Food hygiene inspections

Environmental health officers 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.
  • Any complaints that we have received.

What happens during an inspection visit?

We will take samples, photographs and inspect records and take food we suspect is unsafe. As a result, we may recommend prosecution or impose prohibitions on the business, process or equipment. If the public are at risk, we will serve a hygiene emergency prohibition notice, which effectively closes your establishment down.

We will make recommendations for improvement and discuss timescales within which you must complete the work and give you details of any follow up visits to check on your progress.


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

Liverpool now uses 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) and replaces our previous Scores on the Doors scheme.

How are the ratings awarded?

The ratings are given in accordance with national guidance  set to ensure consistency across different councils. A business is awarded one of six hygiene ratings ranging from 0 (the worst) to 5 (the best) based on how well the business meets the requirements of food hygiene law, in particular:

  • 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.

Please note that the rating given for an outlet does not reflect the quality of food or the standard of customer service.

Search for Liverpool food outlet ratings

Businesses can also display ratings stickers and a certificate. Displaying these is voluntary at the moment so consumers are urged to check the hygiene ratings online.

Fairness of the ratings scheme

You can request a revisit to be reassessed, appeal against a rating or exercise your right to reply. You can do this:


Read our privacy notice which tells you how we use your data.

Appeal or request a revisit

Please note that the cost of a revisit is £200 and you will be prompted to pay this when you apply online.

By post

Download, complete and return the relevant form below:

 More information about these safeguards is provided on the FSA website.

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