10 Documents You Need
When Applying for
a Certificate of Acceptability

By Adele Krogh on 26 July 2019

We recently spoke with the local Environmental Health Practitioners from Ekurhuleni, and they advised that your application for your Certificate of Acceptability will go much smoother if you have all the necessary documentation ready to submit with this application.

You may be wondering what that documentation could be?  Well, as an example, here is what the City of Tshwane Environmental Health Department requires for submission with your application.


#1 - Pest Control Report

Section 5(3)(c)(ii) of R638 states that: “Food premises must be pest-proof in accordance with the best available method”

Section 10.3 also requires that “effective measures are taken to prevent or eliminate flies, other insects, rodents, birds. vermin or any other pests on the food premises”

You will need to have a pest control company come out and inspects your premises and provides you with a pest control report.

#2 - Cleaning timetable

There are multiple references within Regulation 638 which refer to cleaning. You will need to be adhering to all these requirements and you will need to have proof of when and how you are cleaning your facility and equipment, this is usually done by means of a cleaning schedule or cleaning timetable.

#3 - Building plan/sketch plan/layout plan of premises

The application will require a basic plan of your premises, specifying what the specific areas will be used for (example: scullery, storeroom, change rooms, etc.  This plan will also need to include positions of equipment.

#4 - Copy of current menu

You will need to list and describe what food items you will be preparing, this could be in the form of a menu or an inventory list, as the inspector needs to know what kind of food products will be handled on this premises.

#5 - Identity Document

This is the ID document of the person in charge of the premises. This person’s name will be included on the Certificate of Acceptability, and they will be responsible for ensuring the necessary activities are carried out according to Regulation 638.

#6 - Zoning Certificate of premises

This is specific to your local authority and you will be able to get this from the Town Planning Department of your local municipality to prove that your premises have suitable business rights and is correctly zoned for use.

#7 - List of suppliers

You are responsible to ensure that the ingredients you use in your food products are not contaminated in any way, and you need to know who your suppliers are and what they are providing for traceability purposes.

#8 - Proof of basic training of food handlers and their personal information.

Section 10(b) of Regulation 638 states that “any other person working on the food premises, is suitably qualified or adequately trained in the principles and practices of food safety and hygiene, as appropriate, by an inspector or any other suitable person.”

You will need to have records to prove that this training has taken place, as well as the details of each staff member who was trained.

#9 - Vehicle registration numbers for all delivery vehicles that are used for delivery of foodstuffs to and from the premises.

You will need to provide this because your vehicles will also be covered by your Certificate of Acceptability, and will need to be suitable for the transport of food. Regulation 638 includes multiple references to and requirements for these vehicles, you will need to ensure you comply with these in order for the vehicles to be considered suitable for use.

It is interesting to note of what the regulations considers to be a vehicle.  The definition of a vehicle “means a train, trolley. wagon, cart. bicycle, sled, truck, boat, ship or aircraft, and includes any other craft, vehicle or conveyance used in the handling. storage or transport of food.”

#10 - Your COA Application Form

You will obviously need to complete this and submit it along with the documents above.  Note that EACH different local municipality is different  - they will have their own Application Form, so please contact your local branch to ensure you have the correct documentation!


This is only an example of what ONE municipality requires Make sure to check with your LOCAL Environmental Health Department in the area where your facility is located to find out exactly what they will require from you.

Check out our EHP contact page to find your nearest municipality.

Editor's Note:

You also need to consider your Occupation Certificate and Fire Safety Certificate of Compliance.

Thanks to Gert Deysel for the recommendation!

Related Articles

How do I get a Certificate of Acceptability - COA?

By Food Focus on 30 November 2023
You want to open a food business, but don't know where to start... you need to start by complying with the law. Here are some helpful guidelines to st...

Read more


By Food Focus on 27 June 2018
R638 (Regulations Governing General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises, the Transport of Food and Related Matters) has now been gazetted. This rep...

Read more

Environmental Health Department Contacts

By Food Focus on 23 May 2018
Looking for contact details of Environmental Health Practitioners at your municipality in connection with a Certificate of Acceptability? We don't hav...

Read more

Starting a food business in South Africa-Part 1

By Linda Jackson on 15 March 2018
You have a great recipe for rusks, you want to sell at the local flea market or perhaps you would like to become a home chef? Whatever your food busin...

Read more

Starting a food business in South Africa - Part 2

By Linda Jackson on 15 March 2018
You have a great recipe for rusks, you want to sell at the local flea market or perhaps you would like to become a home chef? Whatever your food busin...

Read more