Food premises inspections

Inspection procedure

During an inspection officers will want to reassure themselves that potential food safety risks have been identified by the business and that there are adequate controls in place to prevent any problems.


Training of managers and food handlers

They will also look at this to ensure that it is suitable and sufficient for the tasks they are doing in their work. They will check that the condition of the premises and equipment is satisfactory.


When will the inspection happen?

Officers have a right to enter and inspect a food business at all reasonable hours. They do not need to make an appointment and usually visit without advance notice.


What powers do the officers have?

They have the power to inspect a premise, inspect food and examine records (including computerised records). They can seize and detain food, take samples and take photographs to be used as evidence.

Officers will check any written records of deliveries, suppliers, temperatures of stored products in refrigeration and cooking temperature records if cooking takes place.

The management must also have records of cleaning schedules, stock control, staff training and a written risk assessment of their business.

The general cleanliness and repair standards will be assessed along with the standard of equipment and fittings. Evidence of pest control and correct refuse disposal will be examined and any member of staff may be questioned about operations they perform at work.

All areas associated with the business may be checked including staff changing rooms, storage areas, preparation areas and staff areas and facilities.


What if practices or conditions are not satisfactory?

Every attempt will be made to resolve the situation by informal means in line with our enforcement policy. The Environmental Health enforcement policy (PDF, 237 KB) is available to download.

Where poor conditions persist, or where there is a risk to public health, it may be necessary to resort to formal action. This could involve either the serving of legal notice, prosecution, or in extreme cases closure of the business.