Food hygiene ratings scheme
We adopted the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (the 'Scheme') in April 2013.
The Scheme help you choose where to eat out, or shop for food. It gives you information about hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways and hotels, as well as supermarkets and other food shops.
How the Scheme works
We run the Scheme in partnership with the Food Standards Agency, an independent government department who are responsible for protecting public health, with relation to food.
The Food Standards Agency is an independent government department. It was set up by an Act of Parliament in 2000.The FSA is in place to protect the public's health and consumer interests.
The scheme is important as it provides consumers with information about hygiene standards in food businesses. It helps consumers make informed choices about where they eat out or shop for food. The overall aim is to reduce the number of cases of food poisoning which currently affects around one million people in the UK every year.
Businesses included in the scheme
This national scheme applies to businesses supplying food directly to consumers.
Home caterers are included as they are regarded as food businesses.
Businesses excluded from the scheme
Some premises are excluded from the scheme because they do not supply food directly to the public.
Manufacturers, packers, distributors and wholesalers are excluded from the scheme and will not be given a rating.
Some premises are exempt from the scheme. They fall into two categories:
- Those not generally recognised as being food businesses (e.g. gift shops selling packaged biscuits and sweets alongside other goods).
- Certain establishments who operate from private addresses (e.g. childminders and other care services). However, they can opt into the scheme for commercial purposes, if they like. The details of their premises will be treated as sensitive and will not be publicly published.
How ratings are awarded
Food establishments are inspected by food safety officers from the Councils to ensure legal requirements are complied with.
This is based on how well the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law at that time. The assessment is based on a consideration of the following three elements:
- How hygienically the food is handled - safe food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage.
- The condition of the structure of the premises - cleanliness, repair, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities.
- How the business manages what it does to make sure food is safe and so that the officer can be confident standards will be maintained in the future.
Each of these three elements is essential for making sure that food hygiene standards meet requirements and the food served or sold to you is safe to eat.
The rating is only about the hygiene standards of the food business - it is not about the quality of the food or about the standards of service provided to customers.
What are the different ratings?
The standards found during inspections are rated on a scale from 0 (‘urgent improvement necessary’) to 5 (‘very good’). You can find out more here
All businesses should be able to achieve the top rating of 5.
Businesses are given a sticker with their rating. They are encouraged to display it at the entrance of their premises.
You can look up food hygiene ratings for local businesses and for businesses elsewhere in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on the Food Standards Agency's website.
Where can I get further information?
Read guidance from the FSA on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, or watch this video explaining the FHRS on YouTube produced by the Food Standards Agency.
Food hygiene rating rescoring
If your food business has been rated less than 5 and you have addressed all of the matters identified by the inspecting officer you can request a visit for the rating to be reassessed.
Requests are made via an online form at the bottom of this page. A fee is payable to cover the cost of the rescore visit.
In completing the form you must provide evidence of the actions you have taken to address the matters identified by the inspecting officer. This can include text and photographs.
You can ask for as many visits as you like, but you will have to pay for each visit.
Once a request has been made and paid for, an unannounced visit will be made.
Please note that the rescore visit will be a full inspection and review all matters related to the production of food. If new issues are found, then the score may stay the same or be lowered.
If your premises has been rated less than 5 on previous occasions then this will affect the Confidence in Management element of the score such that a rescore of 5 is not possible. If the history of compliance is particularly poor a rescore request may not be appropriate. You should contact the inspecting officer for advice.
Your new score will be displayed on the food hygiene rating scheme website within 21 days.
You can apply for a rescore visit online using our online form.