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        Food businesses

        Running a food business safely

        Do it online

        Information & guidance

        How are food businesses inspected?

        All food businesses in Thanet are regularly inspected as part of a risk-based inspection programme. Each business is scored for their level of compliance with hygiene regulations when inspected, and this determines when the next inspection will be carried out. Frequency of inspection can range from “tomorrow” to 3 years hence, depending on the size and type of business and the hygiene standards found.

        This risk rating will be used for a national scheme called the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme  Food businesses will be awarded a rating depending on their hygiene standards, which will be available on the website and may be displayed at the premises.

        The food safety officer will call, unannounced, at a time when the business is preparing food, and this may be during the evening or at weekends if this is necessary. The officer will consider:

        • the state of repair of the premises and equipment;
        • the way food is stored and handled;
        • the training and conduct of food handlers

        and will examine documented food safety systems and monitoring records, which are a legal requirement. A suitable system is the Safer Food Better Business pack available free from the Food Standards Agency.

        The action taken will depend on the standards found and can range from a hand-written report made on site, to formal Hygiene Improvement Notices, or even closure or prosecution. Most action is informal and a timescale will be agreed for improvements to meet the required standard, as long as there is no risk to the public. Enforcement action is decided with reference to our Enforcement and Prosecution Policy.


        How do you enforce food safety?

        It is this Council’s aim to ensure that food and drink consumed within the district is safe for human consumption.

        The Council’s Enforcement Policy sets out rules for food safety officers to ensure that action taken is proportionate and is applied in a consistent and fair manner.

        Read our Food Safety Enforcement Policy


        How do I check a businesses food hygiene rating?

        Food hygiene ratings can help you choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving you information about the hygiene standards our food safety officers found when they did their most recent scheduled hygiene inspection.

        Thanet District Council secured funding from the Food Standards Agency (FSA), and is working in partnership with them to bring the national Food hygiene Rating Scheme to this area. All food premises inspected from 1 March 2012 are included in the scheme.

        A business is given one of these six ratings:

         Food hygiene rating 5 Very Good Food hygiene rating 4 Good Food hygiene rating 3 Generally Satisfactory
        Food Hygiene Rating 5
        Very good
        Food Hygiene Rating 4
        Food Hygiene Rating 3
        Generally satisfactory
         Food hygiene rating 2 Improvement Necessary Food hygiene rating 1 Major Improvement Necessary Food hygiene rating 0 Urgent Improvement Necessary
        Food Hygiene Rating 2
        Improvement necessary
        Food Hygiene Rating 1
        Major improvement necessary
        Food Hygiene Rating 0
        Urgent improvement necessary

        All businesses should be able achieve the top rating of 5.

        Officers from the Food Safety Team inspect all food premises regularly to check they meet legal requirements.  Details they establish during their routine inspection about the standards of hygiene, condition of the structure and the level of confidence they have in the management of the business are used to calculate the rating.

        It is an overall guide to hygiene.  No assessment about the quality of the food is made.



        How can I prevent food poisoning at home?

        Here are some simple tips to keep your food safe at home:

        • Keep perishable high risk foods such as meat, fish eggs and milk products under refrigeration.  Use a thermometer to check your fridge is below 8 degrees centigrade.
        • Avoid cross contamination of bacteria between raw and cooked foods by storing raw meat, fish, and poultry in a suitable container in the bottom of the fridge.  Cooked and ready-to-eat food should be kept on the top shelves.
        • Use different utensils and cutting boards etc for raw and ready to eat foods.  Wash these utensils in hot soapy water in between preparing different foods.
        • Don’t leave cooked meat, fish or dairy foods at room temperature.  Keep them piping hot or cold.
        • Make sure food is cooked thoroughly, all the way through – meat juices should run clear.
        • Cool food quickly and never reheat food more than once.  Make sure it is piping hot when reheated.
        • Make sure frozen food is completely defrosted before cooking unless the manufacturer’s instructions say otherwise.
        • Wash hands thoroughly before preparing food, as you go and after handling raw meat.  Use anti-bacterial soap.
        • Keep your kitchen and equipment clean, consider using an anti-bacterial spray.

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