Why we undertake food hygiene inspections

The primary responsibility for controlling food safety rests with the food business operator, however, authorised officers inspect all types of food businesses to:

  • establish whether food is being handled, produced and served/sold hygienically.
  • establish whether food is safe to eat.
  • identify foreseeable incidences of food poisoning or injury as a consequence of consumption of food.

The objectives of the inspection therefore include:

  • Determination of the business activities and the law that applies to the business
  • Gathering and recording information from observations and discussions with the people involved
  • Identifying the potential hazards and risk to the health of the public
  • Checking the effectiveness of the controls to make the food safe
  • Assessment of the management systems operated by the business
  • Identifying the contraventions of food safety law
  • Consideration of the appropriate enforcement action to make sure food businesses comply with the law

When do inspections take place?

We are required to keep a record of all food businesses and put together a programme to make sure that all food businesses are inspected on a regular basis. Inspection intervals range from every six months to every three years depending on the risk to consumers. Inspections can also be undertaken if we receive a complaint or if we are sampling.

Inspections are mainly unannounced and take place during trading hours, including evening inspections for premises that predominantly trade out of normal hours.

Results of inspections

You can search for ratings for local businesses.

Businesses are also given a window sticker showing their rating and are encouraged to display this at their premises in a place where you can easily see it when you visit. Display is voluntary at the moment.

Find out more about what the ratings mean

Complaints about food or premises

If you have a complaint about food you have bought in Sandwell, or you are worried about food hygiene standards at a restaurant, takeaway or other food outlet, please contact our environmental health team.

Report a food hygiene problem