Food Safety

Starting a food business

imageConsumers expect food that is safe, unadulterated and clearly labelled. Environmental Health are involved with ensuring the safety of food, at all stages of production, storage, distribution and sale (i.e. from Farm to Fork) until it reaches the final consumer.

The Council regulates Food Safety, by pro-actively working with businesses, in what is perhaps a uniquely diverse and dynamic food sector, which includes:-

  • One of the main shellfish producing sectors in Europe, including the largest by volume supply of purified oysters.
  • The main wild scallop sector in Scotland.
  • One of the main fish smokery sectors in Scotland.
  • A significant and growing artisan style manufacturing sector.
  • Overall the 3rd largest (by number of businesses) manufacturing sector in Scotland.
  • A vibrant catering and retail sector supplying the local population and the tourist industry.

Officers inspect food premises and advise businesses on Food Safety, labelling and composition matters. Where contraventions of food legislation are found, officers have powers to serve notice on business owners. They can also prohibit processes or the use of unsatisfactory equipment or in extreme cases close premises.

For further information or advice please contact us.

Inspection of Food Premises  

Officers from Environmental Health ensure food safety in a number of ways:

  • Assessing the standard of premises where food is prepared
  • Monitoring the processes used to prepare food
  • Providing free advice to food businesses about premises, equipment or processes
  • Training and educating food handlers. 
  • Using the law to require food businesses to improve their premises or processes
  • Using the law to prohibit food premises or processes used.

Officers regularly inspect food businesses to assess the standard of operation.  Inspections are planned and organised using a priority system, which is based on the potential risk posed by the nature of the operation carried out by the business.  The more high risk businesses include hospital kitchens, food manufacturers and processors, butchers' shops and large catering establishments.  Low risk premises include small retailers of packaged foods.  Most food businesses are of a medium or low risk.  Around 80,000 inspections of food premises are carried out by officers in Scotland each year.

Many people want to know how ‘hygienic’ their favourite restaurant, takeaway or shop is and the Food Hygiene Information Scheme provides “at a glance” information about the standards of hygiene in food businesses both at the premises and on our website.

CookSafe Initiative

From 1st January 2006 food safety legislation has required all food businesses, including caterers, to apply food safety management procedures, based on the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), to their business.

A food safety management system based on HACCP principles builds on the everyday awareness of the business owner, helping to generate a system that encourages safe food production and gives peace of mind for the business owners.

CookSafe is a food safety management system. This is a guidance manual, which if followed, will enable food business operators to control food safety, building upon your existing good practice within your catering business.

CookSafe is being issued by the Food Standards Agency Scotland through Argyll and Bute Council, to provide further assistance and support to the catering sector.

If you require further information about CookSafe please contact us. Or visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Eat Safe

What is the award?
The Eat Safe award is designed to promote excellence in food hygiene. Caterers have to achieve food hygiene and food safety management standards beyond those required by law. It will also help consumers make informed choices about where to eat out by providing a recognisable 'sign' of excellence in standards of food hygiene. Environmental Health Officers play a key role in the scheme.

Who can get the award?
Initially the award was limited to catering operations to which the public has access. From January 2006 the award has been opened up to all catering businesses.

How do you get the award?
It must be noted that premises do not apply for the award. Officers will assess if a business is eligible while carrying out routine inspections. If the business meets the standards required, they will be advised by the officer. To enter the scheme the business has to agree to terms and conditions which cover the issue of the award and circumstances under which an award can be withdrawn.

Eligible businesses will be issued with a certificate and promotional material to display in their premises. The certificate is signed by the FSA and the Council.
For more information about the scheme or to see if an individual premises has received an award and look for awards in a specific location visit: www.eatsafe.gov.uk/
For further information on any of the matters please contact us.

Safe and Local Supplier Approval (SALSA) and ISO 22000

SALSA is a nationally recognised food safety certification scheme specifically developed for small and micro producers. The scheme allows businesses to demonstrate that they operate using a robust and effective food safety standard. The schemes wide acceptance by retailers and food service providers has assisted in SALSA becoming the Food Safety Scheme for producers with big ambitions.


SALSA offers extensive support and guidance to members during their audit preparation. If you are a supplier or a buyer involved in local or regional sourcing, and are interested then visit the SALSA website to find the information you need to participate in the Scheme.

The ISO 22000 international standard specifies the requirements for a food safety management system. It integrates the principles of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system and application steps developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. By means of auditable requirements, it combines the HACCP plan with prerequisite programmes. Thus it provides the means to determine and document why certain identified hazards need to be controlled by a particular organisation and why others need not.

See also:

Alleged Food Poisoning

Shellfish Harvesting