We inspect all food businesses that produce, prepare and supply food to the public.

Examples include: public houses, corner shop, takeaway, cafe, school kitchen, residential home, community halls, nursery, home caterer, food mobiles, baker, butcher, supermarket, manufacturer, warehouse and so on.

How often a food business is inspected will depend on the type of food handled, how the business is managed, the condition of the premises and if we have received any complaints.

We have the right to enter a food business and carry out an inspection without the need to make an appointment. The majority of inspections are therefore unannounced.

What happens during the inspection?

During your inspection we will ask questions to understand what you do and how you run the business. For example, we may ask you who your customers are, how you make a particular dish, or if you check the temperature of your fridge?

We will look at any relevant documents you have, such as:

  • Food Safety Management System/Safer Food Better Business pack
  • Fridge/freezer temperature records
  • Cooking temperatures
  • Food Hygiene training records
  • Pest control records
  • Cleaning schedule/rota
  • Supplier invoices
  • Delivery records

We will then look around your premises to check: what condition it is in, the standard of cleaning, the temperatures of your fridges/freezers/hot hold equipment, the food hygiene practices that you follow and so on.

If necessary we will take photographs, samples and can detain or seize food.

What happens after your inspection?

At the end of the inspection we will inform you of any issues that you need to correct and discuss time scales with you. For example, you may need to carry out cleaning or repairs, change your food handling practices and so on.

We will leave documentation with you at the end of the inspection. This details the action to be taken by us, what issues we have found and the work you need to do and our contact details.

Depending on what issues we find during your inspection, there are a number of measures we can use to require you to comply with the law, for example:

  • A hand written report may be left at the premises.
  • A formal letter may be sent to you.
  • A Hygiene Improvement Notice may be served.
    This is a legal notice requiring work to be carried out by you. You can appeal to a magistrate's court if you do not agree with the notice.
  • A Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice may be served.
    This is a legal notice that stops the use of certain processes, equipment or closes the premises. A court must then confirm this
  • A Remedial Action Notice (Approved Establishments only) can be used.
    This stops the use of certain processes, premises or equipment, or gives conditions on how a process is carried out. This does not need to be confirmed by a court
  • We can recommend a prosecution, in serious cases

Further advice

A number of advisory leaflets are available on the Food Standards website publications page.

We are also here to offer you advice and answer any questions you have - please contact us.

Contact information

Food Safety team

Bristol City Council
PO Box 3399
Bristol, BS1 9NE

Contact details

Email: food.safety@bristol.gov.uk
Tel: 0117 922 2500