The ‘Food Hygiene Rating Scheme’is a local authority/Food Standards Agency partnership initiative. The
scheme provides consumers with information about hygiene standards in food premises at the time they are
inspected by local authority food safety officers to check compliance with legal requirements – the food
hygiene rating given reflects the inspection findings. The purpose is to allow consumers to make informed
choices about the places where they eat out or shop for food thereby encouraging businesses to improve their hygiene standards.
In order to ensure that the scheme is fair to businesses, it has been designed to
include a number of safeguards. These are
• a right to appeal
• a ‘right to reply’
• an opportunity to request a re-visit when improvements have been made in order
to be re-assessed for a ‘new’ rating.
Scoring is based on the following categories.
Confidence in management / control procedures
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.
Food hygiene and safety procedures
How hygienically the food is handled – safe food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage.
Food premises structure
The condition of the structure of the premises – cleanliness, repair, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities.
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. Any business, no matter how small should be able to achieve the top rating of 5.
The scope of the law currently extends to establishments supplying food direct to consumers – this includes restaurants, cafes, takeaways, sandwich shops and other places that people eat food prepared outside of the home, as well as food retailers.