Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme provides consumers with information about hygiene standards in food business establishments at the time they are inspected to check compliance with legal requirements on food hygiene. The food hygiene rating given reflects the inspection findings.
The purpose of the scheme is to allow consumers to make informed choices about the places where they eat out or shop for food and, through these choices, encourage businesses to improve their hygiene standards. The overarching aim is to reduce the incidence of food-borne illness and the associated costs to the economy.
The scheme is a Food Standards Agency/local authority partnership initiative to provide consumers with at a glance information about hygiene standards in food businesses found during planned inspections. The aim is to help the public make informed choices about where they eat out or shop for food. Having a single scheme in place will help ensure consistency for businesses both within and across local authority boundaries.
The Food Hygiene Scheme will help you choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving you information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels, and other places you eat out. Supermarkets and other food shops are also included in the scheme.
There are six different food hygiene ratings (‘0’ up to ‘5’) - the top rating (5) represents a ‘very good’ level of compliance with legal requirements and all businesses irrespective of the nature or size of their operation should be able to achieve this. When you eat out or shop for food, you will see a sticker in the window or on the door showing you the hygiene rating for that business. Businesses must display the rating at or near the entrance to the premises in a location where they can be readily seen and easily read by customers before they enter the premises when it is open for business.
Food hygiene ratings for all local authorities taking part in the scheme are published online at www.food.gov.uk/ratings
When carrying out a food hygiene inspection an Environmental Health officer (EHO) will consider the following elements, which will then determine the business’ food hygiene rating:
- Hygiene – how the food is prepared, cooked, reheated, cooled and stored.
- Structure - The condition of the structure of the buildings – including the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities, also includes the cleanliness and condition of equipment.
- Confidence in management - How food safety within the business is managed and how the business records what it does to make sure food is safe.
Following inspections, EHOs will provide a business with their business’ rating and, if not the top rating, information on improvements required. This will be detailed in an inspection report. Following notification of the food hygiene rating and once the period allowed for appeal has ended (21 days after the notification), the rating, as well as additional information on the ‘ratings breakdown’ for the business, will be published on the Food Standards Agency website at: www.food.gov.uk/ratings
The rating is notified to a Food Business Operator within 14 days from the date of inspection. The number of ‘days’ includes weekends and bank holidays.
The food safety officer will explain to the person who owns or manages the business what improvements are needed and how they can achieve the top rating of '5'. The local authority will check that these improvements are made.
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has been designed to make sure that the ratings given to businesses are fair.