Food safety for businesses

Food hygiene inspections

Qualified food officers from the Council are required to inspect food businesses regularly. They check food is being handled and produced hygienically and is safe to eat. They will also identify any foreseeable risks of food poisoning or injury which might arise if the food is eaten.

Visits are usually carried out without prior notification. However, officers will make an appointment where the food business operates from a domestic premises.

The inspectors will carry out the following checks:

  • the condition of your premises
  • the kinds of food you handle, make or prepare
  • how you work and the training given to food handlers
  • your food safety management system

After a food hygiene inspection, your food business will be given a hygiene rating based on compliance with food law at the time of the visit.

Our inspectors will always try to resolve any problems informally. However, where there is a risk to public health, formal action may be necessary. This could involve the serving of a legal notice, prosecution, or in extreme cases closure of the business.

For more information on hygiene inspections and enforcement please visit Food safety inspections and enforcement | Food Standards Agency

How often do we inspect premises?

This will depend on the public health risk posed by the business. It can vary from six months (high risk) to 36 months (low risk category E). Scores are based on the following criteria:

  • type of food prepared, method of handling and whether a high-risk process is used (e.g. vacuum packing or cook-chill processes)
  • the number of consumers at risk and whether they are a high-risk group (e.g. young children, pregnant women, the elderly or immuno-suppressed)
  • compliance with legislation and codes of practice, including hygiene controls and structural requirements
  • confidence in management systems such as documented food safety controls called Safer Food, Better Business

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