Appeal against food safety or food standards advice from a local authority in England

The FSA's Independent Business Appeal Panel (IBAP) will consider any complaint or appeal from a business against food safety and food standards advice given by a local authority in England. Before contacting the panel, the business must have raised a formal complaint or appeal with its local authority and these must have concluded.

The FSA has introduced IBAP in response to the government's small food manufacturers review (part of the Focus on Enforcement Campaign).

Before you contact the panel

Before your business can submit details about your issue to the panel, you must have raised a formal complaint or appeal with your local authority and these must have concluded. This applies to food safety and food standards advice that your business thinks is incorrect or goes beyond what is legally required.

Having raised the matter with the inspector, their manager and the local authority’s complaints procedure, if you are still not satisfied then you have some alternative ways to seek resolution. The two routes are:

  • Writing to the local authority’s Chief Executive and/or your local councillor, if you have not already done so. You can do this online (See 'External sites' links on this page).
  • Raising the issue with the Independent Business Appeals Panel (see below).

Your initial choice of route does not mean you can’t pursue the other route at a later stage.

Other means of redress

Ask your MP

You can also write to ask your MP to take up your case with us or with ministers. You can find your MP's contact details by clicking on the 'External sites' 'Find your MP' link on this page.

Local Government Ombudsman

You can make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO). Its role is to investigate complaints about councils in a fair and independent way. The LGO website can be found via the 'External sites' links on this page.

Judicial review

Finally. you can go to Judicial review. More about this process can be found via the 'External sites' links on this page.

What the panel does

The Independent Business Appeals Panel will look into complaints from businesses and give a second opinion regarding written advice given by local authority inspectors in England about food safety and food standards which the food business operator thinks is incorrect or goes beyond what is legally required.

The panel does not consider appeals against formal enforcement action (for example, where a local authority has served a legal notice), Food Hygiene Rating Scheme ratings or where there is a Primary Authority partnership in place as appeals mechanisms are already in place.

The panel consists of independent members, including food industry representatives, who will have the competence and experience to assess advice that has been given on regulatory matters. The panel’s terms of reference can be found at the link towards the end of this page.

What to expect

Your issue will be put before the panel members who will review it thoroughly and write to you, as well as the local authority, to inform you of its findings.

The panel will only consider cases from 1 January 2014 onwards and the outcome will be available via this page.

The panel’s role is advisory. Local authorities will respect the role of the panel and will take its findings into account where appropriate.

Appeal to the panel

To submit an appeal, you must complete a form, which can be found at the link towards the end of this page, and email it to BusinessAppealsPanel@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

If you are still not satisfied

If you are not satisfied with the findings of the Independent Business Regulatory Appeals Panel, you can follow the other means of redress that are described further up this page.