Councils Can Now Charge For The Cost Of Restaurant Re-Inspections

Will a charge for re-inspection make the process quicker and provide us with clean, safe places to eat?


If you run a business in the food production or distribution process, your local council can inspect your premises at any time. No prior notice needs to be given, and inspectors must always follow the Food Law Code of Practice. Food retailers and caterers are inspected on a regular basis to make sure they comply with food safety laws. Your premises, food, records and procedures can be inspected, and food samples and photographs can be taken. You will then receive a letter from your local council advising you if you need to make any changes or improvements. If they find any serious problems, certain equipment or processes can be banned until improvements have been made. It is then your responsibility to advise the council that all the improvements have been carried out. The Inspector will revisit your business to confirm that everything that was requested has been done to the necessary standard.


Upon re-inspection, you will be given a Food Hygiene rating, which must be displayed in the window of your business. This rating is designed to help consumers choose where to eat or purchase food products; the higher the rating, the better the quality of the food. Historically, local authorities have been slow in carrying out the re-inspection process, which means businesses are waiting for their updated rating. A good rating will bring in more customers, so any slowdown in this process can affect business significantly.


The Food Standards Agency has recently changed its policy to allow local authorities to charge a fee for re-inspection, thus helping them carry out these inspections in a timelier manner. The charges will be calculated by each local authority on a cost recovery basis.

This new law will only apply to re-inspections, but local businesses welcome this change. The inspection of premises and all kitchen appliances, including commercial warewashers, is an essential service to make sure food hygiene standards are maintained.

The Food Standards Agency has outlined the rules that local authorities must abide by, and they are continually striving to improve food standards for public protection. If you regularly eat out, this will help you choose establishments with confidence.

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