Food Safety Inspections

All food businesses in the district are visited on a regular basis - restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, corner shops, warehouses and manufacturers. The frequency of visits depends on the nature of the business and the condition of the premises. The better the management of the business, the less frequently we go.

Visits to premises are carried out, as far as possible, without prior notification and are priority programmed according to the degree of potential risk. This ensures that higher risk premises are visited more frequently than those in lower risk categories. A wide range of options are available to deal with any problems found. These range from just giving advice to prosecution.

What happens during a visit?

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. They will also look at the training of managers and food handlers to ensure that it is suitable, and they will check that the condition of the premises and equipment is satisfactory.

The purpose of an Inspection is:

  • to ensure that food is being handled and produced hygienically
  • to ensure that food is safe to eat
  • to look at the potential risk for food poisoning or injury as a result of food consumption
  • to ensure that the food handling staff are trained in food hygiene and handling practices
  • to inspect the condition of equipment and the premises to ensure there are precautions
  • to prevent pest infestation
  • to ensure that staff are aware of the importance of personal hygiene

Where practices or conditions are not satisfactory, every attempt will be made to resolve the situation by informal means, but 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 service of legal notice, prosecution, or in extreme cases closure of the business.

The proprietor of every food business is responsible for ensuring that their business complies with the relevant legislation.


If you think the outcome is unfair, you have a right of appeal to a magistrate’s court against a hygiene improvement notice. A magistrate must confirm an emergency closure of a business or seizure of food. If it is decided that a premise has been shut without proper reason or food has been wrongly taken away, you have a right to compensation.

For further information please contact the:

Commercial Team
Telephone:  01264 368000