Learn more about Food Hygiene Inspections and what to expect when an inspector visits.
When will I be inspected?

All food businesses are subject to inspection when they start trading and at regular intervals afterwards, according to the risk they present.

The frequency of inspection is determined by the 'risk rating' given to the premises at the previous inspection. Most premises receive an inspection every one to two years, however, premises judged to be 'low risk' are subject to an 'alternative enforcement activity.' This means they will receive an alternative type of enforcement to an inspection.

What happens after?

Learn more about Food Hygiene Inspections and what to expect when an inspector visits.

At the end of an inspection, you can expect a clear explanation from the officer of any works required.

The officer will provide a report of the inspection together with confirmation remedial actions to be taken, if any, and will allow enough time for you to make changes unless there is an immediate risk to public health.

In addition, based on the factors above following the inspection the authorised officer will award the premises with a food hygiene rating from 0 (Urgent Improvement is Required) to 5 (Hygiene Standards are Very Good).

For more information please visit the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme website.

What to expect

Officers can enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours and you may request they show their authorisation.

  • Officers will introduce themselves and explain the purpose of the visit.
  • Officers will behave in a courteous manner.
  • Officers will ask you questions, make observations throughout the food rooms and may also speak to members of your staff. They may ask you to show them documentation relevant to the food business.
Will it be announced?

The Food Services team is required to operate to the Food Law Code of Practice and Practice Guidance. This stipulates that most inspections are carried out unannounced during the hours of operation of the business. In some circumstances, however, appointments to carry out an inspection have to be made. 

Inspectors carry out routine inspections and may also visit as a result of a complaint.

Enforcement powers

Inspectors have the right to enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours.

Upon arrival, an inspector will introduce themselves and produce their identification badge to the person in charge. The inspector will discuss the purpose and scope of the visit and what they intend to do.

The inspector will discuss the purpose and scope of the visit and what they intend to do. This can involve, amongst other things:

  • looking at food products on the shelves, in fridges and freezers
  • checking menus
  • looking at paperwork
  • talking to staff

Inspectors will look at the way you run your business to spot any hazards and to make sure it complies with the law. They will discuss any problems with you and advise on any solutions.

They also have powers they can use, when they think it is needed, to protect the public. They have the power to:

  • take samples, photos, and inspect records
  • purchase, detain or seize suspect foods
  • serve enforcement notices which may require improvements to be made or prohibit food business operations, processes or equipment from being used.
  • where the decision is taken to prosecute the court may impose fines and/or a prison term.

Any action taken will be in accordance with the Council's enforcement policy.

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