It is free to register as a food business. You will need to include your opening hours in your registration to allow inspections by your local Environmental Health Officer (“EHO”).
If you are providing a food related experience (such as a cookery class) on an occasional or one-off basis, it is unclear whether such activities will be caught by the definition of a food business. As this is a grey area, it’s a good idea to check with your legal advisor if you think you don’t need to register as a food business.
Inspection: Food premises are inspected by EHOs, who also investigate food complaints. EHOs are entitled to enter and inspect food premises, take samples of food or related materials and have these samples analysed. It’s an offence to obstruct or prevent an EHO doing this.
Whether or not you need to register your premises, food safety laws will apply to the place where you are preparing or handling the food if it is intended for public consumption.
Food hygiene: You should ensure that the food you serve or sell is of the nature, substance, or quality which consumers would expect. There are specific food hygiene rules in relation to processing foods of animal origin (in other words, meat, poultry, eggs, fish, unpasteurised milk) which may apply to you and you may require approval from the Health Service Executive (“HSE”). See here for more details.
For more information on food hygiene and safety, check out the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) website which contains more information and details on training courses. They also have an information section for individuals starting a food business from home and you may also find their Guide to Food Law for Artisan/Small Food Producers Starting a New Business in that section helpful.
Safety procedures: You should ensure that food safety management procedures are put in place, based on the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. Put simply, these principles help you to develop a food safety management system that allows you to identify risks and how best to guard against them.
Information: You should ensure that your Guests are informed in advance about the type of food which will offered, any specifics about its preparation and any allergens. Your Guest is entitled to information about the food which it’s important is accurate and not misleading.
Traceability: You should ensure that records are kept of food supplied to you or your business, for example documenting the names and addresses of the supplier in each case, as well as the nature of the product and date of delivery.
Training: If you run a food business, you are legally required to undertake food safety training. See this section of the FSAI website for more information.
Allergens: Hosts should always ask whether any of their Guests have allergies. There are potentially serious consequences if allergens are not controlled, and you may wish to consider this FSAI guidance.
Insurance: Hosts should make sure that they have the right insurance in place to cover all the activities provided.
Here are some examples of where some or all of the above considerations are likely to apply:
- I cook and serve meals to my paying guests at my home.
- I hold an event at a temporary space / in my local community centre, at which I serve store-bought nibbles to guests.
- I take people on a cool visit of Dublin and provide them with a packed lunch which I prepare at home.
- I offer cookery demonstrations or classes at my home.
Here are some examples of where the above considerations do not apply and you don’t need to register:
- I plan to host guests at my local favourite restaurant. Of course, the restaurant will need to make sure that it has registered and that it is following the rules.
- I’d like to take guests along to a festival where food is served by licensed festival organisers.
- I plan to organize a walking food tour at which we’ll call in to local food shops, a farmers market or my favourite bakery.
Is there anything else I should think about?
If your experience will also involve serving or providing alcohol, we recommend that you take a look at our information pages about Experiences Involving Alcohol. If your experience will involve the transportation of Guests to a food experience, please consult our page on Experiences Involving Transportation. If your experience will involve combining food with another activity (for example, a guided tour of the city), please take a look at our other information sections to work out if any other rules might apply to your activity.
We recommend you also read our other information pages on Business Licenses. If you are in any doubt, you may want to get in touch with your accountant or legal advisor to find out whether you are operating as a business.
You should be aware of potential criminal offences for failure to comply with Food Safety legislation, which may include financial penalties and the possibility of a custodial sentence.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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