Food Safety Officers inspect food premises according to the risk they present. They have powers to enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours. They do not have to make an appointment and they will usually come without warning. The Food Standards Agency Codes of Practice determine how often each food premises will be inspected. A higher risk premises e.g. a nursing home serving food to elderly “vulnerable” people will be inspected more often than a low risk premises selling only confectionary e.g. a newsagent.
Officers will look at the way the food business operates to make sure it complies with the law. They will discuss any problems with the proprietor; and provide guidance and advice on solutions. Officers also have powers to take certain action they consider necessary, these include:
- Writing informally to the proprietor asking him to put right any problems found
- Taking samples
- Taking photographs
- Serving hygiene improvement notices
- Detention or seizure of suspect food
- In serious cases prosecution may be recommended which could involve referral to the courts.
- Serving hygiene emergency prohibition notices or remedial action notices in cases of an emergency. This can prevent the use of the premises as a food business