National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
The scheme is a local authority and Food Standards Agency partnership initiative designed to help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food. It does this by giving them information about the hygiene standards in food premises at the time they are inspected to check compliance with legal requirements. Having a single national scheme in place helps ensure that food businesses are treated fairly and consistently with their competitors and allows consumers to make easier comparisons with different areas of the country.
The Food Hygiene Rating scheme
The hygiene rating tells you the standards of hygiene found at the time of the inspection.
It is required by law that all premises that serve, prepare or sell food are inspected regularly by authorised officers. Routine visits are made to premises, most often on an unannounced basis, ranging from small local traders to large national and multinational companies.
The frequency of inspection depends on the level of risk associated with the type of premises, the volume of trade and officer assessment. The higher risk premises typically include supermarkets, restaurants, take-away’s, mobile caterers, public houses serving food, butchers, bakeries, slaughterhouses, residential care homes and hospitals. Lower risk premises typically include small grocery stores, newsagents and off-licences.
Each business is given a hygiene rating when it is inspected by an officer from the business’s local authority. A business is given one of six ratings. These are on a scale from ‘0‘ (the lowest rating) meaning that urgent improvement is necessary, to ‘5‘ (the highest rating) meaning that the business was found to have very good hygiene standards. All businesses should be able to achieve the top rating.
The officer inspecting a business checks how well the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene laws . The food hygiene rating awarded is dependent on the scoring in the following three categories:
- how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, stored, cooked, cooled.
- the condition of the structure of the premises including the cleanliness, layout, ventilation, equipment and other facilities.
- how the business manages and records what is does to make sure food is safe.
Officers will explain to the person in charge of the business if there are any improvements needed and how they can achieve a higher rating.
Food hygiene ratings can be found at food.gov.uk/ratings.
Right to reply – Appealing against your rating
As a business operator of the establishment you have a ‘right to reply’
- The purpose is to enable you to give an explanation of subsequent actions that have been taken to make the required improvements as detailed in the inspection letter, or to explain mitigation for the circumstances at the time of the inspection. It is not for making complaints or for criticising the scheme or the inspector.
- If you wish to use this ‘right to reply’, please use the Food hygiene rating right to reply form (Word document) and return it to the address at the bottom of the form.
- Your comments will be reviewed by the food safety officer and may be edited in order to remove offensive or defamatory remarks before being published online and displayed together with your food hygiene rating at food.gov.uk/ratings.
- There will be a statement at food.gov.uk/ratings that will highlight that the accuracy of your comments has not been verified by local authority officers.
Food hygiene re-inspection
You have a right to request a revisit for your business if you have taken action to rectify the non-compliances identified at the time of inspection.
There is a charge of £165 for us to conduct a revisit. To request a revisit complete the form Apply for food hygiene re-inspection.