Routine Food Inspections

Council’s Environmental Health Officers carry out regular inspections of food businesses in the Willoughby local government area to make sure that they comply with required food safety standards. They check that premises are clean, that food handlers have appropriate skills and that food is safely prepared and stored.

Most food premises are subject to routine inspections twice a year.

What happens during a food premises inspection?

Council’s Environmental Health Officer will:

  • Arrive at the premises unannounced and introduce themselves
  • Ask to speak to the person in charge
  • Conduct the inspection whilst the business is open and handling food for sale
  • Proceed whether the business owner is there or not
  • Record non-compliances using a camera or other recording device
  • Produce a written report detailing the inspection outcome.

Unsatisfactory inspections are followed up to ensure compliance with food safety laws.

What is assessed during the inspection?

  • Whether you have appointed a trained Food Safety Supervisor (FSS), have an FSS certificate, and whether food handlers have the skills and knowledge to handle food safely
  • Food handling practices for storage, display, temperature control, food processing, and how you reduce the risk of cross-contamination
  • Cleaning, sanitising and hand-washing procedures and proximity of facilities
  • Pest control measures
  • Premises design and construction including water supply, lighting, and whether there are adequate and safe garbage facilities
  • Food labelling

Inspection fees

Council charges fees to carry out food premises inspections.

You will receive an invoice from Council after an inspection has been carried out.

See Council's Fees & Charges

Enforcement Options

Council has a responsibility to enforce food safety laws, and may take regulatory enforcement action for breaches. Action is undertaken in accordance with the NSW Food Authority Compliance. This action may be taken as a result of an inspection or from investigating a complaint.

Council’s Environmental Health Officers have a number of informal and regulatory options for dealing with breaches of the food laws.

Verbal or written warnings

For minor breaches, issued at the discretion of the examining officer.

Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs)

PINs that relate to food hygiene matters are publicly displayed on the NSW Food Authority’s Register of Penalty Notices.

Improvement Notices

A legal document ordering work to be done by a specific date.

Prohibition Orders

These can force the food business to close, or stop using a specific piece of equipment, until a further inspection is satisfactory and a Certificate of Clearance has been issued. A Prohibition Order may be issued if an Improvement Notice has not been complied with by the date specified, or to prevent or mitigate a serious danger to public health.

Seizure Notices

The power to seize food and/or unsuitable equipment.


For more serious or ongoing breaches of the Food Act 2003.