Home » Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Explained: Your Questions Answered
As a Food Hygiene Training Provider, we’ve been asked a lot of questions about the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme over the years. So, we’ve collated your questions into a long list to help you find the answers you need. For those serious about Food Hygiene, we offer an online ‘How To Get A 5 Star Rating‘ course specifically for businesses who want to get a Level 5 in the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.
What is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme?
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is run by the Food Standards Agency. It’s government led and operates in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It’s dedicated to assessing the hygiene levels of restaurants, takeaways, food shops, and cafes. And it’s all about making sure food in the UK is safe to consume.
How Are Food Hygiene Ratings Calculated?
An Environmental Health Food Safety Officer calculates the score of your premises from 25 (very poor) to 0 (perfect) using the Food Law Code of Practice. Scores are finalised by adding together the points scored in each of the three categories (hygiene, structural, and management compliance) and making sure there is no significant failing in any category.
What Do Environmental Health Officers Look For?
The Food Standards Agency rate businesses through three criteria: hygiene, structure, and confidence in management.
Hygiene looks at how food is prepared, cooked, cooled, reheated, and stored. Structure assesses the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, facilities, and management of pests. Management considers how businesses manage and record food safety such as cleaning records and how well staff are trained in food safety and how well they follow the rules.
How to Get a Food Hygiene Rating
To get a food hygiene rating, a Food Hygiene Officer will visit your business and assess levels of hygiene based on how strictly you adhere to the requirements of food hygiene laws.
When you’ve been assessed, your food hygiene rating is provided in a formal document within 14 days of the visit. This explains why your establishment was rated as it was and, in cases where the top rating has not been achieved, what actions are needed to improve your level of legal compliance.
What Do Food Hygiene Ratings Mean?
Food hygiene ratings are grades given to food handling businesses after an inspection has assessed how well they comply with food safety law. When businesses are awarded a rating, it comes with a number and a description of what that number means, for example, a 3 rating means that the business is generally satisfactory.
If you check the Food Standards Agency website, you’ll see that some businesses show you a more comprehensive breakdown of what each category was assessed as. For example, Byron Hamburgers in Leeds was given a rating of 1, and the FSA have explained why the rating was given.
- A Food Hygiene Rating of 0 means that urgent improvement is necessary.
- A Food Hygiene Rating of 1 means that major improvements are necessary.
- A Food Hygiene Rating of 2 means that improvements are necessary.
- A Food Hygiene Rating of 3 means that the business was found to be generally satisfactory.
- A Food Hygiene Rating of 4 means that the business was rated as good on assessment.
- A Food Hygiene Rating of 5 means that the business was seen as very good.
Within 14 days of receiving a rating, businesses receive a formal written assessment of why they received their rating. This is intended to help businesses improve or maintain standards.
How Do I Check my Food Hygiene Rating?
On the FSA website, you can see the last date of inspection, their current rating, and the details of the business. Scores on the Doors isn’t as up to date, so I’d recommend using the FSA to find out ratings.
Do Food Hygiene Ratings Have to be Displayed?
In England, it’s not a legal requirement to display your food hygiene rating or certificate, but the Food Standards Agency encourage all businesses to display it. In Wales and Northern Ireland, it is a legal requirement that businesses display their certificates in a prominent place like the front door or in a window.
How to Get a 5 Star Food Hygiene Rating
If you’re not making the cut, you need to focus on three assessment areas: (1) the conditions of your building, (2) how you handle, store, and prepare food, and (3) how records are kept, cleaning is organised, and staff are trained.
What is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Brand Standard?
The ‘Brand Standard’ is an advice and guidance document for local authorities in England and Northern Ireland. It tells authorities how they should implement the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme to create consistency and fairness in nation-wide implementation. You can read the document here.
Where Can I Find Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Guidance?
Food Hygiene Rating Scheme guidance is available for the public to make sure assessments are consistent and fair. The guidance sets out the ‘brand standard’ for the Food Hyginee Rating Scheme so that consumers and businesses can trust the rating scheme brand. You can read the guidance here.
How Do I Order a Food Hygiene Rating Sticker?
Only local authorities can order food hygiene stickers.
Businesses and local authorities cannot alter or amend Food Hygiene Rating Scheme stickers without prior permission from the FSA.
In England and Northern Ireland, local authorities have two options for ordering Food Hygiene Rating Stickers. First, they can order a free standard version with the FSA logo. Or they could organise the printing of co-branded stickers with the FSA logo and your local authority logo on the front. Email email@example.com to order your free supplies. Find out more information and the reference code you need here.
In Wales, local authorities can get stickers free of charge. Ring the Food Standards Agency Publications on 0845 606 0667 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out further details here to find out the order number you need to quote.
Businesses can use widgets to display their food hygiene score online. Check out more here.
What is Scores on the Doors?
Scores on the Doors is a website that allows consumers to quickly check the food hygiene rating of pubs, restaurants, and food shops in their area. The phrasing originates from the BBC’s television show The Generation Game with host Larry Grayson who asked “What are the scores on the doors, Isla?” when checking contestants points.
Contemporary usage refers to the points food handlers receive for their hygiene scores, and more frequently to the Food Hygiene Rating stickers that you can see on the doors and windows of food establishments.
Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Resources;
- Understanding the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
- How to Appeal a Food Hygiene Rating
- Food Hygiene Inspection Checklist
- What Type of Training Must Food Handlers Receive by Law?
Any More Questions?
Is there anything we missed? If we didn’t cover it here, leave your question in the comments!
Like this article?
Please share with your friends
Hannah is The Hub’s specialist on social issues and HR. She has a master’s degree in Contemporary Literatures and writes about safeguarding issues and business. When she’s not writing, she practises yoga and peruses bookshops.