Food Hygiene Inspections
All food businesses operating within the Gloucester City area are subject to regular food safety inspections which are carried out by officers of the Council's Food Safety Team.
The purpose of inspections
- To ensure that food is being handled and produced hygienically.
- To ensure that food is safe to eat.
- To look at the potential risk of food poisoning as a result of food contamination.
- To ensure that food handling staff are trained in food hygiene.
- To inspect the condition of the premises and equipment.
- To ensure there are precautions to prevent pest infestation.
- To ensure that staff are aware of the importance of personal hygiene.
- To ensure food safety hazards have been identified, are being controlled, monitored and documented in a Food Safety Management System, for example Safer Food Better Business
- To offer advice about good Food Hygiene Practices. Click here.
The powers that Environmental Health Officers have
Officers have a 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 will discuss any problems and advise on possible solutions. They have the power to:
- Inspect a premises
- Inspect food
- Take samples and photographs and examine records
- Serve Hygiene Improvement Notices where breaches of the law are identified
- Detain or seize suspect food
- In serious cases, carry out a prosecution
- Where there is an imminent risk, serve an Emergency Hygiene Prohibition Notice which forbids the use of the premises or equipment.
Frequency of Inspections
The frequency of inspections of food premises is based on an assessment of a risk taking into account:
- The type of food and method of handling
- The method of processing
- Consumers at risk
- The level of current compliance
- Confidence in Management/Control systems
- Significant risk of food being contaminated
Those premises posing a higher risk to the consumer should be inspected more frequently than those premises with a lower risk. Food premises are inspected within the range of at least every 6 months to at least every 5 years.
Inspections may also be carried out upon receipt of a complaint or food poisoning incident.
Action taken after an inspection will comply with our Enforcement Policy. A guide to Environmental Health Enforcement and Prosecution can be seen by clicking here.
Action which may be taken:
- No Action: A report of visit will be left at the time of visit if the premise is satisfactory and no breaches of legislation are established. No further action will take place.
- Informal Action: A report of visit will be left at the time of the visit. An informal notice will then be sent in the form of a letter and a schedule if breaches are established, but are not serious enough to take formal action.
- Formal action: Depending on the seriousness of the breach of legislation the following formal action may be used:
- Hygiene Improvement Notice
- Hygiene Prohibition Notice
- Seizure or detention of suspect foods
- Formal Caution
As a result of an inspection the premises will be risk rated and a star rating awarded under the Food Hygiene Rating System.
For businesses where language can be a barrier to understanding what is required we can offer a translation service.