Food Safety Management System (FSMS)

What is a documented food safety management system?

This is a document which outlines all the food production you carry out in your business, it highlights all the hazards associated with production, how you control those hazards, how you monitor the control measures you have in place and what to do if things go wrong.

Why do I need a documented food safety management system?

Under The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013, you must have a documented food safety management system in place to show how you manage food safety hazards in your business.

You must write these procedures down, update them as necessary and retain them so they can be checked by our department during a food hygiene inspection.

You must also:

  • keep them in place permanently. 
  • keep up-to-date documents and records relating to your procedures. 
  • review your procedures if you change what you produce or how you work.

Smaller businesses may not require the same in-depth records and documentation.

Can I get help to develop my FSMS?

Yes. The Food Standards Agency has produced a pack which is designed for use by caterers (Safer Food Better Business). This pack covers everything associated with running a catering business safely. Food business operators need to work through the safe methods and tailor them to their own business.

The FSA has also produced other packs for example for retailers, residential homes and packs in other languages

This is not the only system which is available but it has specifically been designed for use by businesses in England and Wales.

What happens if I do not have a completed FSMS on site when I am inspected?

For some lower risk businesses, ensuring good hygienic practices (pre-requisites) are in place is sufficient and a documented FSMS will not be required.

However, most food businesses will require a documented FSMS and it is considered a serious contravention of the food hygiene legislation if you don’t have one.

Where can I get more information or help about FSMS?

More information can be obtained online from the Food Standards Agency.


Completion of the pack will not only help you to meet the requirements of the law it should also help you to achieve a higher rating under the National Food Hygiene Rating scheme.

Contact details

Food Safety Section
Department of Public Health
Environmental Health
5th floor
Britannia House

Phone : 01274 437766