The inspection will ensure that food businesses are complying with the law.  Food must be handled and produced in a hygienic and safe way within a suitable clean premises.  The produced food must be safe to eat.

The inspection will be carried out without notice.  The inspector does not need to make an appointment, they have the right to enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours.

When the inspector arrives they will introduce themselves and show you identification and will remain polite throughout the visit.

The inspector will always give you feedback on an inspection.  This includes any problems they have identified and will advise you on how the problems can be put right.  They will highlight whether you must carry out work to comply with the law or whether it is good practice.

The inspector will always follow the inspection with a report outlining the issues found along with the legislation which is being breached and timescales to rectify the problems. You will be given a reasonable time to address these issues unless there is an immediate risk to public health.

If the business is eligible under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme a food hygiene rating will also be issued based upon the inspection.

If the food business is being run from a domestic premises the officer will give 24 hours’ notice before the inspection is due to take place.

The food inspector may:

  • Take photographs of food, the premises or equipment.
  • Take samples of food.
  • Examine paperwork and records.
  • Detain or seize suspect food.
  • Serve a Hygiene Improvement Notice where a breach of law is not rectified legally requiring the issues to be addressed.
  • Serve an Emergency Hygiene Prohibition Notice if there is an imminent risk preventing the use of a premises or equipment.
  • Prosecution

The frequency of food hygiene and safety inspections is based upon a risk assessment and range from 6 months to 3 years.

Some food premises and businesses present a higher risk to the consumer than others. Those food businesses who pose a higher risk to consumers will be inspected more frequently than those with a lower risk.

The factors which are taken into account for the risk assessment are:

  • The type of business
  • The nature of the food
  • The degree of food handling
  • The size of the business
  • The standard of hygienic practices, structure and paperwork.

Food businesses may be inspected more frequently if it is considered appropriate due to factors such as justified complaints being received or poor practices being identified.