Food hygiene rating scheme

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Are you planning to eat out or maybe you are getting food in?

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme helps you choose where to eat out or shop for food. The scheme gives you information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels, and other places you like to go to eat out, as well as supermarkets and other food shops.

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.

The Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act 2013

On 28 November 2013 the Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act 2013 and associated Regulations came into force. This Act and regulations introduce the mandatory Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in Wales. Food premises to which the Act applies must now display their Food Hygiene Rating sticker in a conspicuous place at, or near, each entrance to their food business. Failure to do this is an offence which could result in the issuing of a fine of £200 and/or prosecution. Premises are rated on a scale of 0 to 5 and the Act is designed to help consumers make informed choices about the places in which they eat, and from which they purchase food.

The tiers for the rating scheme under the Act are:-

Rating 012345
Meaning Urgent Improvement NecessaryMajor Improvement NecessaryImprovement NecessaryGenerally SatisfactoryGoodVery Good

Scoring is based on the following categories.

  1. 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.
  2. Food hygiene and safety procedures
    How hygienically the food is handled - safe food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage.
  3. 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. From 28 November 2014 the scope will also be extended to food establishments for businesses to business trade, for example food manufacturers, or packers with no retail outlet.

This Act replaces the previous voluntary scheme which was introduced in 2010. All premises to which the voluntary scheme applied will be transferred to the mandatory scheme within the coming months as they are routinely inspected, or if they are re-rated as a result of a request for a re-score or submission of a successful appeal. There is no requirement for premises that have been given a certificate and rating sticker under the voluntary scheme to display these, however businesses are encouraged to do so.

Following inspection, the food hygiene rating allocated will be notified to the food business within 14 days of the inspection. If no appeal is entered within a 21 day period following notification, the score allocated will be submitted for publication on the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme website at www.food.gov.uk/ratings.

The Rights of Food Business Operators under the Act

Should a food business operator wish to appeal the score allocated, they are encouraged in the first instance to contact the inspecting officer who will explain how the score has been calculated and try to resolve the matter without having to submit an appeal.

Should the matter not be resolved informally, a formal appeal may be lodged with the Senior Environmental Health Officer, Food, Health & Safety Team, Pontllanfraith House, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood, NP12 2YW by submitting the 'Appeals' form.

Adobe logo Food hygiene rating scheme - appeals form (PDF 33kb)

The appeal must be submitted within 21 days of the score notification date for it to be valid. The appeal will then be considered within 21 days. Pending the outcome of any appeal, the score allocated will not be published on the website.

If the food business operator is not happy with the outcome of the appeal then they may make a formal complaint in accordance with the local authority's complaints procedure, complain to the Ombudsman or instigate a judicial review.

Food business operators have a 'right to reply' following the food hygiene inspection, which will be published on the website with the score. Comments should be submitted in writing to the inspecting officer, on the 'Right to Reply' form. The council may edit the 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 the food hygiene rating. There is no deadline for this so the food business operator can submit the "right to reply" at any time up until the next inspection when a new food hygiene rating will be issued.

Adobe logo Food hygiene rating scheme - right to reply form (PDF 33kb)

Following inspection, should a food business operator have taken action to rectify non-compliances identified, a request may be made for a further visit to re-rate the premises. This request can be made using the 'Requesting a re-rating inspection' form.

Adobe logo Food hygiene rating scheme - request a revisit form (PDF 35kb)

Under the Act there is a charge for this which is presently set at £150 and must accompany the request before it will be processed along with supporting evidence, e.g. receipts or photographs to show that work has been completed. This is important as the request could be refused if sufficient information and evidence are not provided. If the request is refused an explanation of why and advice on any action that must be taken or evidence that must be provided will be given before the request can be agreed.

The food business operator can make the request at any time after the planned intervention, and the re-inspection visit will take place within three months of its receipt. Any visit that is undertaken will be unannounced. At the time of any re-inspection visit, the officer may not only check that the required improvements have been made, but also assess the level of compliance that is found overall. This means that the hygiene rating could go up, down or remain the same if deemed appropriate.

The Rights of Food Business Operators under the previous Voluntary Scheme

For around 18 months from the introduction of the Food Hygiene Ratings (Wales) Act 2013 there will be a transitionary period during which premises that were rated under the previous voluntary scheme will retain the rights that applied to them. This means the period for which to make an appeal is 14 days and 7 days for it to be determined. Additionally there is no fee for a re-rating request, however there remains the three month stand still period from the date of the initial inspection and then a three month period in which the re-rating inspection will be carried out.

Once the re-rating inspection is conducted the premises will then transfer to the mandatory scheme and will be required to display the score they are given, as well as having the new appeal rights and timescales detailed above.

The relevant 'Appeals' form', Right to reply form and 'Requesting a revisit' form for the voluntary scheme are retained here for premises who require them.

Adobe logo Food hygiene rating scheme - appeals form - prior to 28.11.13 (PDF 84kb)

Adobe logo Food hygiene rating scheme - right to reply form - prior to 28.11.13 (PDF 83kb)

Adobe logo Food hygiene rating scheme - request a revisit form - prior to 28.11.13 (PDF 87kb)

For advice please contact the Food, Health and Safety Team on 01495 235340.


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