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Food Safety - Inspections

Business Regulation Service Commercial Premises Officers are responsible, among other things, for improving and enforcing standards and food hygiene and health and safety in food premises, whether they be shops, restaurants, sandwich bars, canteens or food factories.

There are approximately 1,200 food premises within the Borough.

Our role

The main aim is to improve standards of food hygiene and safety in the Borough and prevent outbreaks of food poisoning.

The Council has a legal duty to enforce the Food Hygiene and Food Standards legislation. To achieve this, our officers will:

  • Inspect local food businesses to enforce standards of cleanliness and good hygiene practices and carry out the Food Standards Agency regime for inspection of food premises.
  • Respond to requests for advice, and complaints relating to food and food premises.
  • Investigate notifications of infectious disease including food poisoning and giving advice.
  • Sample foods to test for safety and compliance with standards.
  • Ensuring local businesses and customers are protected from food identified by food hazard alerts from the FSA and assuring identified foods are removed from sale.
  • Raising awareness of food safety and hygiene through training advice and promotions and preparing customers for forthcoming legislative changes.

Reporting a problem

If you have comments or concerns about any food problem, please use the contact details below.

Your role

If you wish to make a complaint about the food hygiene or safety conditions in a food business, please contact us and ensure that you include all the details of the name, address and problem with the premises concerned. We will also require your name, address and contact details.

Your service

To meet the demands within our busy community, our officers will:

  • Carry out inspections of food businesses in line with the requirements of the Food Standards Agency and offer any advice and guidance you need.
  • Respond to complaints about food hygiene or safety within two working days.
  • Respond to requests for advice or information on food hygiene or safety within five working days.
  • Respond to letters or emails about food hygiene or safety issues within five working days.
  • Keep you informed as far as possible of the progress made with you enquiry or complaint.

Our powers

Authorised officers have the power to visit commercial premises at any reasonable time for carrying out their duties. Prior notice may be given of a visit but is not always appropriate. Powers also include taking photographs, taking samples and copies of documents, seizing or dismantling articles and interviewing employees.

Inspections may be routine via a priority based system or part of a co-ordinated project to tackle specific issues. The frequency of visits is determined by factors such as the size of premises, the work activity and the food safety history of the business.

Following a visit, we can send an informal letter where there is no major risk from any contravention found and we have reasonable confidence the business or individual will take the correct action. The letter may also provide recommendation for improvements.

For more serious offences, a Hygiene Improvement Notice can be served allowing for necessary improvements within a specified time period.

Where any food handling activity involves a risk of serious personal injury, a Prohibition Action may be taken to close the premises or stop a process.

Our officers may recommend Prosecution as a way to reinforce the need for compliance and for preserving good standards. We will take firm action against those who flout the law or act irresponsibly.

Food registration

If you are a new or established food business, it is a legal requirement that you register with us. You can view or download the or you can apply online using our Business Regulations e-form. For further information contact us on 020 8770 5070 or