Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

Food Hygiene rating (NI) Act 

This legislation came into force on 7 October 2016 and made it compulsory for all food businesses that have received a statutory food hygiene rating - commonly known as ‘Scores on the Doors’- to display it in prominent positions at all public entrances to their premises.  Rating are also published on the Food Standards Agency’s website

What is a statutory food hygiene rating?

A statutory food hygiene rating is an assessment of the practices, conditions and documentation found during a food hygiene inspection of your business. Your local Council will have notified you of your score.

What is my legal obligation?

All food business operators must display their statutory rating in prominent positions at all public entrances to their premises where it can be readily seen and easily read.  They must also ensure that their rating is declared to any prospective customer making an enquiry by any means eg in person or by telephone. 

When is a statutory rating valid?  

A statutory rating is valid from the time you are notified by  the Council unless it is subject to an appeal.  The rating remains valid until notification of a new rating is received and the period of 21 days for an appeal has expired. 

What safeguards do I have?  

Your rating will have been carefully assessed by a suitably trained authorised Environmental Health Officer using strict guidelines.  In addition you have the following options:

Appeals

If you disagree with the risk scoring that produced your rating you can appeal the rating.  Appeals must be made in writing to the Council’s Environmental Health Manager (Food Control) within 21 days (including weekends and Bank holidays) of being notified of your rating.  An Appeals form, which may be used for this purpose, is available to download below.

“Right of Reply”

You have a 'Right of Reply' which will be published on the Food Standards Agency’s website with your rating to explain any actions you have subsequently taken or mitigation for the conditions found at the time of the inspection.  Your Right of Reply must be made in writing to the Environmental Health Manager.  A “Right of Reply” form, which may be used for this purpose, is available to download below. 

Request for a re-rating Inspection

If you have improved/addressed the issues raised at the time of the inspection when your rating was assessed and you are compliant with the above Act you can apply for an inspection for the purposes of re-rating.  This must be made in writing to the Environmental Health Manager (Food Control). A Request for a revisit form, which may be used for this purpose, is available to download below. Please note that following a Re-rating Inspection, your ranking can go down as well as up. Therefore, please make sure all the recommended improvements have been made and that the appeal period has passed before you apply.

A fee of £150 must accompany the application which can be paid in cash at either the Town Hall, Bangor or 2 Church Street, Newtownards.  You can also send a cheque made payable to Ards and North Down Borough Council or pay with a credit or debit card either in person or over the phone.  Please do not send cash in the post. 

In order for the re-rating inspection to be carried out you must ensure that you are complying with the Food Hygiene Rating Act (NI) 2016.  That is you must be displaying a valid food hygiene rating sticker in the manner required by the legislation.  Failure to do so will mean that the inspection will not be carried out and a fixed penalty notice for £200 may also be issued. 

If you require any further advice or information please contact The Food Control Team on 0300 013 3333 or email foodenquiries@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk