Retail trade and catering

Retail trade and catering means marketing food directly to the consumer (including delivery of food without charge). Catering includes, for example, cooking, reheating and serving (including takeaway) in a café, restaurant, school, hospital, etc.
These activities require either an activity license or notifying the Agriculture and Food Board (AFB) of the activity, i.e. submitting a notice of economic activity.

Economic activity notice:

  • Food retail and food online and postal sales
  • Food retail and preparing food with the aim to market the food directly to the consumers;
  • Food retail and preparing non animal and composite food with the aim to market the food to another operator/handler;
  • Food retail and handling food of animal origin and delivering it to its own retail establishment or only to another retail operator and the supply is marginal, local and limited*;
  • Catering, except catering at preschool child care institution, primary school, secondary school, health care and social welfare institutions, detention facility and Estonian Defence Force
  • Catering in childcare
  • Temporary catering
  • Mobile catering

* Marginal – the supply of food of animal origin does not exceed 2000 kilograms per week or 35% of the total amount of food of animal origin handled per week. These quantities do not include fresh meat, minced meat, meat preparations or meat products. The quantity of fresh meat, minced meat, meat preparations and meat products delivered does not exceed 1500 kilograms per week or 30% of the total quantity of food of animal origin handled per week.

   *Local – delivery to a retail company of the same operator, which is located in Estonia up to 300 kilometers from the company from which the animal food is supplied Or only to another retail operator located in Estonia up to 300 kilometers from the company from which the animal food is supplied.

An activity licence:

  • Food retail and handling food of animal origin and delivering it to  its own retail establishment or only to another retail operator and the supply is NOT marginal, local and limited;
  • Food retail and handling food of animal origin if it is also supplied to another operator not engaged in retail trade;
  • Catering at preschool child care institution, primary school, secondary school, health care and social welfare institutions, detention facility and Estonian Defence Force
  • Provision of catering services in preschool child care institution, primary school, secondary school, health care and social welfare institutions, detention facility and Estonian Defence Force

Notification is not required if the food is prepared, stored and offered randomly (does not indicate a certain continuity) by private person (charity events, school fairs etc). Such a person is not considered an operator and is therefore not subject to the requirements of the EU food hygiene legislation.

License applications and notifications can be submitted:

    Keep in mind

    • Each food business operator (FBO) must draw up a self-control plan and keep it up to date. Guidance material for the preparation of a self-control plan can be found here;
    • The traceability of food must be ensured. More information about food traceability can be found here;
    • Food has to be stored at the prescribed temperature;
    • FBO who is preparing ready-to-eat food that may be hazardous to public health due to Listeria monocytogenes bacteria shall take samples from processing areas and equipment for Listeria monocytogenes analysis as part of the sampling plan;
    • When handling food, it is important that the premises and layout helps to produce food safely. Requirements for buildings and premises can be found here;
    • Instructions for water used in food handling can be found here;
    • Food must be properly labelled. More information about food labelling can be found here;
    • FBO must have knowledge of food hygiene / safety and must have completed food hygiene training;
    • Personnel must have valid health certificates;
    • Additional requirements for the sale of alcohol can be found in here.
    • If you want to go to a public event to cater / sell food, you must notify the AFB.

    Legislation

    Last updated: 29.07.2021