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A Certificate of Acceptability (COA) is a food handling business permit that confirms that a food “handling” Business is conforming to basic food safety and hygiene requirements. It is important to note that it is mandatory to have a certificate of acceptability issued under regulation R638 of 2018 if a Business handles any type of food that is included in the scope of the regulation.



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Foodstuff, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act (Act 54 of 1972), (Regulations Governing General Hygiene Requirements for
Food Premises, the Transport of Food and Related Matters) under Regulation R638:2018.

A Certificate of Acceptability, popularly known as a COA or a food business permit applies throughout the country and is a compliance certificate issued by The Department of Environmental Management with the local Metropolitan Councils, District Councils, or the Local Town Municipality depending on the location of the Business.

The Department of Environmental Management in Metropolitan, District, and or Local Town Municipalities departments are responsible for the issuing, annual renewing, and year-round inspections of food handling businesses and premises.

Compliance with the main regulatory requirements by Business owners;

✔ Duties and training of a person in charge of the food premises. (Manager and Owner)
✔ Staff food handler’s training.
✔ Business and premises structure compliance pertaining to environmental health.
✔ Suitability of food preparation equipment.
✔ Temperature requirements for the storage and preparation of Foodstuff.
✔ Product traceability information.
✔ Waste management.
✔ Pest control and record keeping.
✔ Health hazards that could potentially contaminate the food.


A Certificate of Acceptability License or Application is not transferable at the change of ownership (When the Business is Sold) or from one premise to another (When the Business is relocated). The Certificate of Acceptability License is “Renewable”, by the Metropolitan Councils, Local Town Municipalities, or District Councils, depending on the geographical area and by-laws of the Council and or Municipality.

Annual Renewal of Certificate of Acceptability License:

  • Franchise Businesses – Renewal Every Second Year
  • Privately Owned Businesses – Renewable Annually

A Certificate of Acceptability License can be withdrawn or suspended if not complying with endorsements. Once the health license has been granted, your premises may be inspected from time to time.