Clear, simple advice to help you comply. 100% free.
If you’ve been served with an improvement notice, it may be that you have had some problems with your food hygiene processes which has resulted in your local EHO taking action against you. Typical problems may include:
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Commonly asked questions around Food Hygiene Improvement Notices
What is a Hygiene Improvement Notice?
If your food business has been inspected by your local authority environmental health officer and they have found that you have failed to comply with the Food Standard Agency’s (FSA) regulations, then they may serve you an improvement notice.
The Hygiene Improvement Notice will state:
- Why the local environmental health officer believes you have failed to comply with the FSA regulations.
- Outline their findings and highlight where you have failed to comply.
- Specify, in their opinion, what you need to do in order to rectify any issues and ensure your food business is compliant.
How long do I have to fix the issues highlighted in my Hygiene Improvement Notice?
Within your notice, it will specify what actions you need to take and within what time period. These will usually be more than 14 days and will most likely correspond with a follow up inspection.
Your local authority inspector process will consist of an initial verbal advice or request for compliance which will then be followed with an informal advisory letter. At this point, if you have not made adequate steps to improve, you will be sent a formal statutory notice or ‘Hygiene Improvement Notice’.
If you fail to make the required changes to the satisfaction of the enforcement officer within the specified time period they can recommend you for prosecution but if you do rectify all of the issues, no further action is taken. So it is extremely important that you respond correctly to the requirements of the Notice by the due date.
What sort of Notices can the enforcement officer serve?
The majority of work carried out by the enforcement officer is relatively informal with good advice given during the inspection and a document left with you outlining their main observations. However, there are 2 types of legal notice which are used in circumstances where stronger action is adjudged to be necessary.
Hygiene Improvement Notice
Where there is a record of non-compliance with breaches of the regulations, where the history of compliance by the food business operator (FBO) is such that the inspector has reason to believe that an informal approach will not be successful and where formal action is proportionate to the risk to public health.
Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice and Order
Where the conditions found present a risk of being injurious to health, a Notice can be served which closes a food business or part thereof. This action requires the backing of the court, and is often followed by prosecution. Such conditions may include a substantial pest infestation, poor standards of cleaning etc. This can also include prohibition of a food business proprietor or manager from participating in the management of any food business.
Further information about the inspection process can be found on the FSA website.
What are the penalties for breaking food laws?
Consequences as a result of failing to comply with food safety regulations are severe, these include imprisonment and, since 2016, unlimited fines can be issued to food businesses.
It’s important to note that fines and imprisonment are a result of severe food hygiene offences and many issues that are identified can be quickly rectified without it ever gettting to this stage. Our experts are available to talk you through anything highlighted in any notices that you receive.
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