Dugs n’ Environmental Health
There are no EU or UK regulations which prohibit the presence of dogs in establishments which serve food such as pubs, restaurants, takeaways and cafes. The only restriction is that dogs must be prevented from entering areas where food is being prepared or stored (i.e. the kitchen or other food preparation area). In Scotland, this is implemented via the Food Hygiene (Scotland) Regulations 2006 which also does not prohibit dogs from entering businesses serving or selling food products. The responsibility for ensuring food safety essentially comes down to the individual business themselves and therefore the decision of whether to allow dogs is at the discretion of the owner of the business. There is no health and safety regulations relating to dogs entering a business premises.
As the Local Council Environmental Health Department is responsible for ensuring that businesses have adequate controls in place to prevent food contamination, we contacted Edinburgh, Glasgow and also Aberdeen councils (under FOI) in order to obtain confirmation of how this works in practice. The following questions were asked:
Dugs n’ Pubs: The Food Standards Agency in Scotland have advised that Regulation (EC) No 852/2004, Annex II, Chapter IX – Provisions applicable to foodstuffs (4) is applied throughout the UK, and does not prohibit the presence of dogs in catering establishments such as pubs, restaurants, cafes and takeaways. These Regulations are implemented in Scotland by the Food Hygiene (Scotland) Regulations 2006 which also does not prohibit the presence of dogs in food businesses. As the individual council Environmental Health Department is the competent enforcement authority for food businesses I would be grateful if you could provide the following information
Q1. How does the Council’s Environmental health department interpret these regulations and how are they applied in practice? i.e please can you confirm any internal policy, procedures or checklists.
Edinburgh Council A1:
There are no internal written policies, procedures or checklists dealing with the issue of dogs in food premises, the regulations are interpreted and applied on a case by case basis depending on where dogs are permitted within the premises.
Glasgow Council A1:
The Council would assess any instance of animals on food premises as it arose. There is no explicit policy or protocol on the subject.
Aberdeen Council A1:
As an Enforcing Authority, ACC take the view that dogs are not allowed in any food preparation area of any catering establishment within its area. Assistance dogs are permitted in dining areas of such establishments. Although allowing pets access is not considered conducive to good hygiene, it is up to the individual premises to decide whether or not to allow dogs onto their premises.
Q2. What advice does the environmental health department give to food businesses which ask whether dogs are allowed to be on their premises? If any documentation or standard response is given please can you provide this.
Edinburgh Council A2:
Food businesses are advised that dogs may not be permitted to enter those parts of premises where food safety could be compromised, that is areas where food (including ingredients) is stored, handled, prepared, or cooked. To clarify, it is those areas where a customer would not be expected to gain access to either.
Glasgow Council A2:
The Council has no protocol on this. Advice would be given, as necessary, in accordance with the Food Hygiene (Scotland) Regulations 2006.
Aberdeen Council A2:
As mentioned above, it is up to the individual premises to decide whether to allow dogs into dining areas. ACC does not have any documentation or standard response that we would give out. Advice is generally given based on the specific operational requirements for the business.
Q3. How many food businesses in the last two years have been; a) Fined, or b) Been given warnings / notices with regards allowing dogs into areas which are prohibited by these regulations (i.e. food preparation / storage areas).
Edinburgh Council A3:
a) None b) Three informal warnings issued.
Glasgow Council A3:
Aberdeen Council A3:
No fines have been issued although in Scotland any fines would have to be subject to a satisfactory prosecution by the Procurator Fiscal’s Service. No warning notices or inspection reports with regards to allowing dogs within food preparation areas within catering establishments have been issued.
The above information was received direct from each City Council in April & May 2014 under Freedom of Information.