Food safety inspections

We inspect businesses that produce or prepare food for the public to make sure that it is safe to eat.

When will a food inspector visit?

An inspector will visit your business as part of a routine inspection or because we have received a complaint.

How often we visit depends on the type of business and its previous compliance record.

Inspectors have the right to enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours. They do not have to make an appointment and will usually visit without notice.

What will the inspector do when they visit?

Our inspectors will:

always give you feedback on their inspection

  • discuss any hazards they have identified with you

  • advise you what action you can take to avoid hazards.

We will give you a reasonable amount of time to make changes, except where there is an immediate risk to public health.

What action will an inspector take?

Our inspectors can take action to protect the public. For example, we can:

  • take samples and photographs of food, and inspect your records
  • serve a hygiene improvement notice setting out what you legally need to do
  • detain or seize suspect foods
  • serve a hygiene emergency prohibition notice which forbids the use of premises or equipment
  • recommend a prosecution in serious cases.

If a prosecution is successful, the Court may ban a person from managing a food business. It could also lead to a fine or imprisonment.

After your inspection

Following an inspection, we will give your business a food hygiene rating using the Food Standards Agency’s Food Hygiene Rating System. The scoring ranges from 0 to 5, with 5 being ‘very good’ and 0 being ‘poor.’ To find out more about the rating system please read the Food Standards Agency’s guide.

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