POWERS OF ENTRY AND FOOD SAFETY INSPECTIONS
What businesses will be inspected?
Any business that prepares or produces food for the public will be inspected. This can range from ships to hotels and B&Bs, to supermarkets, to small retail shops, slaughterhouses to butcheries, to food stalls and vendors, to bakeries, to domestic premises where cakes are baked.
Who will inspect my business and why?
Officers from the Health Directorate’s Environmental Health Section are the Authorised Officers (inspectors) who will check on food hygiene and standards. Businesses will be inspected to make sure that food is safe to eat and that the description of food doesn’t mislead the consumer.
When will my business be inspected?
Inspectors might come on a routine inspection for which they will give ample notice, or if visiting because of a complaint they will visit without an appointment. The officers will have a right to enter and inspect food premises at any reasonable hour.
What will the inspectors do when they visit?
The Inspectors will look how you operate your business to identify potential hazards and to make sure that your business is following the food safety law. The inspectors will follow the Inspectorate Code of Practice and will show identification if necessary and be polite throughout the visit. They will give you feedback on the inspection, tell you about any hazards they have identified and give necessary advice. When giving advice, the Inspectors will tell you whether you need to do something to comply with the law (a requirement) or whether it would simply be good practice to do something (a recommendation).
The Inspectors will give a reasonable amount of time for changes to be made, except where there is immediate risk to public health. They will also tell you how you can appeal their decisions.
How often will the Inspectors visit?
The frequency of inspections of food premises is based upon risk assessment. Some food premises and businesses will present a higher risk to the consumer than others. This is dependent upon a number of factors, such as the type of food business, the nature of the food, the degree of handling and the size of the business. Those premises posing a higher risk to the consumer are likely to be inspected more frequently than those premises with a lower risk. Food premises will be inspected within the range of at least every 12 months (eg. food manufacturers) to at least every 24 months (eg. vegetable shops).
These are only minimum inspection frequencies and the Inspectors may carry out more frequent inspections where they consider this appropriate.
What further action can the Inspectors take?
When they think it is necessary in order to protect the public, Inspectors can:
- Take samples and photographs of food and inspect your records
- Write to you, asking you to put right any problems
- Detain or seize suspect foods, and
- Serve Notices
If at any time you disagree with the action taken by an Inspector you can contact the Health Protection Board or appeal to the Magistrates’ Court.
29 September 2015