All food businesses must register with us - please use the Food Business Registration Form.

Why are food businesses inspected?

The council carries out inspections of food premises to ensure that the food produced and sold in the borough is safe, that the premises comply with the regulations and that the pubic is protected.

Food business operators must have in place a food safety management system based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points Principles (HACCP) and have appropriate documents and records. This will allow you to demonstrate that you have identified food safety hazards and are managing food safety in your business. One example of a simple system for small catering businesses is Safer Food Better Business (SFBB) which has been developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

How often are food businesses inspected?

The frequency of inspection depends on a number of factors, these include:

  • The type of food, method of handling and food processing;
  • The number and type of consumers at risk;
  • Level of compliance in relation to food hygiene and safety procedures and the structure of the premises;
  • Confidence in management controls;
  • Any significant risk of food contamination.

Inspections may also be prompted by:

  • a complaint received by the Council;
  • a new food business registration;
  • unsatisfactory food sample results.

What happens during an inspection?

Officers from our Food Control Unit have the right to enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable times and will usually visit without notice.

As part of an inspection, officers will check:

  • potential food safety risks have been identified by the food business operator;
  • there are adequate controls in place to prevent any problems;
  • relevant documents and records are in place;
  • managers and food handlers are suitably trained;
  • the condition of the premises and equipment is satisfactory.

Officers will discuss any problems with you and also provide advice on good practice. Following the inspection you will be sent a written inspection report which will include any further action the officer intends to take. There will be a clear distinction between what the inspector is recommending because it is good practice and what you must do to comply with the law.

Officers will be courteous and show identification.

If you do not agree with the action taken by an officer you should initially contact their manager to see if the problem can be resolved informally. You can do this by telephone or in writing, setting out the reasons why you feel aggrieved.

Where formal action has been taken against you e.g. the service of legal notices, the mechanism for appeal will be explained on the notice.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

Bolton Council operates the Food Standards Agency’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.  The scheme makes it easier for consumers to choose places with good hygiene standards when they eat out or shop for food. 

Food businesses are given a hygiene rating following a food hygiene inspection.  The ratings range from 0 - urgent improvement necessary to 5 - very good.  Ratings are published on the Food Standards Agency's website. In addition, food businesses are provided with a sticker and certificate to display on their premises.  Businesses are not obliged to display their sticker and certificate but will usually do so if they achieve a good rating.  All of the food hygiene ratings awarded are published on the website. 

For further information, see the leaflet Good hygiene is good for your business (446KB).
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has rules for appeal, requesting a revisit and a right to reply.

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Ellesmere House

Mayor Street


BL3 5DT (Please note there is no visitor access at this address)

Telephone 01204 336500
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