Authorised Officers have a right to enter and inspect a food business at all reasonable hours without making an appointment and usually come without advance notice.
Officers are authorised to inspect the premises, inspect food, interview staff, examine records (including computerised records), seize food, take samples and photographs to be used as evidence.
A food inspection will:
Identify and prevent risks to public health
Offer advice about good food hygiene practices
Investigate possible breaches of food hygiene legislation and take action as necessary to get businesses legally compliant
After the Inspection
On completion of the inspection, the Authorised Officer will discuss findings with the person in charge of the food premises. A written report is send to the business operator.
The report will outline all areas in which the business is failing to comply with food hygiene law. It will also outline what action the business operator needs to take in order to be fully compliant with the law.
Included with the report will be the Food Hygiene Rating the business has achieved. Food hygiene ratings can be viewed on Food Standards Agency website.
Where practices or conditions are not satisfactory assistance will be given to the business to help them improve standards and comply with food hygiene law. However, if conditions are not improved or there is a risk to public health, a Statutory Notice may be served on the business operator. Failure to comply with a statutory notice is an offence that, on conviction, could lead to a fine or imprisonment.
If an inspection shows that a business needs to carry out work to improve standards, a single or several follow up visits may be needed. This will not change the Food Hygiene Rating unless you have applied for a re-rating.
Forms and Guidance
The latest food hygiene laws were introduced in January 2006. The most important regulations that apply specifically to Food Businesses are: