Starting a food business in a private dwelling-house

Preparing food regularly from premises used primarily as a private dwelling-house on a purpose for placing it on the market makes you a food business operator (FBO).

It is important that premises that are used are not specially adjusted for preparing food. If food preparation takes place more than once then the activity is regular and notice of economic activity must be sent to competent authority (Agriculture and Food Board). In addition, seasonal activity is regular activity.

What do you need to do?

  • FBO must have knowledge of food hygiene / safety and must have completed food hygiene / safety training or have acquired relevant knowledge in other ways, for example through self-study, etc.;
  • FBO must have a health certificate - issued by a family doctor. Describe to the family doctor about your planned activities (in contact with food) and family doctor will determine the appropriate analyses;
  • food handling rooms must be clean; surfaces easy to wash;
  • put together self-control-plan;
  • water used in food production must be tested. It can be done either in Veterinary and Food Laboratory or in Health Board Laboratory;
  • every product that goes on the marked must have shelf-life. Instructions in estonian on how to determine shelf-life for a product can be foun here.
  • packaging materials that come in contact with food must be of a material that is allowed to come into contact with it;
  • to ensure the traceability of food, records must be kept of food purchased and sold;
  • it must be possible to store the food at the prescribed temperature, etc.;
  • food must be properly labelled. Additional information on food labelling can be found at here;
  • in case of suspension or termination of activities, a notification to competent authority must be sent.

Once all the documentation and other required criteria have met, FBO will need to submit a notice of economic activity on preparing food in a private dwelling-house, after what food can be placed on the market.

Notice of economic activity can be sent to Agriculture and Food board in three ways:

  • via internet through Kliendiportaal. This option can be used with Estonian ID-card or Mobile-ID;
  • by post to address Veterinaar- ja Toiduamet, Väike-Paala 3, 11415, Tallinn, Estonia;
  • by e-mail to regional Agriculture and Food centre if the documents are digitally signed. Contacts can be found here.

Notice is free of charge.

Agriculture and Food Board does not send confirmation letter about the notice. All approved notices can be found here.

The notice of economic activity does not have to be submitted if a private person offers food, for example, at a charity event or a fair for the community, school or kindergarten. In other words, if purpose of the event is not primarily to generate income, but to bring together the community, then notice is not needed.

After submitting the notice, the supervisory official has the right to request relevant documents in order to prove the compliance of the handling; if necessary, the supervisory official may also come to the handling site on site to assess its suitability.

In case of additional questions, you can also contact an official of the regional centre, whose contacts can be found here.

Exception: If food of animal origin (meat, poultry, fish, dairy products) is prepared in a private dwelling-house to be marketed to another FBO (shop, cafe’, etc.) then approval of establishment from competent authority is required.


Estonian Food Act

Regulation 178/2002 for laying down procedures in matters of food safety

Regulation 852/2004 for food hygiene rules

Regulation 853/2004 for food hygiene rules for food of animal origin

Regulation 1169/2011 for food labelling;

Regulation 1924/2006 for nutrition and health claims made on foods.

Last updated: 19.05.2021