Search for hygiene ratings
Are you planning to eat out or maybe you are getting food in?
Find out if a restaurant, takeaway or food shop you want to eat at or buy food from has good food hygiene standards.
The food hygiene rating or inspection result given to a business reflects the standards of food hygiene found on the date of inspection or visit by the local authority. The food hygiene rating is not a guide to food quality.
Advice to food businesses
The National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is a Food Standards Agency/Local Authority partnership initiative, which was launched on 1 October 2010 and routine inspections undertaken on or after this time are included.
The aim of the Scheme is to provide consumers with at-a-glance information about hygiene standards in food businesses found during planned inspections to help them to make informed choices about where they buy and eat food.
Restaurants, takeaways, cafés, sandwich shops, pubs, hotels, supermarkets and other retail food outlets, as well as any other business where consumers can eat or buy food, will be given a hygiene rating as part of the scheme.
Within 14 days of receiving your unannounced inspection you will be given a rating which reflects the inspection findings and takes into account the following: -
- Confidence in management / control procedures
This takes into account whether or not the food business has produced and implemented a documented food safety management system (i.e. HACCP or Safer Food Better Business). Consideration will also be given to any associated monitoring records, whether the system has undergone review to ensure its accuracy and whether monitoring practices are verified (e.g. probe thermometer calibration checks to ensure accuracy).
- Food hygiene and safety procedures
This takes into account how hygienically food is handled, the use of good food safety practices (for example stock rotation, storage of food to preclude the risk of contamination etc.) and temperature control.
- Food premises structure
This takes into account the design, layout and construction of the food premises and also includes the structural repair and cleanliness in which the premises is maintained. The provision of lighting, ventilation, drainage and washing facilities are also incorporated in this requirement. You are reminded that it is essential to food safety that food businesses are kept in a well-maintained and clean condition.
You will be given one of 6 ratings. Level 5 means that you have received a very good level of compliance with legal requirements, whilst level 0 indicates that urgent improvement is necessary. Any business, no matter how small should be able to achieve the top rating of 5. Ratings for all businesses included in the scheme will be published on a national website which will be accessible to the public, and you will be encouraged to display your rating at the premises.
Remember – Good food hygiene means a good rating and a good rating is good for your business.
The scheme will include safeguards to ensure fairness to your businesses.
If you consider that the score given by the 'inspecting officer' is unjust, you may appeal this with the local authority's Lead Officer for Food safety in writing within 14 days of receiving your rating.
More information on The National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme can be found on the Food Standards Agency website. or alternatively you can contact the Food Safety Team on 01495 235278.
Firstly speak to the food safety officer that undertook the inspection of your premise - the details will be in the letter you received following the inspection. This will help you understand how your rating was calculated and try to resolve the matter without having to submit an appeal. If you still feel the rating is wrong or unfair you can lodge an appeal using the appeal form below.
Food hygiene rating scheme - appeals form (PDF 25kb)
You must lodge the appeal in writing within 14 days of being notified of your food hygiene rating (this includes weekends and public holidays).
If you lodge an appeal the Food Standards Agency website will show that your hygiene rating is "awaiting publication".
If you do not appeal within 14 days then your food hygiene rating will be published on the Food Standards Agency website.
The lead officer for food or in her absence the Environmental Health Manager will review your case and you will be notified of the result within 7 days from the date the appeal was lodged. Your hygiene rating will then be published on the Food Standards Agency website.
If you don't agree with the outcome of the appeal you can challenge the council's decision by judicial review.
Right to reply explained
The "right to reply" lets you explain to potential customers any actions that you have taken after your inspection to improve hygiene standards at your premises or to say if there were unusual circumstances at the time of the inspection that might have affected your food hygiene rating. It is not an opportunity to complain or criticise the food hygiene rating scheme or your food safety officer.
If you wish to use the "right to reply" you should send your comments in writing to the food safety officer that undertook the inspection of your premises using the Right to Reply Form. There is no deadline for this so you can submit your "right to reply" at any time up until your next inspection when you will be issued with a new food hygiene rating.
Food hygiene rating scheme - right to reply form (PDF 33kb)
The council may edit your comments in order to remove any offensive, defamatory, clearly inaccurate or irrelevant remarks. The comments will then be published on the Food Standards Agency website together with your food hygiene rating.
Requested re-visits explained
If you make the improvements to hygiene standards that the food safety officer told you about at your last inspection, you can ask for a re-visit before the next inspection so that the hygiene standards can be re-assessed, with a view to giving you a new food hygiene rating.
Before making a request for a re-visit you will need to look carefully at the comments that the food safety officer made about hygiene standards found at your premises in the report issued following your last inspection. You should make sure that you have taken appropriate action to address all the issues raised. You can discuss anything you are unsure about with your food safety officer or ask for further help on how to make improvements.
This is important because you can only have one re-visit between planned inspections of your premises. The food safety officer will be looking at overall standards not just at the specific areas you have been working on to improve, so your hygiene rating could well go down and not up and you will not be able to get a new rating until your next planned inspection.
If you wish to request a re-visit you should put your request in writing using the request a revisit form to the food safety officer that undertook the inspection of your premises. You must explain the actions you have taken on the issues raised at your last inspection and you should provide supporting evidence, e.g. receipts or photographs to show that work has been completed. This is important as the council could refuse your request if you do not provide sufficient information and evidence.
Food hygiene rating scheme - request a revisit form (PDF 35kb)
If the request is refused you will be given an explanation of why and advice on any action you need to take or evidence you need to provide before your request can be agreed. If you do not agree with the officer's decision to refuse your request, you can raise the matter with the lead officer for food. If you cannot resolve the matter with the lead officer then you can use the Council's complaints procedure.
There is no deadline for making a request for a re-visit you cannot however dictate when the re-visit should take place. The re-visit will usually take place within the first 3 months following the inspection.
If you make a request during the first 3 months you can expect a re-visit within 6 months of the inspection but you will not be told a specific date and time. If you make your request later than 3 months after your inspection, you can expect a re-visit within 3 months but again you will not be told a specific date and time. If you are still waiting for a re-visit after these times, you can ask the lead officer for food to investigate.
At the re-visit the food safety officer will assess the standards of hygiene at your premises and you will be told in writing within 14 days what your new food hygiene rating is. As with the original hygiene rating you can appeal this if you think it is wrong or unfair or you can submit a "right to reply" for publication online.
For further information visit the Food Standards Agency website.