We carry out inspections of food premises to identify any potential food safety hazards and ensure compliance with food hygiene and food standards legislation. The purpose of these inspections are to:
- Identify and prevent risks to public health,
- Investigate any possible breaches of food hygiene and food standards legislation and take action as necessary to ensure compliance,
- Ensure food is not presented in a way that misleads the consumer,
- Offer advice on good practice.
We carry out routine food safety inspections and may also visit as a result of a complaint. The frequency of routine inspections depends on the potential risk posed by the type of business and its previous record. The frequency of inspection can vary between every 6 months to every 3 years.
Environmental Health and Trading Standards Officers have a right to enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours without making an appointment and usually come without advance notice.
Officers are authorised to inspect the premises, inspect food, examine records (such as computerised records), seize or detain food, take samples and photographs to be used as evidence.
After the Inspection
Once the inspection is completed, the inspecting officer will discuss the findings with the person in charge of the premises. They will produce a report and send it to the business operator (usually within 14 days).
The report will outline all areas in which the business is failing to comply with food safety legislation and will outline what action the business operator needs to take in order to be fully compliant with the law. The report will also detail any recommendations providing advice on good practice.
Included with the report will be the food hygiene rating the business has achieved (where appropriate).
What happens next?
Where practices or conditions are not satisfactory we will try to work with the business to help them improve standards and comply with food safety law. However, if conditions are not improved or there is a risk to public health we may need to serve the business operator with a statutory notice. Failure to comply with a notice is an offence that, on conviction, could lead to a fine or imprisonment.
If an inspection shows that a business needs to carry out work to improve standards, a single or several follow up visits may be needed. Your food hygiene rating will not change after these visits unless you have applied for a re-rating.