When you have registered your food business the details will be entered into our system. An inspection of your premises is required to ensure that you are following food law requirements.
You will be assessed as to what type of inspection your business requires. This will either be one that looks at all of your business practices and processes, or one that focuses only on certain aspects of your business.
Your inspection will be assigned to one of our Environmental Health Officers, or an authorised officer contracted to carry inspections on our behalf, and will normally be unannounced. The Officer will always identify themselves and show you their official authorisation.
The officer will be looking at certain things such as how you store ingredients, where they are stored, the layout of your premises and where wash hand basins are situated.
They will want to see a written, step by step, food safety management system when they carry out your inspection to demonstrate how you provide safe food. They will also check that these procedures are being followed by your staff, should you employ any.
The timescale of your inspection is determined on whether your practices have been assessed as high risk or low risk.
Safer Food, Better Business (SFBB)
To assist you with your written management system, the Food Standards Agency has designed specific types of food safety management system packs, which are available on the website for:
- residential care homes
- Indian cuisine
- Chinese cuisine
- Chinese cuisine translated into Cantonese
- catering students
Each pack contains a diary where essential information is recorded such as:
- staff training record
- suppliers' list
- contact list
- cleaning schedule
- prove it records
- diary review
Safer Food, Better Business follow-on diaries are available to collect from us priced at £9.60. This includes diary review sheets for a year.
You, or a member of staff acting on your behalf, will be given a copy of the inspection report at the end of the visit. It may be posted to you shortly after depending on the type of inspection that has been carried out at your business.
The report will contain items that you must put right by law (L), and items that are recommended improvements (R). There will be timescales allocated to each item that requires rectifying.
Food hygiene training
As a food business operator you must ensure by law, that any food handlers that you employ have received the appropriate supervision and instruction/training in food hygiene to enable them to handle food safely.
You may wish to consider enrolling them on one of our nationally accredited Level 2 food hygiene courses.
Food hygiene rating scheme
Since customers are increasingly aware of the food hygiene scheme and actively look for positive ratings when choosing where to eat, many food businesses display their hygiene rating on a window sticker. It’s proven that ‘good food hygiene is good for business’ and many say this has resulted in greater customer confidence, better reputation and increased customer numbers.
The scoring is carried out using Food Standards Agency’s Food Code of Practice and Food Hygiene Rating brand standard and the main focus is on:
- standards of hygiene
- structure of the building
- confidence in management and the written systems
Your rating will also determine how often your business will be inspected, or whether it may be more suitable for you to complete a self-assessment questionnaire in the future.
If your type of business is included in the scheme, at the end of your inspection you will be given a sticker to display in your premises. After we have processed and updated our database with your inspection report information, we upload the data and your rating will then be displayed on the Food Standards Agency ratings website.
Types of food business included in the scheme
Most food businesses that supply food directly to the consumer are included in the scheme including:
- restaurants, cafes and takeaways
- shops, delicatessens and supermarkets
- care homes, hotels and pubs
Businesses not included in the scheme are those that hold personal information, for example, a childminder. Some businesses are still included in our food hygiene inspection programme even though they may not be part of the hygiene rating scheme. These premises include those selling only low risk food, and manufacturers who do not supply food directly to the consumer.
Request a food business re-rating
If your inspection report only required minor improvements, once the necessary works have been carried out you can apply for your premises to be re-rated.
If your application is accepted, the fee for this service is £150, and the inspection will be carried out within 20 working days of receiving your application. Please contact us for further information regarding this process.
Food business ratings 2 & below
If your business receives a rating of 2 or below, you will be revisited in accordance with our enforcement policy.
Our officers will continue to work with your business in a fair and consistent manner, until you meet the required standards to comply with the law. We will also try to help you meet your legal obligations without unnecessary expense.
These visits will not alter the rating of your business; they are to ensure you comply with the law. Once you meet the required standards you will be able to apply for a re-rating (fee of £150).
If your business still does not comply with the relevant standards, enforcement action will be taken where necessary. This may mean prosecution when there is a serious breach of the law and when people act irresponsibly. This may result in a court appearance and, if found guilty, receiving a fine or even a prison sentence.
Food business rating appeals procedure
Forms are available on the Food Standards Agency website should you be unhappy and wish to appeal against your rating. This must be done within 21 days of your inspection. You also have the ‘right to reply’ about the reason for your rating, where your comments can be published on the website. The completed forms should be returned to us.