When we carry out your first inspection, we will give your business:

  • a risk rating
  • a food hygiene rating

Your risk rating relates to the type of food business you have, and will determine how often we carry out inspections in the future.

Your food hygiene rating will reflect:

  • how hygienically you prepare food
  • the condition of your premises, including the cleanliness
  • how you manage your business to make sure food is safe

The Food Standards Agency will publish your food hygiene rating, to tell your customers about the food safety of your business.

Food hygiene inspections

We carry out food hygiene inspections: 

  • based on your risk rating
  • if we receive a complaint about your food business

We do not normally make an appointment to carry out an inspection. We can make an inspection at any reasonable time. This is generally at the time you are operating, and could be in the evening or at the weekend.

If you operate from a private (domestic) premises, we will give you prior notice of our inspection.

If we need to talk to you in detail about a new business, we will make an appointment.

When we visit for an inspection you have a legal obligation to let us enter the premises, and refusal is a criminal offence.

During the inspection, we will:

  • talk to you and your staff about training and normal food preparation practices
  • look at allergen handling (you can find information about allergen labelling changes on the Food Standards Agency website)
  • look at records, including temperature, cleaning and pest control
  • check that you have carried out works that you needed to do from a previous inspection
  • look at food safety management system documentation
  • observe normal operational procedures
  • fully inspect the premises and equipment
  • take hot and cold temperatures using our own thermometer

After the inspection, we will:

  • discuss our findings with you, or a senior member of staff
  • leave a summary report of our inspection
  • issue your food hygiene rating, which the Food Standards Agency will then publish 
  • write a detailed letter explaining what you need to do to comply with the law, if necessary
  • serve a formal Improvement Notice if necessary, giving you a period of time to carry out the specified actions
  • serve an Emergency Prohibition Notice if there is an imminent risk to health, with a view to closing the premises
  • collect evidence to prosecute if you have not complied with a previous notice or if there is a serious level of non-compliance

If you disagree with your food hygiene rating you can, reply to your rating, request a re-inspection or appeal the rating.

We carry out inspections using the Food Standards Agency Codes of Practice.

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