Our Environmental Health Service is responsible for the local enforcement of food related legislation. Its purpose is to ensure that all food offered for sale to the public is safe to eat and is properly described.

What does this mean for me?

Our officers have the power to enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours and they will usually visit without advance notice.  

Officers will look at the way the business is operated, identify potential hazards and make sure it complies with food safety legislation. They will discuss any problems with the owner and advise on possible solutions.

They carry out routine inspections and may also visit as the result of a complaint.  How often routine inspections happen depends on the potential risk posed by the type of business and its previous record.

Following an inspection, most food business will receive a food hygiene rating sticker, which must be displayed at each entrance to the premises.  Further information on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is available here https://www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk/resident/food-hygiene-rating-scheme

What happens during an inspection?

When carrying out inspections an officer may:

  • take samples of food
  • inspect records
  • take photographs
  • bring with them any other person they consider necessary
  • detain or seize suspect food

What happens after an inspection?

Following an inspection the officer may write to the proprietor informally pointing out any problems which they have found and provide advice.

In some circumstances however a hygiene improvement notice may be served.  All problems must be remedied within the defined time period.

In more serious cases of poor hygiene standards they may decide to recommend a prosecution. If the prosecution is successful the Court may impose fines, prohibition on persons, premises or equipment and possibly imprisonment.

If there is an imminent risk to consumers, officers can serve a hygiene emergency prohibition notice or remedial action notice which forbids the use of the premises or equipment. A hygiene emergency notice must be confirmed by the Court.

I would like to open a food business - what should I do next?

If you intend to start up a new food business, or take over an existing one, you must register your business with the council. You should do this at least 28 days before you start trading.

Here are examples of types of operations that require registration. This list is not exhaustive. 

  • restaurants, cafes and takeaways 
  • making food and selling from your home 
  • catering businesses run from home, B&Bs, mobile catering and temporary businesses marquees, food stalls, food pop ups and food vans 
  • nurseries, schools and care homes 
  • distance selling, mail order and food delivery, including food supplied online or through social media channels or marketplaces. 

If you are already trading and have not registered yet, you need to register as soon as possible as this is a legal requirement.

You need to complete an application form.  You can register online using this link Food Premises Registration Form or contact us and we will send the form to you:

The Environmental Health Manager
Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council
Telephone No: (028) 9244 7300

You will receive regular inspections from Environmental Health Officers.  Further information and advice on starting a food business is available on the Food Standards Agency website

Food Safety Management

Food hygiene regulations require that all food businesses apply food safety management procedures based on the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to their businesses.

To help businesses comply with in partnership with other agencies and the Food Standards Agency we have developed a Safe Catering guide.  It helps catering businesses and retailers with a catering function to comply with food hygiene regulations. You can download the Safe Catering guide here. Our officers will look at this record or an equivalent during an inspection.

Other similar guidance materials have also been developed by the Food Standards Agency i.e. Safer Food Better Business which may be suitable depending on your business.

Our officers can on request visit your premises to discuss your plans, talk through your proposals and advise on all aspects of food safety.