What are the laws and insurances needed when it comes to selling wild food?

Q: I have been asked by various people to give them ferreted rabbits for them to eat. My local butcher, whom I used to supply, has told me that I need this certificate and that insurance to supply rabbits to the public. Is he scaremongering or is this true? If it is, is there a way around this legal problem of selling wild food?

Hunters exemption for wild food

A: Unfortunately your butcher is right. The sale of food is governed by laws and insurances but when it comes to wild game, we have a legal loophole called the hunters’ exemption. If it is just a few people eating at home, then very few people adhere to the law. When ferreters sell a few eating rabbits for food or barter for the odd pint, what 
you see is what you get. If you want 
to provide pubs or restaurants with rabbits, even with the hunters’ exemption the rabbits will have to 
be prepared in an environment that passes all the local authority’s food 
and hygiene inspections and criteria.

The hunters’ exemption is when you are the one — or part of a team — who has harvested wild game. You need 
to register with your local authority 
as a food business, have a preparation area that passes all inspections, have a legal means of disposing of the waste and be able to document every rabbit prepared and processed, where and when and who received them. Traceability is the most important word in this process. Do you need insurance to sell the odd rabbit? That is something you would have to look into.

For more information on this, 
BASC, the Countryside Alliance and 
the Food Standards Agency have sections on their websites. 

  1. 1. Hunters exemption for wild food
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