Officers from the food safety team ensure food safety in a number of ways:

  • assessing the standard of premises where food is prepared
  • monitoring the processes used to prepare food
  • providing free advice to food businesses about premises, equipment or processes
  • training and educating food handlers
  • using the law to require food businesses to improve their premises or processes
  • using the law to prohibit food premises or processes used.

Where contraventions of food legislation are found, officers have powers to serve notice on business owners. They can also prohibit processes or the use of unsatisfactory equipment or in extreme cases close premises. 

Inspections are planned using a priority system, which is based on the potential risk posed by the nature of the operation carried out by the business.

The more high risk businesses include hospital kitchens, food manufacturers and processors, butchers' shops and large catering establishments.

Low risk premises include small retailers of packaged foods.

Most food businesses are of a medium or low risk.

Find out if your local food business has a good hygiene rating from the Food Standards Agency.

Allergen labelling changes

From 1 October 2021, the requirements for prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) food labelling will change in Wales, England, and Northern Ireland.

The new labelling will help protect consumers by providing potentially life-saving allergen information on the packaging.

For further information visit the Food Standards Agency website.