Environmental Health - Food Safety & Standards

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

When environmental health officers undertake unannounced food hygiene inspections of food businesses they issue a rating between zero (meaning ‘urgent improvement necessary’) and a five (meaning ‘very good’). The rating is based on the level of compliance found at the time of the inspection relating to food hygiene practices, structure/cleanliness and management controls in place to ensure food is produced safely.

The scheme enables you to make an informed choice about where you choose to eat out or shop for food, as it gives you an idea of what’s going on in the kitchen, or behind closed doors. It is a good advertisement for businesses that comply with food hygiene law, and encourages others to improve. You can view the rating of the place where you choose to eat or shop by checking the sticker in the window or the Food Standards Agency website.

Food businesses

The scheme provides a number of safeguards. These include:

  • the right to appeal your score
  • the ‘Right to Reply’
  • the ability to request a re-inspection of your premises

Appeal

If you do not agree that the rating reflects the hygiene standards and management controls found at the time of the inspection, in the first instance it is suggested that you discuss the matter informally with the inspecting officer. They can help you understand how your rating was worked out. If you still think the rating is wrong or unfair, as the food business operator of the establishment you have a right to appeal the food rating given following your inspection.

You have 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) from the date of receipt of the notification letter to lodge an appeal. State the reason(s) you believe the rating is unfair using the appeal form.

The Lead Officer for Food will review your rating and communicate the outcome of the appeal to you within 21 days. Your establishment will not be re-inspected as a result of appealing the rating. Your rating will not be published on the website until you have been notified of the outcome of the appeal.

Right to reply

If you have improved hygiene standards since your inspection, or if there were unusual circumstances at the time of the inspection that might have affected your food hygiene rating, you have a ‘right to reply’ so that you can explain this to potential customers that look up your rating online. Complete the right to reply form.

Request for a re-inspection

If you make the improvements to the hygiene standards that are highlighted in the officer’s inspection report, you can request a re-inspection with a view to giving you a new food hygiene rating. There is a set charge of £205 for a re-inspection.

Whilst we are continuing to accept requests for re-inspections during the COVID-19, these will be subject to the resources available at the time of the request. The inspection may not be completed within the customary three months.

Apply for a re-inspection by completing the food hygiene rating scheme re-inspection request form.

You will be asked within the form to provide any other supplementary evidence (e.g. photographs, copies of relevant HACCP documentation, etc.). Please have this information ready in electronic format. sensitive information should not be attached to the form.

You will need to make a payment of £205. You will be prompted to do this at the end of the application form. Please have your payment card ready to pay online.

Once your application has been received we will contact you to confirm acceptance of your application and the period in which your business will be inspected.

Re-inspections will be carried out within 3 months of receipt of your application form and a cleared payment for the fee of £205.

Further information

More information about the scheme is provided on the Food Standards Agency website.