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Food hygiene and safety

The Food Health Team helps to protect public health and supports food businesses to ensure standards of hygiene and safety are maintained. The team’s day to day functions can include:

  • Inspection and monitoring of food businesses to check they are complying with food laws
  • Awarding food hygiene ratings to food businesses to inform customers about the hygiene standards found on inspection
  • Food sampling to make sure that food sold by businesses is safe to eat
  • Investigation of complaints about food and food premises
  • Investigation of notified cases of food poisoning and infectious disease
  • Provision of advice for food handlers and food businesses
  • Provision of advice and consultation to other departments and outside bodies such as licensing and planning where food safety may be at risk
  • Promotion of health and healthy lifestyles

Officers from the Food Health Team routinely inspect over 1800 premises ranging from factories of multi-national companies to small corner shops to make sure that they are complying with standards that are required by law. North East Lincolnshire Council has a higher than average concentration of large manufacturers within its area and as a result its officers have built up a great deal of expertise in dealing with state-of-the-art companies and processes.

Visit the policies and strategies page to view the Food health service plan and the Official Food and Feed Controls Service Plan.

In partnership with the Food Standards Agency, North East Lincolnshire Council is now operating the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

The scheme is a local authority and Food Standards Agency partnership initiative designed to help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food. It does this by giving them information about the hygiene standards in food premises at the time they are inspected to check compliance with legal requirements. Having a single national scheme in place helps ensure that food businesses are treated fairly and consistently with their competitors and allows consumers to make easier comparisons with different areas of the country.

The Food Hygiene Rating scheme

The hygiene rating tells you the standards of hygiene found at the time of the inspection.

It is required by law that all premises that serve, prepare or sell food are inspected regularly by authorised officers. Routine visits are made to premises, most often on an unannounced basis, ranging from small local traders to large national and multinational companies.

The frequency of inspection depends on the level of risk associated with the type of premises, the volume of trade and officer assessment. The higher risk premises typically include supermarkets, restaurants, take-away’s, mobile caterers, public houses serving food, butchers, bakeries, slaughterhouses, residential care homes and hospitals. Lower risk premises typically include small grocery stores, newsagents and off-licences.

Each business is given a hygiene rating when it is inspected by an officer from the business’s local authority. A business is given one of six ratings. These are on a scale from ‘0‘ (the lowest rating) meaning that urgent improvement is necessary, to ‘5‘ (the highest rating) meaning that the business was found to have very good hygiene standards. All businesses should be able to achieve the top rating.

The officer inspecting a business checks how well the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene laws . The food hygiene rating awarded is dependent on the scoring in the following three categories:

  • how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, stored, cooked, cooled.
  • the condition of the structure of the premises including the cleanliness, layout, ventilation, equipment and other facilities.
  • how the business manages and records what is does to make sure food is safe.

Officers will explain to the person in charge of the business if there are any improvements needed and how they can achieve a higher rating.

Food hygiene ratings can be found at Food Hygiene Ratings

Right to reply – Appealing against your rating

As a business operator of the establishment you have a ‘right to reply’

  • The purpose is to enable you to give an explanation of subsequent actions that have been taken to make the required improvements as detailed in the inspection letter, or to explain mitigation for the circumstances at the time of the inspection. It is not for making complaints or for criticising the scheme or the inspector.
  • If you wish to use this ‘right to reply’, please use the Food hygiene rating right to reply form (Word, 137KB) and return it to the address at the bottom of the form.
  • Your comments will be reviewed by the food safety officer and may be edited in order to remove offensive or defamatory remarks before being published online and displayed together with your food hygiene rating at Food Hygiene Ratings
  • There will be a statement at Food Hygiene Ratings that will highlight that the accuracy of your comments has not been verified by local authority officers.

Food hygiene re-inspection

You have a right to request a revisit for your business if you have taken action to rectify the non-compliances identified at the time of inspection.

There is a charge of £188 for us to conduct a revisit. To request a revisit complete the form

Food poisoning is caused by eating contaminated food. Bacteria, viruses or toxins which are naturally present in meat, fish or plants are usually the cause of food poisoning. The most common causes of food poisoning are bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus.

The incubation period (time taken from eating the contaminated food to feeling unwell) varies with each type of bacteria and, in some cases, may occur up to 15 days later. This means that the last meal you ate before getting ill is unlikely to be the cause of your symptoms.

People with food poisoning may have a range of symptoms but the most common are abdominal pains, diarrhoea and vomiting. Food poisoning is confirmed through the laboratory analysis of a stool sample submitted through GPs or the Food Health Team.

It is important to note that not all people suffering with diarrhoea and vomiting will have food poisoning. Most of the bacteria or viruses causing food poisoning are infectious and can easily be passed to other people by poor hygiene. If you have food poisoning type symptoms you must be particularly careful with personal hygiene to prevent the spread of any infection. A very important control in preventing the spread of infection will be thorough and regular hand washing.

Staff with diarrhoea or vomiting should not return to work until they have had no symptoms for 48 hours.

Anyone working in a food business or health care/nursery worker must not handle food or enter a food handling area if they:
are suffering from, or carrying, a disease likely to be transmitted through food
have infected wounds, skin infections, sores
have diarrhoea.

Staff who are likely to come into contact with food through their work must tell their manager immediately if they have any of the above.

The local health protection unit notifies GPs and the Food Health Team of any patients suffering from food poisoning where this has been confirmed through the results of a stool sample. The team will then take the necessary steps to investigate the source of the infection and provide advice about preventing future infection.

If you have any further queries relating to food poisoning or infectious disease, you can contact the Food Health Team.

If you own or have taken over a food business in North East Lincolnshire, it is a legal requirement to register your business with the council at least 28 days before opening or taking ownership. Registration is free of charge. The details will be entered onto our register and certain details, such as type of business, address and telephone number, will be available for public inspection. Once you have registered, you will need to notify us if there is a change of ownership or change in the nature of the business.

How to register

Register your food business online and you will receive confirmation of your details have being successfully added to our premises database to be included in our inspection programme.

If you intend to set up a business that manufactures or handles (e.g. slicing and re-wrapping) products of animal origin for sale to other businesses, you may need to apply for approval of food premises. Please contact the Food Health team for more information about approval.

Alternatively, you can register a food business using the below form

To make sure you’re trading fairly it’s important you understand the laws which apply to you, this will reduce the risk of further action being taken if you’re not compliant. You can visit the Business Companion website for free, impartial legal guidance for businesses, or if you’re thinking of starting your own business GOV.UK – Business has useful information.

Trading Standards offer more personal and detailed business advice for £66 an hour plus VAT.

We can advise on:

  • business specific legislation
  • procedures and control systems
  • product testing to make sure you’re compliant with legislation
  • reviewing your terms of conditions and the language used for promotions/marketing
  • training your employees
  • carrying out site visits and inspections at your request

Food and feed law

We want to make sure all farms, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, catering companies and importers in North East Lincolnshire follow the food and feed legislation.

Trading Standards carry out the following checks:

  • inspections and sampling of the whole process from ‘farm to fork’
  • submit samples to the public analyst
  • regular visits to food and feed packers, manufacturers, retailers, importers and farms
  • approvals or registrations for ‘Feed Hygiene Regulation 183/2005

You can visit the Business Companion website for quick guides on food and drink and animals and agriculture.

More detailed guidance for food and agriculture is available from the:

If you are starting a food business, you must register your details with Environmental Health.

Specific guidance on allergen labelling can be found at Introduction to allergen labelling changes (

You can also watch videos about allergens on the Chartered Trading Standards Institute YouTube channel.

If you require any further information please contact the Trading Standards Team.

Weights and measures

Trading Standards carry out the following checks:

  • Inspecting and testing weighing and measuring equipment to include weighbridges, petrol stations, shop scales and pubs.
  • Checks on manufacturing packing systems.
  • Advising businesses on all forms of weights and measures laws

Weights and measures fees

For details and pricing of local calibration services go to the Humber Calibration website.

Public weighbridges

If you want to check that your vehicle isn’t overloaded, you should visit the nearest weighbridge but check before travelling about any fees and the opening times.

Jonathan Potts Ltd

Address: Estate Road 1, South Humberside, Industrial Estate, DN31 2TB

Telephone: 01472 355946

Stokesley Metals Ltd

Huckers Yard, Netherlands Way, Stallingborough, Grimsby, DN41 8DF

Telephone: 01469 577875

Don’t ignore use-by dates! Some food can be preserved by cooking or freezing.

‘Best before’ dates on food indicate how long the food will be at its best quality. Using food after ‘best before’ dates doesn’t mean that it will be unsafe, with the exception of eggs, which can be eaten a day or two after their ‘best before’ date if they have been cooked.

Eating leftovers can be a good way of making a meal go further. If you are going to store leftovers in the fridge, cool them as quickly as possible (ideally within 90 minutes), cover them and eat them within two days. If you are going to freeze leftovers, cool them before putting them in your freezer. Once in the freezer, they can be safely stored there forever – but the quality will be best within three months. Label food so you know how long it’s been there.

Plan your meals, and avoid impulse buying. Before you go shopping check what’s in the fridge and freezer. If you get tempted by offers like ‘buy one, get one free’, think about adjusting your meal planner for the week to add it in or freeze the extra pack before the ‘use by’ date.

Cook leftovers until steaming hot throughout. Don’t reheat leftovers more than once.

Defrost leftovers properly before reheating. Defrost them in the fridge overnight, or in the microwave if you intend to cook them straight away. Eat leftovers within 24 hours of defrosting and do not refreeze. The only exception is defrosting raw food, such as meat: once it’s cooked it can be refrozen.