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The Food Safety Team

Our aim is to make Colchester a safe place in which to eat, work, live and visit. These aims are in the Council's Policy Objectives.

What We Do
We visit all food outlets in the Borough to ensure that they comply with food safety law. At these inspections the premises will be given a rating under the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (note some premises will be excluded)All food businesses must register with the Local Authority before they open (in certain circumstances some businesses will need to be approved, Such as meat, dairy and fish processes etc).

Some aspects of the law and links to further information can be found below.  The main regulations relating to food safety can be found at the food safety law link above.


  • The Food Team visits food businesses in the Borough (usually anonymously) and takes samples of food and drink.  These samples are sent to a laboratory for testing to determine if any bacteria are present.  This gives us an indication of the safety of the food.
  • We investigate all genuine complaints about poor hygiene or foreign matter/objects in food to examine what has gone wrong, and to prevent it happening again. For further in formation on food complaints please refer to our information leaflet on pdf icon food complaints [362kb]. If you still wish to pursue a complaint please Contact Us.
  • Complaints relating to quality, composition or labelling (other than Date Codes) should be referred to Essex County Council Trading Standards
  • The Food Team offer free and unbiased advice to new businesses on food safety issues. If you are a new business, it is advisable that you contact us at the earliest opportunity (preferably before you have signed a lease agreement) to ensure that your proposed premises will be suitable for the activities you wish to carry out. Further advice on starting a food business can be found at Food Standards Agency's 'Starting a Food Business' page.
  • The Food Team investigate all notifications of illness that are suspected of being caused by food or food premises. For further information on what to do if you suspect that you have food poisoning please visit the Health Protection Agency website.
  •  The Food Team promote the Healthy Eating Scheme.


All work is carried out in accordance with national code of practice , Professional Services' Enforcement Policy and the Food Safety Enforcement Policy.