Food law and enforcement

Food Law Code of Practice


The Food Law Code of Practice for Northern Ireland sets out the way in which local authorities should enforce food law. It also provides guidance on how they should work with food business operators.

Local authorities (usually referred to as district councils in Northern Ireland) must comply with the instructions included in the code of practice when they enforce food law. They must follow and implement all the provisions of the code that apply to them.

The code of practice is revised and updated from time to time to:

  • reduce the paperwork burden on business and on local councils
  • update it with changes in legislation
  • maintain standards of public health and consumer protection

Food Law Practice Guidance

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) issues Food Law Practice guidance. This gives advice and practical guidance to enforcement officers on how best to apply the code of practice. The guidance is not legally binding.

Practice guidance covers:

  • administrative matters, such as the qualifications and experience of officers
  • general enforcement matters, including prohibition and improvement notices
  • guidance on monitoring compliance with food laws and carrying out inspections
  • guidance relating to establishments dealing with specific products, such as fresh meat or shellfish
  • Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland Code of Practice Helpline
    028 9041 7722