Food hygiene rating information for businesses

The frequency of programmed inspections of a food business is risk based and depends on the type of business and its inherent risk, the level of hygiene management control and the previous record of compliance. Food hygiene rating stickerScoring of a food business is undertaken in accordance with Annex 5 of the Food Law Code of Practice (England) by Environmental Health Officers and Technicians at the District Council. The Annex 5 score dictates the frequency that a business will be inspected. Inspection frequency varies from six to twenty four months. The food hygiene rating given ('0' up to '5') reflects the inspection findings. The District Council has adopted the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS), in place of Scores on the Doors, from 1 April 2012. The FHRS is a national scheme, operated by the Food Standards Agency.

How are food hygiene ratings calculated?

At your inspection, an officer will check how well you are meeting the law on food hygiene. Three areas will be assessed. These 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. This is the level of (current) compliance with food hygiene and safety procedures (including food handling practices and procedures, and temperature control), maximum score 25;
  • the condition of the structure of the premises including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, equipment and other facilities.  This is level of (current) compliance with structural requirements, maximum score 25;
  • how you manage and record what you do to make sure food is safe using a system like Safer food, better business (SFBB). This is called confidence in management/control procedures, maximum score 30.

You will be given a score for each individual area and a total score, which is the sum of the three individual scores. Food safety officers use guidance to determine how to score each of these areas. Typically, the higher the score in each of the above categories, the lower the food hygiene rating.

Mapping of scores from the intervention-rating scheme at Annex 5 of the Food Law Code of Practice to the six FHRS ratings.

Total Annex 5 scores 0 - 15 20 25 - 30 35 - 40 45 - 50 >50
Additional scoring factor No individual score greater than 5 No individual score greater than 10 No individual score greater than 10 No individual score greater than 15 No individual score greater than 20 -
Food hygiene rating 5 4 3 2 1 0
Descriptor Very good Good Generally satisfactory Improvement necessary Major improvement necessary Urgent improvement necessary

The rating given 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. You will automatically get a new rating at each planned inspection.

To work out your hygiene rating, calculate your total score and locate the relevant column in the table above. If any individual score is higher than the highest permitted individual score in the second row, your rating will decrease to a rating where the highest individual score is no longer exceeded. For example if your total score was 30 points, but you scored 15 points in one area your rating would drop from 3 to 2.

The District Council operates a consistency framework to ensure scoring and rating of food businesses are comparable, and therefore comparisons between establishments using the food hygiene rating scheme are meaningful.

Improving your food hygiene rating

To get the best possible rating, this is what you can do now:

  • Look at your last food hygiene inspection report to check that you've undertaken all of the actions needed to ensure that you meet legal requirements. If you can't find your last report, contact us using the details below and we will be able to give you a copy.
  • At your next inspection, if you don't get the top rating and you have queries about the improvements you need to make to get a better rating, then the food safety officer should be able to give you advice.
  • Make sure that you and your staff continue to comply fully with all aspects of food hygiene law.

How is a food business notified of its food hygiene rating?

The District Council works to the Food Standards Agency 'Brand Standard' for operating the FHRS. This means that the food business operator (FBO) will be notified of their food hygiene rating in writing within 14 days of the date of their inspection. This notification will include an inspection report and a FHRS certificate and sticker showing the hygiene rating the business has been awarded. On receipt of the certificate and sticker a business should no longer display any previous certificate. If no appeal is made against the hygiene rating, the rating will appear on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme website within 14 days of the date of the inspection.

Appeals and Right to Reply

If an FBO considers that the food hygiene rating given by the inspecting officer is unjust, they may appeal the rating to the Principal Officer of Environmental Health. The District Council has an appeals and 'right to reply' policy [PDF 176KB], which provides full details on how an appeal can be made and how a 'right to reply' can be submitted. This should be read in full before any appeal or submission is made.

An appeal must be made by the FBO within 21 days of being notified of the food hygiene rating score for their business, using an appeal form [Word 152KB].

A FBOs also has a 'right to reply'. The purpose of this is to enable the FBO to give an explanation of subsequent actions that have been taken to rectify non-compliances, or mitigation for the circumstances at the time of the inspection that may have led to a low food hygiene rating. The 'right to reply' is not to complain about or criticise an inspecting officer. A 'right to reply' must be submitted using a 'right to reply' form [Word 151KB].

Requesting a re-inspection

Requests for re-inspections apply to establishments that have a rating of '0' to '4'. It is assumed an establishment with a rating of '5' will not request a re-inspection as this is the highest rating possible. The District Council has a procedure covering requests for re-inspections [PDF 79kb], which should be read in full before any application for a re-inspection is made. Requests must be submitted using a request for a re-inspection form [PDF 127KB].

A FBO can make a request for a re-inspection at any time after the planned inspection provided that actions necessary to rectify the non-compliances have been carried out. Non-compliances and priority actions are detailed on the inspection report. Evidence must be submitted to support any application for a re-inspection, showing what measures have been taken to rectify previously identified non-compliances.

The re-inspection will not take place during the three months following the original inspection at which the rating was given (this is called the 'stand still' period). The re-inspection will then take place within three months following the end of the three month 'stand still' period (or within three months of the request where this is made after the 'stand still' period). This means that six months is the maximum amount of time a business should have to wait for a re-inspection after making a request.

The re-inspection will be unannounced unless it is necessary to ensure certain staff are present. The re-inspection will not only assess whether the required improvements have been made, but will also assess the level of compliance that is found overall at the time of the re-inspection. The food hygiene rating will be revised by the inspecting officer in accordance with the provisions of the Food Law Code of Practice. This means that the food hygiene rating could go up, down or remain the same if deemed appropriate by the inspecting officer. The FBO will be notified in writing within 14 days of the inspection of their food hygiene rating.

Only one re-inspection is allowed, other than in duly justified exceptional circumstances.

New establishments

New establishments can be given an 'awaiting inspection' certificate and sticker if requested by the FBO when they register, and are then normally rated under the FHRS at the first inspection, partial inspection or audit.

Changes to the FBO, establishment name or premises location

In cases of a change in FBO, the establishment should complete a food business registration form.  The premises will be registered and treated as new, and a new food hygiene rating will be given at the first inspection, partial inspection or audit. The food hygiene rating for the previous FBO will be removed from the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, and the establishment will be marked as a 'new' establishment and 'awaiting inspection'.

In cases where there is solely a change to the name of the establishment but the FBO is the same, a new certificate and sticker will be issued following receipt of an updated food business registration form. This will be in the new trading name but a new food hygiene rating will not be given.

In cases where the FBO moves to new premises, the new establishment will be registered by the appropriate local authority following receipt of an updated food business registration form, and a new food hygiene rating given at the first inspection, partial inspection or audit. It is not appropriate to display a certificate that relates to a different address, as the inspection is specific to the FBO and to the premises.

Contact details

Environmental Health
Town Hall
Bank Road

Tel: 01629 761 212
Fax: 01629 761 165