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Food hygiene inspections - what to expect

We inspect all food businesses that produce, prepare and supply food to the public. This can be part of our progamme of inspections or in response to a complaint. We do not need to make an appointment and will usually visit a food establishment without prior notice.

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What happens during the inspection?

During the inspection we will:

  • talk to the food business operator and the staff about training and normal food preparation practices;
  • examine records such as temperature, cleaning or pest control;
  • examine the food safety management system documentation;
  • observe normal operational procedures;
  • fully inspect the premises, including equipment;
  • take temperatures using our own thermometer

If necessary we may take photographs, samples and can detain or seize food.

What happens after the inspection?

After the inspection you will receive an inspection report and food hygiene rating. 

Where the practices, conditions, or documentation are not satisfactory, every attempt is made to resolve the situation by informal means, but where poor conditions persist, or where there is a risk to public health, we have a duty as the local enforcement authority to implement formal action. This could involve either the service of legal notices; prosecutions; or, in extreme cases, even closure of the business.

How often will my premises be inspected?

This depends on the risk rating given to the premises. The risk rating is based on scores given in a number of areas:

  • the size of production and type of food being handled
  • the number of customers served and how vulnerable they are
  • management of food safety 
  • the standards of repair (structure/equipment), cleanliness and food hygiene practices
  • the history of compliance 

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