Food hygiene rating system FAQ

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The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is a national system for rating premises from grade 0 to 5.

How do businesses get a rating?

Business scored at inspection.

At programmed inspections, food safety officers will check how well the business is meeting the law on food hygiene. Three areas are assessed. Officers receive guidance on how to award these scores from the Food Standards Agency. The areas assessed are:

  • how hygienically the food is handled - how it is prepared, cooked, cooled, stored, and what measures are taken to prevent food being contaminated with bacteria. Possible scores are 0 (excellent hygiene), 5,10,15,20, 25 (very poor hygiene standards)
  • the condition of the structure of the premises including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, equipment and other facilities. Possible scores are 0 (Excellent structure), 5,10,15,20, 25( Very Poor structure)
  • how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe using a system like Safer food, better business. Possible scores are 0 (Officers are highly confident in the business), 10, 20, 30 (Officers have no confidence in the business)

Score converted to a Food hygiene rating

The food hygiene rating depends on how well the business does overall - the total score. It also depends on the area(s) that need improving the most - the business may do better in some areas and less well in others.

To get the top rating, you must score no more than 5 in each of the three areas. All businesses should be able to get the top rating. Businesses automatically get a new rating at each planned inspection.

Rating 5 (Very Good)

  • Total score under 15
  • Highest Individual score 5
  • Very high standards of food safety management. Fully compliant with food safety legislation.

Rating 4 (Good)

  • Total score 20
  • Highest Individual score 10
  • Good food safety management. High standard of compliance with food safety management.

Rating 3 (Generally satisfactory)

  • Total score 25 - 30
  • Highest Individual score 10
  • Broadly compliant with food safety legislation. Some more effort might be required.

Rating 2 (Improvement necessary)

  • Total score 35 - 40
  • Highest Individual score 15
  • More effort required to meet all legal requirements.

Rating 1 (Major improvement necessary)

  • Total score 45 - 50
  • Highest Individual score 20
  • Poor level of compliance with food safety legislation- much more effort required.

Rating 0 (Urgent improvement necessary)

  • Total score over 50
  • No highest Individual score
  • A general failure to comply with legal requirements. Little or no appreciation of food safety. Major effort required.

Which businesses get a rating?

All food businesses will receive a rating when they have their next routine inspection. The scheme includes restaurants, takeaways, shops, pubs, cafes, mobiles, home caterers, hotels and residential accommodation and supermarkets. There are approximately 800 businesses in the scheme.

Are any businesses not part of the scheme?

Low risk food businesses, such as newsagents that are not inspected and some food businesses operating from home, such as childminders, will not be included in the scheme.

Manufacturers and distribution centres who do not directly supply the public are currently excluded.

What if a business does not agree with its rating?

Business operators have three options if they are not happy with their rating or if they wish to make a comments.

Right of reply form

This can be used to explain why a business does not agree with their rating or to describe improvements that have been made in their business since the rating was awarded. Replies posted to the website by businesses will be checked before they are displayed.

NFHRS appeal form

Use this form to appeal against your rating if you think that the rating does not reflect the standards found at the time of inspection. You have 21 days to appeal.

NFHRS revisit form

Use this form to request a revisit to be re-rated if the business has taken action to put right non-compliances identified at the time of inspection. There is a charge of £170.00 if you would like your business to be re-rated. Submit this form and call 01732 876191 to make payment using a credit or debit card. Alternatively you can apply and pay online.

Are the ratings displayed on the food premises?

Following the programmed inspection a window sticker is sent to the business showing their rating. This is for them to display in their premises, but this is not compulsory.

How often will the website be updated?

The businesses' new rating will appear on the 'food hygiene rating' website: 36 days after the inspection date where a rating of 0-4 is awarded. For businesses achieving the top rating of 5 the rating will be published 14 days after the inspection date.

Early publication of rating form

Use this form to request that the rating is published before the 36 days.

Further Information

For more information, please contact the Food and Safety Team