Food Hygiene Rating

Food hygiene rating - advice for business

Food Hygiene Rating is the scheme which publishes food safety scores for food businesses based on the latest inspection findings.

The primary purpose of a Food Hygiene Rating scheme is to empower consumers so they can make more informed choices about where they buy their food. The scheme can also encourage businesses to raise their hygiene standards.

Under the Food Hygiene Rating scheme, each food business is given a score that reflects the inspection findings. The score may be displayed at the food business and on a government website where consumers can see the scores for all the businesses in their local area.

National food hygiene rating scheme

Cheshire East Council is part of The Food Standards Agency’s six-tier Food Hygiene Rating scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland

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.

A business can be given one of these hygiene ratings:

Food hygiene ratings

The food safety officer inspecting a business checks how well the business is meeting the law by looking at:

  • how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
  • the condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe

After the inspection, the business is given one of the six ratings. The top rating of ‘5’ means that the business was found to have ‘very good’ hygiene standards. Any business should be able to reach this top rating.

The food safety officer will explain to the person who owns or manages the business what improvements are needed and how they can achieve the top rating of '5'. The local authority will check that these improvements are made.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has been designed to make sure that the ratings given to businesses are fair.

In order to ensure that the scheme is fair to businesses, the following safeguards are available:

Appeal procedure

Following a hygiene inspection of your premises by a food safety officer you will be told in writing, within 21 days what your food hygiene rating is. If you think that the rating is wrong or unfair you can appeal against this. An appeal must be lodged within 21 days of receipt of the letter.

Right to reply

This 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.

Request a re-visit

If you make the improvements to hygiene standards that the food safety officer told you about at your last planned inspection, you can ask for a re-visit before the next planned inspection. An unannounced visit will then be undertaken so that the hygiene standards in your premises can be reassessed with a view to giving you a higher food hygiene rating.