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Food business inspections

If you run a business that makes or prepares food the council will carry out regular checks on your food business to help you comply with the food hygiene law, to ensure the public is protected and that high standards are maintained.


Following the latest government and Food Standards Agency advice on social distancing, our food safety officers are not currently conducting routine food hygiene inspections or Food Hygiene Rating Scheme requests for re-rating inspections under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. Some food business operations have been required to close to safeguard the public.

Before you start  or resume trading as a food business,  please check for up to date advice on the current situation, using our Business Support pages.  GOV.UK have produced some guidance 'Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do'.

During an inspection officers will undertake a range of checks including;

  • Reviewing the content, suitability and implementation of your HACCP or other food management system
  • Inspecting the condition of your premise and the standard of cleaning
  • Assessing your food handling processes for example, cross contamination controls
  • Assessing the level of food hygiene knowledge you and your staff demonstrate
  • Assessing the effectiveness of food safety controls for high risk processes

During an inspection officers will undertake a range of checks including;

  • Assessing any food labels for compliance with legal requirements
  • Sampling foods you make or sell  against descriptions and legal requirements
  • Checking the ingredients of foods you make or sell to ensure they are safe
  • Assessing the systems you have in place to ensure the safety of food
  • Assessing that you have steps in place to monitor traceability and recalls

Further information can be found on the Food standards Agency website 


Once you have registered your food business we aim to inspect your business within 28 days from the day you start trading.

After your first inspection your business will receive a risk rating which will be used to determine how often we carry out a routine food hygiene inspection. 

Visits to premises are carried out, as far as possible, unannounced and are prioritised according to the degree of potential risk.

Low risk businesses will be inspected least frequently and high risk most frequently.  

High6 months
12 months
18 months
Low36 months

Normally an inspection will be unannounced unless you operate from your own home.  

Where is it is not possible to carry out an unannounced inspection an officer may make an appointment.  

Officers carry out unannounced inspections to ensure they get an accurate impression of how the business operates.  


All registered food businesses will normally receive an inspection, however very low risk businesses may receive a self-assessment questionnaire.    

A self-assessment questionnaire allows the Food & Safety Team to assess your food handling activities, any specific food safety advice you might need and whether an officer inspection is an urgent priority. Completing the questionnaire may negate the need for an officer to conduct a physical inspection of your food premises.


Advisory visits, as they are known, are only carried out in exceptional circumstances. In most cases advice can be provided over the phone where it is not available on the internet.

If you want to request an advisory visit you contact the food safety team.


Enforcement will be carried out in accordance with Public Protections Enforcement Policy


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Last updated: 25 March 2020 | Last reviewed: 25 March 2020