Food Hygiene Rating Scheme - Information for Businesses
What is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme?
The scheme tells consumers about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels, supermarkets and other places they shop for food and helps them choose places with good hygiene standards.
Your business will be given a hygiene rating following an inspection by a Food Safety Officer. The rating will depend on the standards of hygiene found at the time of the inspection and will be published on the Food Standards Agency website.
Your business can be given one of six ratings.These are on a scale from '0' at the bottom, which means that urgent improvement is necessary, to '5' at the top, which means that the business was found to have 'very good' hygiene standards.
How is this assessed?
Your food hygiene rating is based on the level of compliance in three areas -
- How hygienically the food is handled
- The condition and cleanliness of the structure
- How the business manages what it does to make sure food is safe
How can a business demonstrate that food is handled hygienically?
You can do this by showing, for example, that -
- There are high standards of personal hygiene of staff – e.g. clean over-clothing (such as aprons), appropriate head-wear, minimal jewellery and regular and appropriate hand-washing
- Control measures in place to prevent cross contamination – e.g. use of separate areas for handling raw and cooked foods, proper use of colour-coded chopping boards, and correct use of appropriate cleaning chemicals
- Foods are stored at the correct temperature – e.g. food stored in fridges is maintained at less than 8°C and that the chill chain is protected
- Foods are properly cooked, re-heated and cooled - e.g. foods are cooked to 75°C for at least 30 seconds or hotter and are checked visually for signs of thorough cooking, and foods are cooled quickly and as necessary refrigerated
What about the condition and structure of the premises?
There should, for example, be -
- A suitable structure which is clean and in good repair throughout the premises.
- Adequate natural/artificial lighting
- Adequate natural/artificial ventilation
- A structure proofed against pest entry
What must a business do to demonstrate that it is managing food safety?
It is a legal requirement for the majority of food businesses to provide documentary evidence that the food they produce is safe. This should -
- Identify and show an understanding of the food safety hazards (microbiological, physical and chemical) within the business
- Provide evidence that measures have been taken to effectively control these hazards and that these measures are reviewed as appropriate
- Provide evidence that all food handlers are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters in order that they produce food that is safe to eat
The Food Standards Agency has produced systems to help create a documented food safety management system - Safer food better business. This is suitable for many types of food business, but not all.
You are advised to discuss which food safety management system is suitable for your business with one of our Food Safety Officers.
How can a business improve its rating?
To get the best possible rating, you should -
- Look at your last food hygiene inspection report to check that you've taken all of the actions needed to ensure that you meet legal requirements - if you can't find your last report, contact us at and we will be able to give you a copy
- Continue making regular routine checks to ensure hygiene standards are being maintained and staff are following the rules, and promptly arrange for any repairs or maintenance of the premises or equipment
- Ensure you keep up to date with any new information which may require you to take action, for example, updates to information regarding E.coli and the handling of eggs. This information is available on the Food Standards Agency website
Can I appeal against my score?
Yes. If you disagree with your rating or scores you can appeal. You have 21 days to do this from the day you receive your rating notification by completing an 'Appeal Form'. Your case will be reviewed by the Environmental Health Manager. If you do not submit an appeal your rating will be published no less then 21 days from the date you were notified.
Although not necessary, we request that you first contact your inspecting officer to discuss any issues before taking action as the problem may be able to be resolved informally.
I have carried out all the work that the inspector required so can I be re-scored?
Yes. If after the inspection you take steps to improve your rating based on the issues identified by your inspecting officer you can request a re-visit. This request must be made in writing by completing a 'Request for Revisit Form' and can be made any time after the inspection. There will be a charge of £200 for each re-score visit carried out at your request, payment can be made by telephoning the Council on 01322 343434. The re-score visit will be carried out, unannounced, within three months of receipt of your written application and payment.
If a re-visit is carried out it will be another full inspection and will look at all aspects of food hygiene, not just the issues raised at the last visit.
Click here for further information on the business safeguards that are in place.
Is there a 'right of reply'?
Yes. If you have improved hygiene standards since your last inspection or if there were unusual circumstances at the time of the inspection that might have affected your food hygiene rating you can make comments that will be placed with your online rating. This allows you to explain these circumstances to potential customers that look up your rating. This can be done by completing and submitting a 'Right to Reply Form'. Any information given will be reviewed before being published online at the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Website.
For further information or advice contact us via our Online form or call 01322 343434