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typical river cruise boat

​The London Port Health Authority (LPHA) complies with the Food Standards Agency's Code of Practice and practice guidance on food safety enforcement. More information is on the FSA website.

LPHA Officers have both an enforcement and an advisory role.

The Food Hygiene (Ships and Aircraft) (England and Scotland) Order 2003 (as amended) applies the food hygiene regulations to merchant vessels entering the LPHA district. ​

They inspect pleasure craft and merchant vessels on the river to ensure that food safety and hygiene standards set down required by EC Regulation 852/2004 and the Food Safety Act 1990 are met and consumers' health is protected from food poisoning and waterborne infections.

Officers also provide information and guidance on meeting the standards, changes in legislation and matters of general public health concern on food, for example Food Alerts and Allergy Alerts issued by the FSA.

Information on all UK legislation, including relevant Orders is on the government legislation service.

Contact us

For more information on food hygiene legislation, changes in legislation, food hygiene training or advice email

Selling food

Food produced or sold on board river craft, merchant vessels and in dock premises may be sampled for microbiological quality to ensure it is safe for consumers. Samples are submitted to laboratories for examination and the laboratories provide the LPHA with certificates of examination and scientific opinion. The results help officers to determine food safety.

Registering a food business

Many of the river pleasure craft are defined as food premises within under the Food Safety Act 1990 and are required to register with the LPHA. The primary purpose of this is to provide the Authority with up-to-date information on food premises in the district so they may be inspected. The frequency of routine inspections depends on the type of food business and can vary from every six months to once every five years.

Download the Food Premises Registration Application Form (80KB)

Drinking water

Drinking water supplied at berths, piers and on board river craft and merchant vessels are closely monitored as a part of the Authority's food safety and hygiene enforcement duties to ensure its potability.​​

Potable water quality on vessels is subject to EC Regulation 852/2004 which requires the proper implementation of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedures including monitoring and record-keeping. These include bunkering procedures, supply hose and storage tank disinfection, maintenance of the free residual chlorine level at not less than 0.2 mg/L (ppm) and periodic microbiological assay of the water.

Shipping companies and responsible ship's officers are encouraged to discuss these requirements with the Port Health Officer. Detailed authoritative advice is contained in a booklet called 'Guidelines For Water Quality On Board Merchant Ships Including Passenger Vessels' which can be ordered from the Occupational Health and Welfare Service website.

The LPHA has also produced advice for the super chlorination of potable water tanks on vessels (35KB)

Liaison between port health authorities

Port health authorities liaise, as ships move from port to port often visiting the UK infrequently, so that follow-up visits and inspections are carried out to monitor progress on any matters that need rectification. The authorities liaise to ensure planning and consistency of inspections, enforcement and educational activities. The Association of Port Health Authorities (APHA) performs a vital role in this process, including the provision of a link between the Port State Control Agency for ships, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), and local port health authorities.

22 March 2012
Last Modified:
08 November 2017