Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
The council participates in the Food Standards Agency's national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. The scheme will help you choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving you information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels, and other places you eat out. Supermarkets and other food shops are also included in the scheme. You can find out what rating your favourite restaurant, cafe or bar in the local area has been given by visiting the Food Standards Agency website.
Following a food hygiene inspection by a food safety officer a business included in the scheme is rated a five for a very good premises through to zero for those premises that need to improve urgently. The hygiene rating shows how closely the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law.
The top rating of '5' means that the business was found to have 'very good' hygiene standards. Any business should be able to reach this top rating.
The food safety officer inspecting a business checks how well the business is meeting the law by looking at:
- how hygienically the food is handled - how it is prepared, cooked, reheated, cooled and stored
- 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
If a business does not reach the top rating the food safety 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'. The local authority will check that these improvements are made.
When you eat out or shop for food, you might see a sticker in the window or on the door, or a certificate on display, showing you the hygiene rating for that business. Businesses are encouraged to display these stickers and certificates at their premises in a place where you can easily see them when you visit.
What if a business disputes the score?
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has been designed to make sure the ratings given to the businesses are fair. If a business owner or manager feels their rating is wrong or unfair, they should contact the local authority food safety officer that inspected the business. The name of that officer will be on the visit form issued at the time of the inspection, and/or on any follow up correspondence that may have been issued as a result of an inspection.
If the business owner or manager still thinks that the rating is unfair or wrong, they can appeal in writing. To appeal, any food business can download an appeal form (see documents below) and send it to their local authority's lead officer for food within 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) of being told what their rating is.
Right to reply
The business owner or manager also has a 'right to reply'. This is different from an appeal. The owner or manager can download a right to reply form and send it to their local authority to tell the food safety officer how the business has improved hygiene, or to say if there were unusual circumstances at the time of the inspection. A business's right to reply will be published online by the council with the business's hygiene rating.
Request a revisit
The business owner or manager can request a revisit to adjust their score, but only if the non-compliances identified during the last inspection have been addressed. The business owner or manager can only make one request to the local authority for a revisit to be carried out before the date of the next routine inspection and there will need to be a 3 month ‘standstill’ period between the date of the last food hygiene inspection and the date of the revisit. The revisit inspection will be unannounced and the rating score can go up, down or remain the same depending on the conditions found at the time of the inspection.
To ask for a revisit, any food business can download a revisit form (below) and send it to their local authority.
It is recommended that you read the information contained in the leaflet 'FHRS safeguards for business' (see link below) before appealing against a rating, exercising your right to reply or requesting a revisit. This will give you more information about how to do this and how the scheme works.
Environmental Health team
If you have an enquiry about environmental health, send a message to the Environmental Health team