Experiences Involving Food in Milan
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 the most important principles to think about?
Your guests’ health and safety should always come first. For example, here is what Massimiliano recommends: "I always make sure that my kitchen is spic and span, that I only use fresh ingredients, that I tell my guests about the ingredients I use (and that I share my secret recipes. 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. It’s also a good idea to make sure guests are aware of the food they are going to eat so they can inform you in case of any specific issue of any sort."
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?
Yes. The rules that apply to you will depend on whether you are considered to be running a food business or if you are a non-professional.
What rules apply to me if I am a non-professional?
If you are a non-professional - that means, if you are occasionally serving food to family and friends only and not for profit - it is good practice to meet high food safety and hygiene standards. In its Five Key Points for Safer Food Manual, the World Health Organisation provides guidance about how to handle, cook, clean and store food. The Health Ministry has also issued a guide for cooking a safe meal at home.
When would I be considered to be operating a “food business"?
If your experience involves cooking, handling or serving food to the general public for profit, it is likely that you will considered a “food business operator" (OSA) running a “food business" (somministrazione di alimenti e bevande, catering, banqueting, sale of packaged food).
The Ministry of Economic Development has provided its view on home cooking. At the moment most forms of home cooking trigger legal requirements that you’ll need to comply with, with few exceptions.
The Ministry’s view is that if there is any element of profit involved or if the people you serve at home are not friends or family, you will be considered to be a “food business" triggering certain legal obligations.
There are a couple of limited exceptions to this:
If you just cook a meal at someone else’s place or in a commercial kitchen for a fee, without organizing a proper food event providing the whole dining setting (including waiters’ service, linen, equipment and cutlery), you may be considered an autonomous professional (a “home chef”), rather than a food business operator. In that case, you will not need to provide prior-notification for your activity before the SUAP office, but you’ll still need to make sure that the commercial venue you eventually use meets the hygiene standards set out by the City Food Hygiene Regulation, that you meet personal hygiene standards, and that you issue a proper receipt or invoice for your services and pay taxes on your income.
This exception does not apply if you organize the full dining experience and provide the equipment (such as waiters’ service, cooking tools, cutlery, linens etc.). In that case, even if you are using someone else’s place to cook and serve the meal, your activity will most likely qualify as a banqueting service which triggers the obligation of filing a prior-notification (SCIA) before the dedicated desk at the Milan Municipality.
If you just occasionally invite a group of friends or family home and cook a meal for them, and your charge only covers your actual costs, then you would likely not be considered to be a “food business".
Here are some examples of activities for which a SCIA is likely to be required:
- I cook and serve meals at my home to my guests that don't come from within my own circle of friends, and I am paid for that.
- I cook at home and bring food to a public space where I sell it.
- I organize a full banqueting service at someone else’s home.
Here are some examples of activities for which you may not need to obtain a SCIA:
- I plan to host guests at my local favourite restaurant.
- I’d like to take guests along to a festival where food is served by the festival organisers.
- I am invited to a private party where I cook using tools and equipment provided by the owner.
I am not sure about whether I am a non-professional or a food business - where can I find out more?
The SUAP office in Milan should be able to advise you if you need to be registered as a food business operator (O.S.A.). They may also refer you to other resources where you can find out about your obligations.
What are the requirements and obligations I need to follow if I run a food business?
If you are considered to be running a food business, you will need to submit a prior-notification about your activity (see the section on business licensing requirements for more information), and you will also need to comply with food and beverage legal requirements, particularly hygiene rules for food business.
Offering food in the context of an entertainment business (a club, a sports centre, a book store), may be easier for you, as rules are different in such context. You can find more information on the City of Milan portal.
If you want to offer a food experience by opening a food truck in Milan, you will need a specific “mobile business” license (“Commercio in forma itinerante”). If you plan to open your street food truck in the Milan City Center, a special license is needed: in order to obtain it, it will be necessary to make an application to participate to a public tender of the Municipality showing the Municipality that your food truck meets certain quality criteria such as using locally sourced and sustainable food.
Hygiene rules for food businesses
In order to protect your guests, it is important to meet the health and safety standards that apply to both food businesses and non-professionals (see What rules apply to me if I am a non-professional? section).
When offering your experience in Milan, you will need to comply with Milan Food and Beverages Hygiene Regulation (Regolamento Comunale di Igiene in Materia di Alimenti e Bevande) and apply for an authorization before the Milan ATS (Azienda Sanitaria Locale) pursuant to art. 6 of the EU Regulation no. 852/2004. Also, you will need to create an HACCP manual and adhere to its rules.
Please be aware that failing to obtain the authorization or to comply with hygiene, safety and other applicable rules could potentially expose you to financial and possibly, criminal consequences: please find here a list of recently issued penalties.
*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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