Learn more about Food Hygiene Inspections and what to expect when an inspector visits.
All food businesses are subject to inspection when they start trading and at regular intervals afterwards, according to the risk they present.
The frequency of inspection is determined by the 'risk rating' given to the premises at the previous inspection. Most premises receive an inspection every one to two years, however, premises judged to be 'low risk' are subject to an 'alternative enforcement activity.' This means they will receive an alternative type of enforcement to an inspection.
Officers can enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours and you may request they show their authorisation. Most inspections are not announced however, in some circumstances such as home caterers, appointments are made first.
- Officers will introduce themselves and explain the purpose of the visit.
- Officers will behave in a courteous manner.
- Officers will ask you questions, make observations throughout the food rooms and may also speak to members of your staff. They may ask you to show them documentation relevant to the food business.
Request a revisit
If you complete all of the work required in the inspection letter and report then you can ask for a re-visit before the next planned inspection. The Hygiene standards in your premises will be reassessed and a new food hygiene rating will be given. This rating can go up, down or stay the same depending on our findings during the visit.
You can ask at any time after you've taken action to make the necessary improvements that were identified at your inspection. You cannot, however, dictate when the re-visit will take place.
You should put your request in writing to the Food Safety team. You can do that by completing the FHRS Revisit form.
You must explain what actions you have taken on the issues raised at your last inspection and you should include supporting evidence, for example, receipts or photographs to show that work has been completed. This is important as your request could be refused if you do not provide sufficient information and evidence.
If the request is refused you will be given an explanation of why and advice on any action you need to take or evidence you need to provide before your request can be agreed. If you do not agree with the local authority's decision to refuse your request, you can raise the matter with the Lead Officer for Food. If you cannot resolve matters with the Lead Officer for Food, you can use the council's complaints procedure.
All revisits will cost £175. There is a 20% discount of this rescore price if you purchase one of our Consultancy Packages
Appeal a decision
If you consider that your rating score is unfair or wrong, in that it does not fairly reflect the hygiene standards/management controls found during the inspection, then you have the right to appeal.
In the first instance, you should contact the inspecting officer whose name appears on the inspection letter and make your concerns known. The officer will explain how the rating score was determined and discuss a course of action.
If you're still not satisfied you can appeal, you can make an appeal in writing within 21 days of being notified about your food hygiene rating or complete an Appeal Form. This period includes weekends and public holidays.
If no appeal is received then your food hygiene rating will be published online on the Food Standards Agency's website. If you appeal then your rating will 'awaiting publication'.
The officer that gave the rating will not consider your appeal. A Lead Officer for food (or a designated deputy) will review your case.
In some circumstances, a further visit to your premises may be required. You will be notified of the result of the appeal within a maximum of 21 days from the date that the appeal was received by your local authority.
Once you have been notified of the result of your appeal, your rating will be published online on the Food Standards Agency's website,
You can challenge the local authority's decision by judicial review. Even if you decide to do this, your rating will still be published.
If you think that City of Wolverhampton Council has not followed processes properly, you can use the council's complaints procedure.
As the food business operator, you have a 'Right to Reply' with regards to a good hygiene rating in following your inspection.
This is different from an appeal. It is not for making complaints or for criticising the scheme or food safety officer.
This 'Right to Reply' allows you to give an explanation of subsequent actions that have been taken to make the required improvements as detailed in the inspection letter, or to explain any unusual circumstances at the time of the inspection.
A business's right to reply will be published online by the local authority with the business's hygiene rating. The Council may edit your comments in order to remove any offensive, defamatory. clearly inaccurate or irrelevant remarks.
The 'right to reply' will remain on the web site until you are given a new rating.
Further information to help improve your business can be found on our Running a food business.
In addition, consultancy packages are available which have been designed to help all food business to improve standards. There are several packages and resources available, including a Tailored package which can provide you with advice specific to your business needs.
The purchase of the packages will give you access to expert advice from experienced food safety officers specific to your business needs but could also:
- Increase your chances of receiving or retaining a high food hygiene rating
- Give you reassurance and boost your confidence
- Avoid reputational damage
- Save your business money