We inspect the premises of all food businesses registered with us. This is to ensure that you are following food law requirements.
Inspections are carried out by our Environmental Health Officers or an authorised officer contracted to carry out inspections on our behalf. They will normally be unannounced.
The timescale of your inspection is determined on whether your practices have been assessed as high risk or low risk.
About the inspection
During the inspection, the officer will be looking at things such as:
- Food handling practices of staff
- Structure, facilities, cleanliness and pest control arrangements
- Food hygiene management and training
They will also want to see a written, step-by-step, food safety management system (FSMS), including a diary where opening and closing checks are recorded. This system will demonstrate how you provide safe food and will also check that these procedures are followed by any staff you employ.
However, if you run a smaller business such as a corner shop selling only low risk or wrapped food, simple records such as temperature records, pest control records and cleaning schedules etc will be sufficient.
The Food Standards Agency have therefore developed various packs entitled Safer Food Better Business (SFBB) available on their website for you to download and print. Alternatively you can purchase FSMS/SFBB packs from online retailers.
Whether you download or purchase your SFBB pack please ensure that it is the latest version and therefore contains up to date guidance eg. allergen advice.
Safer Food, Better Business diary refill packs
If you are using a diary from one of the food safety management packs produced by the Food Standards Agency, you can now purchase a diary refill pack from us online. The refill packs include diary sheets for a full year.
These cost £9.60 (inc VAT) if you collect, or £13.20 (inc VAT) if you want us to post it to your business address.
Contact us if you need more information.
Inspection results & hygiene ratings
Following the inspection you will receive a report which will contain items that you must put right by law and items that are recommended improvements. There will be timescales allocated to each item that requires rectifying.
If your business is included in the food hygiene rating scheme you will be given a rating sticker. You must display this latest sticker in your premises unless you intend to appeal against the rating. When your report has been entered onto our systems your rating will be uploaded to the Food Standards Agency ratings website.
Publishing your hygiene rating early
You can give consent for your food hygiene inspection rating to be published on the Food Standards Agency website before the end of the appeal period. This means that your rating is visible to customers and suppliers sooner. You can also start operating on online food ordering services earlier.
Follow up inspections
If your business receives a rating of 2 or below in the food hygiene rating scheme you will be re-visited 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.
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.
Request a visit for the purposes of food hygiene re-rating
Once you have carried out the required improvements identified in your inspection you can apply online for your premises to be re-rated. The fee for this service is £150. You will need to provide us with details of improvement actions you have taken.
If your application is accepted, we will make an unannounced visit within 3 months of receipt of your request and payment. You will be given a new food hygiene rating based on the level of compliance found at the time of our visit; which could mean that your rating could go up, remain the same or go down.