What to Expect From An Environmental Health Officer (EHO) Visit? Here is All You Need to Know!
If you are running a food business, always be prepared for an EHO visit because they don’t need to make an appointment to inspect your business and meet with you. The EHO will check whether you are following best practices and in accordance with the requirements of the Food Standard Agency (FSA) or not.
After the survey, your business can get 0 to 5 stars. They follow the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme to award the stars. A higher rating can increase the perception of your business. Your team should have a good knowledge of food safety management any of the team may need to answer the questions from the EHO. Let’s learn more about the procedure of an EHO visit.
What is the Visiting Time of An EHO?
EHOs can visit and inspect your business at any reasonable time and on any day of the week. They have the authority to visit unannounced and you cannot stop them from entering your premises. Normally an EHO can visit your business yearly or on a six-monthly routine, but it depends on the type of your business; if you had received a warning, the visit could be a bit more impromptu.
So, always stay alert and follow the food safety laws and best practice as part of your daily operation.
What Do EHOs Search For?
EHOs will see whether you are working according to the food laws or not. They will check the following aspects.
- Personal hygiene
- Labeling of food
- Maintenance of equipment
- Prevention of contamination
- Techniques of cleaning
- Condition of the building
- Preparation and storage of food
- Is the food hygienic or not?
In the best scenarios, Enforcement Officers should be working with you to support your businesses operating as safely as possible and the recommendations they make are based on this. There remit is now quite broad and so may as many questions regarding your business.
What Are the Authorities of EHOs?
If an EHO officer finds that your business is not operating according to the food safety laws and is unsafe for people, they can take legal actions. They the power to
- Remove Unhealthy Food
If an EHO thinks that a dish is unhealthy or unfit to be served, he can remove it from the menu. They do not need any permission for that as well.
- Give Legal Notices
After the survey, you will receive a report from EHS (Environmental Health Service). It will either confirm that your business is fit to go or you need to improve it. If there are too many improvements, you may even have to temporarily close your business. You may be given one of the following legal notices:
- Hygiene Improvement Notice
- Emergency Hygiene Prohibition Notice
If you break food laws, the EHS can start a prosecution in court. It can lead to fines, prison sentences, or a permanent ban on your food business.
The purpose of an EHO visit is to help customers stay safe and for businesses and staff to maintain the food quality. They determine whether a food business is operating according to the food laws or not. The stars given by them can be of great significance and demonstrates to customers your business is operating safely and follows best practice.
So, ensure all staff understand and operate in accordance with the correct processes and utilise the correct food safety management systems.