Temporary Cross Border Catering Services

Detailed below is an overview of the administrative procedures involved for a caterer established in another EU country, intending to provide catering services in Ireland for a once off event.

Providing catering services at a once off event

When providing catering services for an once off event, the appropriate official agency to contact is the Environmental Health Office (EHO) of the HSE.

A food business is defined in law as any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any of the activities related to any stage of production, processing and distribution of food.

Where a food business based in one EU country proposes to provide catering services in Ireland for a one-off event, the following information applies to them.

1. Know the legislation

All food businesses must comply with Regulation 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs. This Regulation sets out the legal requirements in relation to food hygiene and places a primary responsibility for food safety with the food business operator.

It sets out general requirements for all food business operators, as well as more specific requirements.

These include, among others, general and specific requirements for:

  • layout, construction etc. of food premises
  • transport
  • equipment
  • water supply
  • food waste
  • wrapping and packaging of foodstuffs
  • heat treatment
  • personal hygiene
  • training
  • pest control


A copy of this legislation can be downloaded from the legislation section of the FSAI website.


By law, food businesses are required in implement and maintain a food safety management system based on the principles of HACCP. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. It is a systematic approach to identifying and controlling hazards, whether microbiological, chemical or physical, that could pose a threat to the production of safe food. In simple terms, it involves identifying what could go wrong in a food system and planning how to prevent it.

2. Register with the appropriate official agency

The food hygiene legislation referred to above requires food businesses to register with an appropriate official agency. In the case of a cross border catering operation wishing to cater in Ireland, the agency to register with is the local Environmental Health Office (EHO) of the Health Service Executive (HSE). A cross border catering business should contact the EHO office closest to their business premises/operation.
The HSE maintains a register of all the premises within their area and they will check to make sure that your business complies with the food hygiene legislation. An EHO could inspect your food business at any time. This applies even when the catering operation is occasional.

3. Record Keeping, Traceability and other legislation

By law, all food businesses must have a traceability system in place that allows them to trace food one step back and one step forward. In the case of food businesses serving customers directly on their premises, they will only be expected then to trace one step back. By doing this, the food business can identify from who they were supplied with any ingredients used in their cross border catering operation. This allows for a system of control should any issues arise with the safety of the food.

Food businesses may also need to consider if they require compliance with other food legislation. For example, from 13th December 2014, under new food labelling rules, all catering operations will be required to display allergen information regarding the loose food they serve in their premises.

Serving alcohol at a once off event

If alcohol will be served at the catering event, the event organiser should make an application in advance for an occasional licence to serve alcohol from the relevant District Court where the event is taking place.

An application is made to the District Court to obtain a licence for a special event, by the holder of an existing licence to sell alcohol at a premises.

The application for an occasional licence should identify the following:

  • The premises to which the licence attaches to.
  • The special event to which the application relates to.
  • The unlicensed venue where the event will take place. 

The relevant local authority and the Gardaí should be notified in advance of the application.

Where an occasional licence is granted, the sale of alcohol is confined to persons attending the event. The special event may not exceed six days; these days need not be consecutive but must form part of the same special event.

Further information on occasional licence types can be found here.

Posting of workers

If you are sending staff based in an EU country to work short term in Ireland, it is important to be aware of the procedures regarding the posting of workers.

The competent authority for providing information on posting of workers is the Workplace Relations Commission.

Relevant information on procedures concerning the posting of workers can be sought here.

Further information

Temporary/Cross Border Services


The information listed is for general purposes only. All further queries regarding this information should be directed to the competent authorities listed above.