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Home > Business > Food Safety > Food hygiene ratings scheme

Food hygiene ratings scheme

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have adopted the Food Standards Agency's national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme from April 2013. 


Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

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. The aim is to help them to 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.

This national scheme is specifically aimed at establishments supplying food directly to consumers. This means that some businesses that were previously in the Suffolk Scores on the Doors scheme will be excluded and will not be rated. Premises that are excluded are those that do not supply food directly to the public and include manufacturers, packers, distributors and wholesalers. Excluded premises cannot apply to participate in the scheme.

Some premises will be exempt from the scheme. Exempt premises fall into two categories:

  • Those which are not generally recognised as being food businesses such as gift shops that sell packaged biscuits and sweets alongside other goods and newsagents selling sweets.
  • Certain establishments operating from private addresses. This exemption is mainly for childminders and other caring services. However such establishments can opt into the scheme for commercial purposes, if they wish. The details of these premises will be treated as sensitive and their home details not published on the website.

Home Caterers will be included, as the public expect them to be part of the scheme.

Food establishments are inspected by food safety officers from the Councils, to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements. The hygiene standards found at these inspections are rated on a scale ranging from zero at the bottom (which means ‘urgent improvement necessary’) to a top rating of five (‘very good’).

These ratings will be available for anyone to view on the FSA website. In addition to this, the food business will be given a sticker which they are encouraged to display at the entrance to their premises. This will give consumers a glimpse of what is going on in the kitchen of a restaurant, or behind the scenes in a shop, before making a decision about where to buy food or have a meal.


Food Standards Agency

The Food Standards Agency is an independent Government department set up by an Act of Parliament in 2000 to protect the public's health and consumer interests in relation to food.