Food hygiene inspections

Our officers are authorised under food law to visit food businesses and we have the right to enter and inspect all food premises at all reasonable hours. This can mean inspections being carried out in the evening if these are your normal trading hours. We do not have to make appointments to inspect.

Inspections may either be planned as part of the routine inspection program or carried out when we visit to investigate a complaint e.g. an allegation of food poisoning, poor hygiene or that food has been sold containing foreign material. When we visit our officers will be checking that you are complying with food law please read the Food Standards Agency information on food safety inspections. If you are unsure of what is required, you should look at information provided at our starting a food business page. At the time of our visit you can expect us to:

  • be courteous
  • show you official identification
  • give feedback following the inspection on what can be done to improve hygiene and also what practices and hygiene management systems are working well
  • make a clear distinction between what is required by law and what is recommended as good practice
  • provide written reasons explaining any action they will be taking including the relevant section of the Act or Regulation
  • give you a reasonable time to comply with any legal requirements unless the matter is of serious risk to Public Safety, in which case a more immediate solution will be discussed
  • tell you the procedure for appealing against any action or requesting a second opinion

We can offer you advice and assistance on Food Safety issues and in the first instance wish to work in partnership with local food businesses to protect the public.

At the conclusion of the inspection we will leave a handwritten report which details any works which are necessary. Our findings at the time of the visit is used to provide a rating score for the business. This score is used to calculate when the next intervention will be undertaken and provide you with your food hygiene rating. For more details visit the our food hygiene rating scheme page.

The frequency of planned inspections depends very much on the potential risk posed by your type of business, along with the level of hygiene, structure, management control and the previous standards. Higher risk businesses should expect to be inspected every 6 months - 12 months, medium risk businesses, 18 months - 24 months and the lowest risk businesses will be contacted by letter, email or phone at least every 36 months.

For further information and advice please contact the Food and Safety Team: eandr@nfdc.gov.uk.

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