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Food safety inspections

Food safety inspections

Food law, inspections and businesses in the food industry

The Food Safety Act 1990 and regulations made under it aim to make sure all food offered to the public is safe to eat and properly described. 

Our main role is to help people to produce safe food. Environmental health officers check on food safety and hygiene, while trading standards officers concentrate on food composition and labelling. We inspect any stage of the production, manufacturing, distribution and retail sale of food. We give advice and guidance to the public on issues of food hygiene and the investigation of outbreaks of food poisoning and notifiable diseases.

Inspections

Officers have the right to enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours. They do not have to make an appointment and they will usually come without advance notice. They carry out routine inspections and may also visit as a result of a complaint.

Find out more about inspections and your business on FOOD.GOV.UK:

Make a complaint

If you do not agree with action taken by the inspector, you can make a complaint.

If you think the council is applying the law in a different way from others, you can seek advice from the Local Authorities Co-ordinating Body on Food and Trading Standards (LACOTS) either through your trade association or the council. You have the right to appeal at a magistrates court against an improvement notice or a refusal by the council to lift an emergency prohibition order made earlier by the court. A magistrates court must confirm the emergency closure of a business or the seizure of food. If magistrates decide premises have been shut without a good reason or that food has been wrongly seized or detained, you have a right to compensation.