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 If the business wishes to appeal, it must do so within 21 days of notification, during which time the rating will not be published.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.
How can a business improve its Rating?
A food business should follow the advice and required actions in the last inspection report.
For tailored advice and information to assist compliance with food hygiene legislation East Staffordshire Borough Council can assist your business through its enhanced food advice service.
The Council provides traing and advice to businesses. This costs £175 for a new business advisory service and £178 for compliance advice to assist an existing business in gaining a rating of 5.
If you would like further information on these services please contact us via email at EHSupport@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk
How can I apply for a revisit?
Requests for revisits apply to premises that have a rating of '0' to '4'
You can make a request for a re-rating at any time after the initial inspection provided that actions needed to improve legal requirement have been carried out. When completing the form, it is important that you explain what actions you have taken on the issues raised at your last inspection and you should include supporting evidence, for example, receipts or photographs to show that work has been completed. This is important as we could refuse your request if you do not provide sufficient information and evidence.
There is no fee to rate a premises. However, East Staffordshire Borough Council charge £128.50 for re-rating requests received following the initial inspection of the business. The re-rating visit will not be undertaken unless the written request and the payment have been received. Following an application for a re-rating an invoice will be sent detailing how the fee can be paid.
The re-rating visit will be unannounced and will not only assess whether the required improvements have been made, but will also assess the level of compliance that is found overall at the time of the re-rating visit. This means that the food hygiene rating could go up, down or remain the same. It is important that businesses put in place food hygiene measures and manage their businesses at all times. You will then be notified of your food hygiene rating, in writing within 14 days of the inspection.
The Food Standards Agency has produced guidance for businesses on how each of these safeguards works.