Free advice portal for new food businesses

Free advice portal for new food businesses

There are over 80 different government supports available to small businesses but many of them are not well known or understood. Each week in the SFA e-zine, we will profile a different support that could improve your business, giving you information and advice.

Food business start-up advice


An online portal containing all of the key information for food business start-ups.

The portal contains essential information for anyone setting up a food business, including considerations if operating from home or at a market. Specific advice for microbreweries and catering businesses is also included.


The agri-food and fisheries sector in Ireland contributes around €24 billion to the national economy and employs more than 150,000 people. Many business in the sector are small and micro firms, including artisan food producers. Part of the remit of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is to reduce the regulator burden on food businesses, while ensuring the safety of consumers.

There are a number of important steps that new food businesses must take to ensure they comply with legislation in the areas of health and safety, traceability and labelling. Food legislation can be complex and the mosaic of rules can be confusing for start-ups.

For this reason, the FSAI has created an area of its website dedicated to food business start-ups. It provides guidance documents on compliance, workbooks to develop risk-based food safety management systems and food safety training for the small business sector.


Aspiring food business start-ups should familiarise themselves with the ‘Starting a Food Business’ portal on the FSAI website.

The portal contains:

  • Instructions on registering your business and assessing whether you need to apply for approval before beginning to trade
  • Information on food hygiene legislation
  • Guidelines on developing a food safety management system and a traceability system
  • Advice when operating from home or selling at a market
  • Access to training (including e-learning), events and publications


If you are interested in availing of this service, don’t forget:

  • The four-page Business Start-up Information fact sheet is a useful starting point if you are planning to establish a food business.
  • The portal contains contact details for all of the competent authorities, such as the HSE, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Local Authority Veterinary Inspector and the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority.
  • Caterers, retailers and wholesalers should also obtain a copy of the relevant standard from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) website,
  • FSAI also has an advice phone line, which you can call on 1890 33 66 77.  
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