Food safety inspections

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.

Find out more about food law inspections and your business from The Food Standards Agency (FSA).

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.

Use the food fraud resilience self-assessment tool.