Food hygiene rating scheme
The ‘Food Hygiene Rating Scheme’ is a national local authority/Food Standards Agency partnership initiative.
The scheme provides consumers with information about hygiene standards in food premises at the time they are inspected by local authority food safety officers to check compliance with legal requirements – the food hygiene rating given reflects the inspection findings.
What types of businesses are given a rating?
Restaurants, takeaways, cafés, sandwich shops, pubs, hotels, supermarkets and other retail food outlets, and any other business where consumers can eat or buy food will be given a rating.
View a business hygiene rating
Go to http://ratings.food.gov.uk/search/en-GB?sm=1 to view a business' hygiene rating.
How are ratings are calculated
A business is given a score in three areas:
- How hygienically the food is handled
- Condition of structure
- How you manage and document food safety
The scores are converted to a food hygiene rating. The lower the score, the more hygienic the establishment.
There are six different food hygiene ratings ranging from ‘0’ at the bottom which means that urgent improvement is necessary up to ‘5’ at the top which means that hygiene standards are ‘very good’.
What safeguards are there to ensure ratings are fair?
The business will be notified of their rating in writing within 14 days of the inspection. The head office of multi-site business will also be notified. Along with notification of their rating, they will receive an explanation of the reasons that the business was rated as it was, and give details of any actions that they need to take to improve their level of legal compliance.
In order to ensure that the scheme is fair to businesses, it has been designed to include a number of safeguards. These are: an appeal procedure; a ‘right to reply’; and an opportunity to request a revisit when improvements have been made in order to be reassessed for a ‘new’ rating.
What is the appeal process?
Following a food hygiene inspection by an Environmental Health Officer or Food Safety Officer the business will told in writing - either at the time or within 14 days (this includes weekends and public holidays) - of their food hygiene inspection. If the business wishes to appeal, it must do so within 21 days of notification, during which time the rating will not be published. The Council will then respond within a further 21 days with a decision.
If the business thinks that the rating is wrong or unfair – in other words it does not reflect the hygiene standards at the time of inspection – they may appeal.
What is the purpose of the ‘right to reply’?
This lets the business explain to potential customers any actions that they have taken since their inspection to improve hygiene standards at their premises or to say if there were unusual circumstances at the time of the inspection that might have affected their food hygiene rating.
It is not an opportunity to complain or criticise the food hygiene rating scheme or the Officer who conducted the inspection.
What is the purpose of revisit requests?
Each business will automatically be given a new food hygiene rating each time their premises are inspected by their local authority.
If they make the improvements to hygiene standards that the local authority food safety officer told them about at their last planned inspection they can ask for a re-visit before the next planned inspection so that the hygiene standards in their premises can be reassessed with a view to giving them a new and higher food hygiene rating. The business can request the revisit at any time once the work has been done. If the request is made within 3 months of the inspection the revisit will be carried out 3-6 months after the inspection. If the request is received after this time the revisit will be carried out within 3 months of the request.
The Food Standards Agency has produced guidance for businesses on how each of these safeguards works.