Food Safety Inspection Unit
What do we do?
The Food Safety Unit of the Environment Directorate is responsible for enforcing food safety legislation in premises that sell food on the Island. This involves:
- carrying out food hygiene inspections
- investigating complaints about hygiene standards in food premises
- following up complaints about food sold or manufactured in the Island, and
- taking food samples
There are 2 officers in the unit.
When are inspections carried out?
Officers have a right to enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours. They do not have to make an appointment and will usually come without advanced notice.
The frequency of visits will depend on a risk assessment that takes into account the type of food handled, consumer groups, management and condition of your premises, and any complaints received.
What happens during inspections?
The officer will explain why the inspection is being made and whether it is following a complaint or a routine inspection. During their visit, the officer may look at the condition and fabric of all food rooms, take temperature recordings of equipment or take samples of food and watch food being prepared. The officer will check that paperwork relating to receipts, temperature records, hazard analysis, cleaning schedules, refuse contracts and pest control records are in place and up to date, and will interview members of staff.
What powers do the officers have?
Officers have the power to take samples, photographs and inspect records. They may take food they suspect to be unsafe. As a result, they may recommend prosecution or impose prohibitions on the business or equipment. If there is an imminent risk to consumers, officers may serve an Emergency Prohibition Notice, which forbids the use of processes, premises or equipment. This notice must be confirmed by a court.
What happens after the inspection?
After inspecting your premises, the officer will discuss their findings and answer any queries, clarifying the legal requirements, and making recommendations for improvement. The officer will discuss timescales within which any required work should be completed and explain that the premises will be inspected again to check that any problems found have been resolved.
It is essential that you contact the officer if work cannot be completed within the time period permitted. If you have problems, you should discuss them with the officer before this period expires.
What if you think the outcome is unfair?
You have a right of appeal to a Magistrate's Court against an Improvement Notice or a refusal by the Food Safety Unit to lift an Emergency Prohibition Order made earlier by the Court. A Magistrate's Court must confirm the emergency closure of a business or seizure of food. If the Magistrate's Court decide the premises have been closed without proper reason or food has been wrongly seized, you have a right to compensation.
If you do not agree with action taken by an officer, please contact Ivan Bratty, Food Safety Manager in the first instance, tel: +44 1624 685889 or email: Ivan Bratty
Thereafter, you can contact the Director of the Environment Directorate, tel: +44 1624 685882 or email: Martin Hall