Food premises

Food premises inspections and hygiene rating scheme

We routinely inspect and check the hygiene, structure, equipment and food handling techniques of all food premises in the Borough, this includes any premises where food is sold, distributed, manufactured, processed, prepared or handled. Our Officers will always carry identification.

Our inspections are nearly always unannounced so that we can check that food business operators are complying with the law. Advanced notice will be given to domestic premises and premises where security is an issue. Our officers have the right to enter any premises during all reasonable hours (when the business is open or when food is being handled in relation to that business).

As a result of our inspections all businesses, receive a risk rating score determining when the next inspection will be. Each business will received advice on good hygiene practice and any legal issues which need to be addressed will be raised.

Our Officers have the power to take samples and photographs, and inspect records; it is an offence to obstruct an Officer.

Following the inspection, the Officer has several options available:

  1. They may write to you informally asking you to put right any problems they find or with advice
  2. When breaches of the law are identified, which must be put right, Officers have the power to serve a hygiene improvement notice
  3. Officers can detain or seize suspect food
  4. In serious cases, Officers may decide to recommend a prosecution. If the prosecution is successful the Court may impose prohibitions on processes, the use of the premises or equipment, as well as fines and possibly imprisonment.

If there is an imminent health risk to consumers, officers can serve a hygiene emergency prohibition notice which immediately forbids the use of the premises or equipment. Such a notice must subsequently be confirmed by the Court.

Hygiene rating
Since April 2011, all food businesses within our Borough have been scored on the Food Standards Agency’s National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. These scores are published by the Food Standards Agency

All businesses will be notified of their rating either at the end of the inspection or within 14 days of the date of the inspection. Appeals, replies and revisit requests are dealt with by the Food Standard Agency