Food Inspections and Interventions

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Environmental Health Officers conduct routine inspections of food businesses including retail, catering and manufacturing establishments.  The aim of inspections is to ensure that food business operators understand their legal responsibilities, ensure that the food they supply is safe and to check compliance with the law. Officers may also visit premises as a result of a complaint or food poisoning investigation or to obtain samples of food for testing in a laboratory.

Frequency of Inspections

The frequency of routine inspections is based on the perceived risk ie type of food handled, the processing method used, and our confidence in how the business is being managed. This approach helps target our resources to where they are needed most and reduces the inspection burden on better businesses.

Officer’s Powers

Under food safety legislation Officers have a right to enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours. They do not have to make an appointment and will usually come without giving advance notice. Officers have the power to take samples, photographs, inspect records and seize or detain food.

Officers may write to food business operators informally asking them to put right any problems they find in the course of an inspection. Where breaches of the law are identified that must be put right they may serve an improvement notice.  In serious cases officers may recommend prosecution and where there is an imminent health risk to consumers, officers can serve an emergency prohibition notice which prohibits the use of premises or equipment.

Further information can be found in the Council's Enforcement Policy.