How the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) works, where you can see ratings for food businesses and what to do if you’re not happy with your own business rating.
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme makes it easier for consumers to choose places with good hygiene standards when they are eating out or shopping for food. Each business is given a score following an inspection by the council which indicates their level of hygiene.
All ratings will be displayed on the Food Standards Agency website. The premises may also display a sticker showing the rating score but there is no legal requirement to do this.
The FHRS generally includes businesses supplying food directly to the final consumer, such as:
The scheme works by issuing a food business with a score of between 0 to 5 after it has had a food hygiene inspection. The scores are classified as:
0 - Urgent improvement necessary 1 - Major improvement necessary 2 - Improvement necessary 3 - Generally satisfactory 4 - Good 5 - Very good
Businesses given ratings of 0 must make urgent improvements to hygiene standards. Food service officers will use a number of enforcement tools as well as giving advice and guidance to make sure these improvements are made.
If the officers find that a business’s hygiene standards are very poor and there is an imminent risk to health – this means food is not safe to eat – the officer must take action to make sure that consumers are protected. Where appropriate, this could mean prohibiting part of an operation or closing the business down, but this will not occur in every case.
Scores of 4 or 5 can be achieved by complying with food safety laws. Read the latest food safety legislation on the Food Standards Agency website.
Currently there is no legal requirement to display a rating but we would encourage business operators to do so. All scores will be published on the Food Standards Agency website following the 21 day appeal period.
If you’re unhappy with the rating you have received for your food business, you can do one of the following:
If you complete all of the work required in the inspection letter, you can apply for a reinspection which will cost £130. Unless you hear from us within 10 working days following submission of your request, your reinspection will be carried out, unannounced, within the next three months.
The hygiene standards in your premises will be reassessed and a new food hygiene rating will be given. This rating can go up, down or stay the same depending on our findings during the visit.
Please note: you can request as many reinspections as you need at a cost of £130 each.
Arrange for a reinspection
As the food business operator you have a ‘Right to Reply’ with regards to a food hygiene rating given following your inspection.
This 'Right to Reply' allows you to give an explanation of subsequent actions that have been taken to make the required improvements as detailed in the inspection letter, or to explain any unusual circumstances at the time of the inspection. It is not for making complaints or for criticising the scheme or food safety officer.
We will review your comments before being published on the Food Standards Agency website alongside your food hygiene rating.
Have your 'Right to Reply'
If you consider that your rating score is unfair or wrong, in that it does not fairly reflect the hygiene standards/management controls found during the inspection, then you have the right to appeal.
In the first instance you should contact the inspecting officer whose name appears on the inspection letter and make your concerns known. The officer will explain how the rating score was determined and discuss a course of action.
If you’re still not satisfied you can appeal, but this must be lodged within 21 days of receiving your inspection letter. If you decide to appeal, your rating will not be published on the Food Standards Agency website until the outcome of the appeal has been determined.
Appeal your food hygiene rating
Find out more about the FHRS for consumers on the Food Standards Agency website.
Find out more about the FHRS for businesses on the Food Standards Agency website.