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Food hygiene inspections

Find out about food hygiene inspections

Environmental health officers (EHOs) have a right to enter and inspect food premises without having to make an appointment or giving advanced notice. The frequency of our visits depends on:  

  • what type of food is handled
  • people at risk
  • how the business is managed
  • the condition of the premises, and
  • any complaints that we have received 

What happens during an inspection?

Officers may take samples, photographs and inspect records. Our officers may make recommendations for improvement and discuss time scales within which the work must be completed. We may revisit to check on your progress.

If the public is at risk, officers may serve a hygiene emergency prohibition notice to impose prohibitions on the business, processes or equipment. In a serious case, our officers may recommend prosecution.


If you think the outcome is unfair, you have a right of appeal to a magistrate’s court against a hygiene improvement notice. A magistrate must confirm an emergency closure of a business or seizure of food. If it is decided that a premise has been shut without proper reason or food has been wrongly taken away, you have a right to compensation.

Food hygiene rating scheme 

We use the food hygiene rating scheme to rate the hygiene standards of a food business. The scheme is run in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Visit the food hygiene ratings schemes web page on the FSA website to find out more.

Enforcement policies

Download the Regulatory Services Enforcement Policies for Eastbourne and Lewes (available as PDF downloads below) to find out how we enforce food safety legislation.

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