Food hygiene ratings

Food hygiene ratings image

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, introduced in 2013, is designed to help you choose where to eat out or shop for food by providing information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels etc, as well as supermarkets and other food shops.

Food businesses are given a rating following a routine food hygiene inspection. The rating shows how well a business is complying with food hygiene law at the time of the inspection.

When carrying out food hygiene inspections an officer will consider the following areas, which will then decide the business’ food hygiene rating:

  • Hygiene – how the food is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored.
  • The condition of the structure of the buildings – including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities.
  • How food safety within the business is managed and how the business records what it does to make sure food is safe.

Food businesses are rated on a scale. At the bottom of the scale is ‘0’ – this means that urgent improvement is necessary. At the top of the scale is ‘5’ – this means that the hygiene standards are very good.

Food businesses must display the sticker showing their current rating, in a prominent position at the entrance to the premises. Businesses must also tell customers their rating if asked, for example if a customer orders a takeaway over the phone.

Failure to display a valid food hygiene rating is an offence. Officers can issue fixed penalty notices to businesses that do not display a valid rating. A fixed penalty notice will offer the opportunity for a person to pay a penalty of £200 within a period of 28 days from the day that the penalty notice is given, or a reduced penalty of £150 if payment is made within 14 days.

If you are a food business and have received a rating that you believe does not accurately reflect the conditions found at the time of the Officers inspection, you can appeal the rating using our online appeal form, within 21 days from the date that you receive the rating.

Alternately, food businesses can request an inspection to be carried out before the date of the next food hygiene inspection, so improvements can be checked and a new rating given if appropriate. Requests for re-inspections  must provide sufficient information on the improvements that have been made to the hygiene standards. Currently re-inspection requests costs £160. Payment should be made by debit card, and can be taken over the telephone.

Food businesses also have a ‘right to reply’. The right to reply allows a food business to comment on the rating given to the business, the comments are published alongside the rating on the food hygiene rating website.

All current Food Hygiene Ratings are published online by the Food Standards Agency, and can be checked by entering the name and address of the business concerned.

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