Food hygiene ratings

Food hygiene rating

Food hygiene ratings for all businesses included in the scheme are published on the Food Standards Agency's food hygiene ratings website.

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Ratings can take up to 28 days to appear on the website after inspections.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS)

The ‘Food Hygiene Rating Scheme’ is a partnership initiative between local authorities and the Food Standards Agency. 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. The main purpose of the scheme is to:

  • allow you to make an informed choice about where you eat
  • encourage food businesses which have high standards to continue to maintain them
  • encourage those food businesses that have poor standards to improve

Officers from our commercial team inspect food outlets such as restaurants, takeaways and pubs etc. regularly. This is to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements.

Following an inspection the business is scored on the following elements.

  1. Level of compliance with food hygiene and safety procedures (including food handling practices, procedures to prevent cross contamination, and temperature control).
  2. Level of compliance with structural requirements (including cleanliness, layout, condition of work, wall and floor surfaces as well as standards of lighting and ventilation, equipment and other facilities)
  3. Confidence in management - including the use of appropriate documented food safety management procedures as well as the level of staff training, instruction and supervision.

The total of the three scores is then converted into an overall rating which can range from zero at the bottom (which means 'urgent improvement needed') to a top rating of five ('very good').

Type of businesses included in the scheme

Most food businesses that supply food directly to the consumer are included in the scheme including restaurants, shops, cafes, takeaways, delicatessens, care homes, hotels and pubs.

Exemptions

Some businesses are not included, for example child minders, as the business information includes personal information. These people will have the opportunity to opt into the scheme. Premises selling only low risk food are also exempt, as are manufacturers who do not supply food directly to the consumer. These businesses are still included in the council's food hygiene inspection programme even though they may not be part of the rating scheme.

What the ratings mean

It's important to remember that premises with a rating of 4 are good and those with a rating of 3 will generally comply with the law (but there will be some minor contraventions that require attention). 

Premises with a rating of 0 or 1 will have been required to carry out significant work to ensure food safety.

Businesses are not re-scored after completing the work; they must maintain the standards until the next inspection. There is an option for a business to request a revisit for the purposes of re-rating (see below).

To get a rating of 5, everything needs to be very good when the inspector calls.

Sadly some businesses invest heavily in the front-of-house but neglect the areas customers can't see. The problems that are most likely to give rise to food poisoning, such as poor temperature control and cross contamination, are difficult for customers to see. That's why we think the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is so important.

Why don’t you close down the premises with a low rating?

Officers can only close a business if it represents an imminent risk to health. Some zero rating premises may have fallen into this category, but local authorities will usually give the owner a chance to put things right and this may involve the service of legal notices. Sometimes caterers will close voluntarily for a short period of time whilst any remedial work is going ahead, but consumers would not necessarily be aware of the local authority’s intervention.

Safeguards for businesses

In order to ensure that the scheme is fair to businesses it has been designed to include a number of safeguards. There's an appeal procedure, a right to reply procedure and also an opportunity for a business to request a re-visit when improvements have been made. 

For food business owners

Request a revisit following your programmed statutory food hygiene inspection

As the food business operator of the establishment you have a right to request a re-visit for the purposes of re-rating if you have taken action to rectify the non-compliances identified at the time of inspection.

  • You can make one request for a re-visit following a programmed statutory inspection by us and you can make this at any time after the statutory inspection, provided that you have made the required improvements.
  • You must provide details of the improvements made with your request, including supporting evidence where appropriate.
  • If we think you have provided sufficient evidence showing that the required improvements have been made, and provided that a three month ‘stand still’ period has passed since the statutory inspection, one of our officers will make an unannounced visit. This will take place within three months of the end of the three month ‘stand still’ period or within three months of the request if this made after the ‘stand still’ period (if you were only required to make permanent structural improvements or repairs or to upgrade equipment, our officers can choose to carry out the requested re-visit sooner than this).
  • The officer will give you a ‘new’ food hygiene rating based on the level of compliance that is found at the time of the re-visit - you should be aware that your rating could go up, down or remain the same.

To make a request for a revisit, use the form below and return it via the contact details provided on the form or via the details in the correspondence left with you at the time of notifying you of your food hygiene rating.

Further information about these safeguards can be found on FSA’s website.

Scheme disclaimer

The food hygiene rating scheme is not an endorsement of current standards but merely reflects the score we awarded a premises at the time of their inspection. Nevertheless, we try very hard to make sure the information available on these pages is correct. The food hygiene rating scheme adheres to the FSA’s brand standard.

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