Christmas is coming – and so is the Environmental Health Officer!!

For many bars and restaurants, the next couple of weeks are the busiest of the year.

The last thing you need is a visit from the Environmental Health Officer (EHO) telling you that they are serving you with a hygiene emergency prohibition notice as your practices pose an imminent risk of injury to public health.

Being served with a notice of this type means the EHO intends applying for a Court order to stop you trading immediately with all food related activities. You must close your premises and the Officer will display a notice to inform your customers why they have closed the business, this is not only a financial cost but also causes massive reputational damage.

The EHO must give you at least one days notice that they are going to make an application to the Magistrates Court for the hygiene emergency prohibition order.

As the business owner, you can attend the hearing yourself or you can instruct a lawyer to make representations on your behalf. If the Court grants the order, all risks identified will have to be completed to the satisfaction of the Officer before you can apply for the order to be removed.

Once you are content that you have fulfilled the requirements of the Order, you can request that it is lifted. The Officer must consider the position as soon as reasonably practicable and within a maximum of 14 days. Where the Officer is satisfied that the imminent risk of injury to health has been removed, the Officer will issue a Certificate of Satisfaction (‘Certificate’) within three days. If the Officer is not satisfied, they must give the reasons why and you cannot apply for removal again until you have met the standards they have given.

This is all extremely time consuming at a time of year when you can least afford it.

We can attend your premises and complete an inspection to identify any concerns that may be seen as posing a risk of injury to public health.

Sheila Ramshaw is an Associate in the Regulatory Services department at Sintons. To speak to Sheila about this or any other matter, contact her on 0191 226 3739 or

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