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How we check for food safety & hygiene - Food premises Inspections and Food Sampling

We inspect all food premises trading in Fenland

We visit premises to:

  • check that food is being handled and produced hygienically
  • make sure food is safe to eat
  • assess the risk of food poisoning or injury after eating food
  • check food handling staff:

- are trained in food hygiene and handling practices

- understand the importance of personal hygiene

- inspect the condition of equipment

- check precautions to prevent pests

We also inspect premises as part of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

All premises can be inspected. We visit small individual traders as well as large multinational suppliers. Visits can be routine or unannounced. We have a right to enter and inspect food premises when they are operating. It is an offence to obstruct an inspector when they are carrying out their duties.

For more advice please email or call 01354 654321. 

Frequency of visits

The frequency of inspections depends on a business's level of risk and past record.

  • 'High risk' premises include restaurants, takeaways, cafes, pubs 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-licenses and garages

If improvements are needed

Where practices or conditions are not satisfactory, every attempt will be made to resolve the situation by informal means, but where poor conditions persist, or where there is a risk to public health, it may be necessary to resort to formal action. This could involve either the service of a legal notice, prosecution, or in extreme cases, closure of the business.

We have to carry out compliance revisits to premises that have scored a FHRS of 2 or below. The premises are not re-rated during these revisits; they are to ensure sufficient improvements have been made to the level of compliance. Where insufficient improvements have been made our officers will follow our enforcement policy ( Corporate Enforcement Policy (PDF) [521KB] ) to ensure improvements are made and compliance is met.

Food Sampling

Sampling is a routine part of our work. We carry out a range of food and environmental samples every year. Sampling carried out is usually as part of a regional or national sampling programme to aid further investigation of safety risk of certain products or it is used as part of more detailed premises investigations or routine validation checks. 

These samples are taken to a UKHSA, (UK Health Security Agency) laboratory where they are analysed for a range of hygiene indicator organisms and pathogens. Depending on the results received, we will carry out suitable follow up interventions, this can include education and advice, formal enforcement and resampling.

Our Food sampling policy is available here:

Food & Water Sampling Policy (PDF) [206KB]

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