Environmental Health Officers carry out programmed food hygiene inspections of food premises within the Borough to ensure compliance with current food hygiene legislation.
Regular checks are made to ensure that the public is protected and that standards of food safety and hygiene are maintained. Visits are programmed and carried out, as far as possible, without prior notice. The frequency of inspections depends on the level of risk, the type of premises and their past record on a frequency laid down by Central Government guidance.
The purpose of inspections
Officers carry out inspections of premises in order to:
- Ensure that food business operators are carrying out their duties under food legislation.
- Help businesses improve their management of food issues by giving guidance and advice.
- Investigate food hygiene and food safety complaints.
- Investigate premises implicated in food poisoning outbreaks.
The powers that inspectors have
- Officers have the right to enter and inspect premises at all reasonable hours. They do not have to make an appointment and will usually visit without advance notice. They will look at the way the business is operated, identify potential hazards and make sure it complies with the law. They discuss any problems and advise on possible solutions. If it is necessary to protect the public they can also:
- Take samples and photographs and inspect records.
- Detain or seize suspect food.
- Serve hygiene improvement notices where breaches of the law are identified.
- In serious cases, carry out a prosecution.
- Where there is an imminent risk, serve a hygiene emergency prohibition notice which forbids the use of the premises or equipment.