The Council works with food businesses to make sure they operate safely by following food safety legislation and hygiene standards.
All food premises trading in Fenland are subject to inspection and enforcement of hygiene standards by the Council. Routine visits (often unannounced) are made to premises to:
- check that food is being handled and produced hygienically
- make sure food is safe to eat
- assess the potential risk for food poisoning or injury as a result of food consumption
- make sure that food handling staff are trained in food hygiene and handling practices, and are aware of the importance of personal hygiene
- inspect the condition of equipment at the premises
- check there are precautions to prevent pest infection
All premises can be inspected, ranging from small individual traders to large multinational suppliers of manufactured foods. The frequency of inspections depends on the level of risk associated with the type of premises and their past records.
- 'High risk' premises include restaurants, takeaways, cafes, public houses serving food, nursing and residential care homes, schools, bakeries, butchers, supermarkets, hospitals and mobile caterers.
- 'Low risk' premises include newsagents, small grocery stores, pharmacies, small post offices, off-licences and garages.
If the Council finds a food establishment or producer providing food does not meet the basic safety guidelines or is operating in unsatisfactory conditions, action will be taken to address the problem. This could include issue of written warnings, service of legal notices, prosecution or closure of premises where there is an imminent risk to health.
If you are a business and would like more advice, you will find useful information in Food Safety: advice for businesses. You can also contact our Environmental Health team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 01354 654321.
Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
The Council runs the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA). During an inspection, the hygiene standards are rated on how well the business does overall. This ranges from 0 (urgent improvement required) up to 5 (very good). New businesses (or existing businesses with a new owner) can display an 'awaiting inspection' sticker until the Council makes an inspection.
Businesses do not have to display their ratings. However putting a hygiene rating on show is a good advertisement to prove that the requirements of food hygiene law are being met. Customers can also search online to check a food hygiene rating.
Businesses rated '0' or '1' must make urgent and major improvements to their hygiene standards. The Council will give advice and guidance, and take enforcement measures if necessary (including temporarily closing the business to protect the public) to ensure this happens.
If the business's owner or manager makes improvements to hygiene standards, they can ask the Council to carry out a re-score inspection of the premises before the next food safety inspection is due. The form to complete is here FHRS Revisit app form [87kb] . This means the improvements can be checked, and a new rating potentially given. Please note a re-score inspection will take place 3 months after our receipt of your application.
Right to appeal
If you are the owner or manager of a business and you think the rating given is unfair or wrong, firstly talk to the Council about why the rating was given. If you are still dissatisfied you can make a written Appeal to the Council. You can use this form to make an Appeal against your FHRS Rating. FHRS Rating Appeal Form [184kb] You will need to send your completed form back no later than 21 days after your inspection. (This includes weekends and public holidays). You can e-mail your completed form as an attachment to email@example.com.
You also have the Right to Reply to any Food Hygiene Rating that your business is given. This form gives you more information on sending in a Right to Reply. FHRS Right to reply form [182kb] The Right to Reply is a different form of appeal. On the form you need to tell the Council how the business has improved their food hygiene since the inspection or you could advise if there were unusual circumstances at the time of the inspection. A businesses's 'right to reply' will be published online with their food hygiene rating.