Hannah Leese - Partner
Rat infestation

Pest control and Regulatory actions

All buildings, be they commercial or residential, can be the victim of problems with pests. For food businesses, ensuring pests are kept under control is a vital requirement and for many, a daily struggle.

Due to the many diseases which some pests carry and the resultant risk to public health, a pest infestation in a food business is likely to result in the immediate closure of the business by the regulator. Anything less than an infestation, for example where there is some evidence of pests, can result in other enforcement action, which although not as dramatic as being shut down with immediate effect, can be equally costly.

Food businesses are regulated by a number of different bodies, depending on the type of business and their location. The main ones are Trading Standards in local councils and the Food Standards Agency.

When an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) or equivalent officer attends a food business and finds evidence of pests, the options available to them are:

  • advice letters
  • enforcement notices such as a remedial action notice or a hygiene improvement notice
  • or notices/orders which will force the immediate closure of the premises called a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice/Order

If the breach is serious enough, the EHO may also make a referral for criminal investigation which could result in a criminal prosecution.

The Regulatory team at Roythornes is experienced in challenging enforcement action and defending against prosecutions by the Regulator against food businesses. If your business has been the subject of enforcement action, please contact our recognised experts.

For further advice on what to do if you have received a Remedial Action Notice, a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice/Order, are under investigation or have been summonsed to Court, please see our ‘What to do if…’ blog series here.

 

 

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