Food businesses are subject to food safety interventions by authorised Environmental Health Officers and Food Safety Officers. These interventions vary depending on the type of food establishment.
Normally you will not be given advance warning of an inspection. A small number of visits may be carried out by appointment, for example if it's primarily someone's home or we want to look at a particular process or discussions are required with a specific employee or the food business operator.
Food Law Interventions
Most food establishments in the Falkirk Council area are subject to food law interventions in line with the Interventions Food Law Code of Practice. Establishments are allocated a Group based on their food activities, with Group 1 being the highest risk activities and Group 3 the lowest risk activities. The food establishments will be assessed in terms of 7 compliance categories during a food law inspection:
- food safety and practice
- cross contamination
- food information
- food composition
- Food Safety Management System
- confidence in management
Approved establishment interventions
Falkirk Council also has a small number of Approved Establishments (businesses which manufacture and distribute products of animal origin). Approved Establishments are subject to interventions in line with Official Control Verification guidance. This approach is to ensure a methodical and consistent approach that meets the requirements of the legislation, secures a high level of public health protection and protects the reputation of Scottish food businesses.
Frequency of inspections
The inspection frequency is determined by the Group of the food establishment and the rating given by the Authorised Officer at the inspection. Frequencies are detailed in the Interventions Food Law Code of Practice. For poorly compliant business this can be 1 month or 3 months. For very compliant low risk businesses this can be as long as 5 years. Most Falkirk Council businesses will be inspected every 1 to 3 years.
Approved establishments may have a number of smaller visits carried out throughout the year, focussing on particular processes or areas.
Failing to meet standards
Where a business fails to meet the required standards, the authorised officer has a range of powers to deal with non-compliance. Normally a graduated approach is taken; starting with an Inspection Report detailing what is wrong, what action is required to become compliant and the timescale permitted.
Formal Notices can be served requiring improvement by a certain time, some of which can have the effect of prohibiting all or some aspects of the food business.
Where required, revisits will be carried out to ensure necessary improvements have been made.
An authorised officer can report breaches of the legislation to the Procurator Fiscal with a view to prosecution via the court system. Following successful prosecution, an order may be made prohibiting guilty persons from operating a food business again.
Enforcement action is taken in accordance with our Food Enforcement Policy, available to download below. The main aim of the Policy is that enforcement is conducted in a reasonable, proportionate, transparent and consistent manner.
Food Safety Enforcement Policy
To ensure consistent enforcement, the council is represented on various groups such as the East of Scotland Food Liaison Group.
Food Hygiene Information Scheme
Following inspections, businesses supplying directly to consumers will be assessed in line with the Food Hygiene Information Scheme.
We would encourage you to read the guidance in our related food safety pages to assist you in making sure your food establishment is compliant with food law.
If you need specific advice, you should contact the Food & Safety team at email@example.com. Please detail your current or proposed business name and address, and preferably a contact telephone number, and your enquiry will be passed to your area officer.