Experiences involving food in Cape Town
This page is here to help give you a starting point to find out about some of the obligations that may apply to you if you decide to host Trips or Experiences on Airbnb. It’s for your information only and includes summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to official resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the law has not changed recently.*
What are some of the basic principles?
Your guest’s health and safety should always come first. For example, some hosts tell us that they always make sure that their kitchen is super clean, that they only use fresh ingredients and tell their guests about the ingredients they use. They also ask their guests in advance about any food allergies they may have and religious or philosophical codes that the host needs to keep in mind when preparing a meal to share with them.
My experience will involve serving food to guests outside of a traditional restaurant, cafe, or food business. Are there any specific rules I need to follow?
If you are responsible for or own a “food premises" you need to have a valid and current Certificate of Acceptability for those premises.
This requirement applies to any building, structure or stall (like for example caravans and vehicles) which is used or allowed to be used in connection with the handling of foodstuffs (including food, drinks and other substances intended for human consumption). Handling food includes making/preparing, serving, storing and transporting food, whether or not you do this in return for money.
In summary, if you are handling food in any facility or space for any reason other than in your private household for your own private use, you will need to obtain a Certificate of Acceptability.You can apply for a Certificate of Acceptability at the Environmental Health office closest to you.
It is an offence to handle or allow food to be handled on premises for which a valid Certificate of Acceptability has not been issued or is not in force.Food safety
The Regulations Governing General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises And the Transport of Food 2012 contain detailed provisions relating to issues of hygiene and food safety. They set standards and requirements that food premises need to meet (including in relation to facilities, food containers, the display, storage and temperature of food, protective clothing, the duties of a person in charge of food premises, the duties of a food handler, the handling of meat and the transportation of food). You can take a look at the information pages on the City of Cape Town website or contact the Environmental Health office closest to you for more information.
It is an offence to handle food in a way which does not meet the standards and requirements set out in the regulations.Examples
Here are some examples of where these regulations will apply and where a Certificate of Acceptability will need to be obtained:
- I cook and serve meals to paying guests at my home.
- I hold an event at a temporary space / in my local community centre, at which I serve store-bought nibbles / finger foods and drinks to guests. I will be transporting the store-bought food and drinks to the venue and will then handle and serve these to guests.
- I take people on a cool visit of Cape Town and provide them with a packed lunch which I prepared at home.
Here are some examples of where these regulations do not apply and where a Certificate of Acceptability will not need to be obtained:
- I plan to host guests at my favourite local restaurant. Of course, the restaurant will need to make sure that it has a valid Certificate of Acceptability and that it is complying with the regulations.
- I’d like to take guests along to a festival where food is served by the festival organisers. Of course, the festival organisers will need to make sure that they have a valid Certificate of Acceptability and are complying with the regulations.
Is there anything else I should think about?
You should be aware of potential criminal offences for failure to comply with food licensing and safety requirements, which may include financial penalties and the possibility of a custodial sentence.
If your experience will also involve serving or providing alcohol, we recommend that you take a look at our information about experiences involving alcohol. If your experience will involve combining the provision of food with another activity (for example, a guided tour of the city), please take a look at our other information sections to work out if any other rules might apply to that other activity.
We recommend you also read our other information pages on What if I am a business?. If you’re in any doubt, we recommend you get in touch with your accountant or legal advisor to find out whether you’re operating as a business.
You should also check what tax and accounting rules apply to you, and make sure you have the right insurance cover in place to cover all the activities you will be providing.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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