Officers have a right to enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours.  They do not have to make an appointment and will usually come without advance notice.

The frequency of visits will depend on a risk assessment that takes into account the type of food handled, consumer groups, management and condition of your premises, as well as any complaints received.

During the inspection officers will want to be satisfied that adequate controls are in place to prevent any problems, ensure staff are adequately trained and the condition and cleanliness of the premises meets required standards.

Scores are awarded for food hygiene compliance, structural compliance and confidence in management, premises are not rated against the quality of the food they produce.

Check the ratings at the Foods Standards Agency.

Food safety ratings

All business should be able to achieve the top rating.To achieve this, you must be able to demonstrate very good compliance with legal requirements for food hygiene.

The level of compliance will be assessed by the food safety officer when your business is inspected.  

How is this assessed?

Your food hygiene rating is based on the level of compliance in three areas:

  • how hygienically the food is handled - safe food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
  • the condition of the structure of the premises - cleanliness, repair, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how food safety is managed and documented - using a system such as safer food, better business or safe catering.

How can a business improve its rating?

To get the best possible rating, you should:

Look at your last food hygiene inspection report to check that you've taken all of the actions needed to ensure that you meet legal requirements – if you can’t find your last report, contact the food safety team.

At your next inspection, if you don’t get the top rating and you have queries about the improvements you need to make to get a better rating, then we will be able to give you advice.

The Food Standards Agency has a range of tools, such as Safer food, better business, that can help you manage food hygiene. You can find out more about these on the hygiene resources page of the Agency’s website.

Contact the food hygiene team


Enforcement of food hygiene and standards legislation through the routine inspection of commercial food premises and the investigation of complaints from the general public. Also the team deals with the investigation of notifiable infectious diseases.


020 7974 6767 (Office hours), 020 7974 4444 (Outside office hours)


020 7974 6940

Visits address

Appointments can be made to visit the service at 5 Pancras Square, London, N1C 4AG. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, except Bank Holidays.


View location map for N1C 4AG


London Borough of Camden 5 Pancras Square c/o Town Hall, Judd Street London WC1H 9JE