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Food hygiene rating scheme

We have joined the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme which tells consumers about the hygiene standards of food premises to help them choose where to eat or shop for food.

It was developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in conjunction with local authorities.

Food outlets, such as restaurants, takeaways and pubs, are inspected by our food safety officers to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements.

The hygiene standards found at these inspections are rated on a scale ranging from 0 (urgent improvement necessary) to 5 (very good) following an unannounced food hygiene inspection.

You can check the ratings of a food premises on the Food Standards Agency website.

All food businesses are encouraged to display a window sticker – making it easier for the public to see how each food business is complying with the law.

Information for food businesses

During inspections, the officer checks how well the business is meeting the law by looking at:

  • how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored, and how well staff are trained
  • the condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe

The 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′. Any business should be able to reach this top rating.

What the ratings mean

0 – Urgent improvement necessary
1 – Major improvement necessary
2 – Improvement necessary
3 – Generally satisfactory
4 – Good
5 – Very good

All ratings will be sent to the food business operator within 14 days of inspection.

Appeals

Appeals can be made to the lead officer for food within 21 days from notification of the rating (this includes bank holidays and weekends).

Appeals must be submitted on the appeals application form available from the FSA website. The rating will not appear on the national website until the appeal is determined.

Appeals will be determined within 21 days after the appeal was lodged and the rating will then be published on the national website.

Changing the rating

If all the work required by the inspecting officer has been completed following the initial food hygiene inspection, there is a right to request a visit to re-rate the business.

Only one request for a re-rating can be made any time after the initial routine inspection.

Details of the improvements must be made on the request form available from the FSA website including supporting evidence e.g. photographs.

No action will be taken for three months following the initial inspection and the officer has a further three months after this period to revisit. This visit will be unannounced.

A new rating may be given based on the level of compliance found during the re-visit. The rating could go up or down or remain the same.

Right to reply

The food business operator may make comments on the rating given; these comments may be displayed on the website giving the reasons for the rating. Comments must be made on the request form available from the FSA website. They will be viewed by food safety officers first in order to be approved before being uploaded to the website.

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