Food Inspection Qualifications

The Environmental Health Registration Board (EHRB) awards certificates to those who have successfully completed the technical qualifications and maintains the qualification registers.

The Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspection (HCFPI) was developed to allow non-EHOs employed by Food Enforcement Authorities to meet the requirements of the Food Standard Agency's Code of Practice. A person inspecting food premises for, or on behalf, of a Food Enforcement Authority should be either qualified as an Environmental Health Officer (EHO), an Official Veterinary Surgeon (OVS) or hold the Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspection.

The HCFPI’s assessments are designed to test a candidate’s knowledge in this specific area of work. It does not cover food quality in terms of fitness or nutritional value but requires candidates to have a deep and thorough knowledge of food microbiology, food science and technology, food law and criminal law, building construction and building services in relation to food businesses and risk assessments.

To obtain the HCFPI candidates are required to:

  • Complete an accredited course of study (see tab below)
  • Apply for partial registration with EHRB
  • Undertake a period of practical training and complete the HCFPI logbook
  • Complete the HCFPI professional interview

The HCFPI logbook is supplied when a candidate applies for partial registration with EHRB. Candidates can complete the logbook and interview in any order, although the logbook cannot be submitted for assessment, or the interview undertaken, until the accredited course has been passed and we are informed of the result.

Upon successful completion of all elements candidates are awarded the HCFPI of EHRB and their names appear in the HCFPI register.

The Higher Certificate in Food Control (HCFC) is the baseline qualification for food hygiene and food standards.

The HCFC differs from the Higher Certificate in Food Premises Inspection (HCFPI) because it allows non-EHOs to meet the requirements of the Code of Practice relating to the inspection, detention and seizure of foodstuffs and food standards official controls in addition to the requirements for the inspection of food premises.

To obtain the HCFC candidates are required to:

  • Obtain the HCFPI of EHRB
  • Complete an accredited Food Standard module and the associated assessments
  • Complete an accredited Food Inspection module and the associated assessments

Upon successful completion of all elements candidates are awarded the HCFC of EHRB and their names appear in the HCFC register.

Accredited institutions delivering the HCFPI

University of Birmingham
Course leader: Ms Madeline Smith
More details from University of Birmingham

NESCOT College of Further and Higher Education
Course leader: Alice Bimpong
More details from NESCOT

Accredited institutions delivering the HCFC

University of Birmingham
Course leader: Ms Madeline Smith
More details from University of Birmingham

A top-up module for holders of the HCFPI is also available. For more details contact Gillian Burrows.

Coventry University
Course leader: Lisa Winnall
More details from Coventry University

A top-up module for holders of the HCFPI is also available. For more details contact Lisa Winnall.

Candidates working towards the technical qualifications are required to complete a period of practical training. The logbook provides the evidence of the scope and depth of that training.

In general terms the practical training should include:

  • familiarity with industry guidance notes and codes of recommended good practice relating to food premises;
  • techniques of inspection, including evaluation of systems, the application of HACCP principles, the reporting of inspection outcomes, etc;
  • mechanics of enforcement;
  • principles and procedures for prioritising and scheduling food-premises inspections and updating records;
  • techniques and procedures for taking samples of food, including water used for food purposes;
  • exposure to a range of different types of food premises. This will include premises with a priority inspection rating of A or B, those engaged in the manufacture or processing of food and wholesalers and distributors which are classed as substantial and premises which have documented Food Safety Management systems;
  • implementing SFBB or similar Food Safety Management Systems.

Although we will accept relevant experience and training that has been acquired within private industry, certain aspects of the training can only be properly completed while training and/or working with a Food Enforcement Authority.

Application to submit Practical Training Logbook for Technical Assessment 2020

Candidates working towards the HCFPI are required to complete a Professional Interview after they have successfully completed their accredited course. The interview is conducted in the following manner:

  • Candidates are introduced to our two examiners conducting the interview.
  • The examiners will give the candidate a scenario and leave the room for 20 minutes to enable the candidate to read the scenario and make any notes they wish.
  • The interview commences and lasts between 30 to 45 minutes.

The interview will be based on a fictitious scenario where the candidate will be cast in a role of a newly qualified food premises inspector holding the HCFPI of EHRB. During the interview the examiners will assess the candidate against the following four criteria:

  • Appreciation of the issues associated with the scenario;
  • Application of skills to the scenario;
  • Application of legislative requirements to the scenario; and
  • Communication skills demonstrated at the interview.

A moderator may sit in on the interview, however their role is to assess the examiner and not the candidate.

Application to attend Technical Qualification Professional Interview 2020

Interview dates

19 March 2020, London
Application Deadline: 6 February 2020

17-18 September 2020
Application Deadline: 6 August 2020

Candidates enrolled on accredited HCFPI and HCFC courses are required to apply for partial registration with the Environmental Health Registration Board in order to obtain the HCFPI practical training logbook or apply for the professional interview. When the registration form and fee are received the candidate’s details are entered into a database and the candidate is sent a unique registration number and the HCFPI logbook.

Before applying for partial registration, candidates are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with the Examination Regulations.

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