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Food safety for businesses

Pay for an inspection to get a new FHRS rating. Find out what you need to know about inspections, paid re-visits, guidance and enforcement.

Last updated: 22 December 2022

Next review: 22 December 2023

Inspections

Inspections are undertaken by Environmental Health Officers from the Food Safety Team. The frequency of inspections depends on the nature of the business and the condition of the premises at the last inspection. Inspections are carried out without prior notification.

All inspections are carried out in accordance with the Food Standard Agency's Code of Practice to ensure compliance with food law. 

FHRS ratings are provided following inspections, from 5 (very good) down to 0 (urgent improvement necessary), in accordance with the FSA Brand Standard. A good food hygiene rating can help you keep your customers locally and via online apps.

Ratings are then published (for example, those in Waltham Forest), so that customers can make informed decisions. 

How to request a re-visit

You can ask for a re-visit following an inspection to get a new FHRS rating.

NB: DO NOT use this payment if you are a new business waiting your first inspection

Re-visits are carried out without prior notification, within three months of receipt of your application form and fee payment. Re-visits ratings can go up, down or remain the same.

There is a charge of £294.00 for a re-visit:

Food Business Guidance

For food business guidance in relation to, starting a food business, running a business, provision of a suitable HACCP, applying for authorisation or approval and Industry-specific advice:

Food safety enforcement

Informal action:

  • Food safety advice will be given by the Environmental Health Officer at the time of the inspection and contraventions will be discussed with the Food Business Operator or person left in charge of the business.
  • At the time of the inspection the Environmental Health Officer will provide a written report detailing improvements needed and failures to comply with regulations.

Formal action:

  • If improvements are required, it may be necessary to serve a notice to ensure the business improves.
  • If an officer identifies a serious problem, where there is an imminent risk to public health, (e.g. a serious pest infestation or where there is a significant risk of food becoming contaminated), then it may be necessary to close a business until the risk is removed.
  • Other formal actions include the detention, seizure and disposal of food.
  • Certain situations and offences may result in prosecution.
  • It's a criminal offence not to comply with a notice. In serious cases we can prosecute. If a prosecution is successful, the court can impose a fine. In cases where there is a history of serious non-compliance, we can apply to the court for the operator of the food business to be banned from operating.
  • In making a decision to take enforcement action, consideration is always given to our Enforcement Policy.

Export certificates

We can provide export certificates for certain types of food and beverages, such as:

• Food not of animal origin
• Certain composite products (processed animal products combined with products not of animal origin)
• Manufactured food and drinks

The exporter is responsible for finding out what requirements are in place in the destination country before applying for a certificate. For example, they may require the certificate in a certain format or with standard wording. This information can be sought from the customer, embassy or trade representative. Errors on an export certificate may result your good being rejected.

This certificate can be requested if the destination country requires extra reassurance about the safety of a batch or consignment.

The premises and the goods may need to be inspected before a certificate is issued. The food product may also need to be analysed by an independent laboratory. It is the exporter’s responsibility to arrange and pay for this.

Request an export certificate

The fee is £112.50