Food businesses are inspected by food safety officers to make sure they're clean and that food is safe to eat. Visits may be routine or can be because a complaint has been made.
What to expect with an inspection
- We'll visit your business without an appointment and carry out an inspection.
- We have a right to enter food premises and you're breaking the law if you prevent the inspection.
- We'll always introduce ourselves and explain what we're there for.
- During the visit we may visit all areas, talk to anyone working there, take samples, take photographs and if necessary take food.
- We may ask to see paperwork such as Safer Food Better Business (SFBB), training records, pest control reports, and receipts.
- At the end we'll talk through the visit. We'll explain what was good and what wasn't. For things that need to be put right we'll discuss a time limit to get the work done .
- We'll leave you a report or post/email you one later.
All unsatisfactory results are investigated and, where necessary, action is taken to prevent risks to health.
The formal action we can take
- Give you a report with things to do that are required by law.
- Serve you with a Hygiene Improvement Notice - this is a legal notice which tells you what's wrong, how to put it right and by when.
- Remove food that's unsafe or has something wrong with it.
- Prosecute you if there are serious things wrong.
- Close the business immediately if there's a severe problem, for example: the food isn't safe, the premise is too dirty or there's a rat problem.
National food incidents
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) notify us of all national food incidents and list them on their website.
Notifications fall into two categories:
- those which require action by us to ensure public safety
- those which are just for information and have no immediate cause for concern.
In cases of product withdrawal or recall, producers and/or retailers may also issue their own statement advising consumers.
Food fraud resilience self-assessment tool
The National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) have developed a food fraud resilience self-assessment tool, offering businesses the opportunity to self-check their awareness of and resilience to food crime. Using the self-assessment tool can help you avoid being a victim of food crime and so better protect the public.