To help you choose where to eat out or shop for food, we use the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme system for rating local food businesses. The scheme will give you information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels, and other places you eat out, as well as supermarkets and other food shops.
The scheme is run by us in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Like our earlier Scores on the Doors scheme, it will help you choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving you information about the hygiene standards in food premises at the time they are inspected by one of our food safety officers. Our officers check that they are meeting legal requirements on food hygiene.
Each business is given a rating following an inspection by a food safety officer. This is based on:
The rating reflects the conditions found at the time of the last inspection and does not reflect the quality of food or the standards of service the business provides.
A business is given one of these six ratings from the top rating of 5 for very good to zero for urgent improvement necessary.
Businesses are given a window sticker showing their rating and are encouraged to display it at their premises in places where you can easily see it when you visit. Display is voluntary at the moment.
You can also look up food hygiene ratings on the FSA's website.
You can search for ratings for local businesses and anywhere else the scheme is being operated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
To help food businesses get the most out of their food hygiene rating, the FSA has produced an online toolkit. The toolkit offers ideas on how to promote hygiene standards as well as help increase the number of customers who come through the door or order online.
The owner or manager of a food business can ask us to revisit to get a new rating only if the improvements to hygiene that we told the business about at the last inspection have been made. The owner or manager of the food business can only ask us for a revisit to be carried out once before the date of the next planned inspection.
To ask for a revisit, you can request a revisit online, or download the FHRS request for a revisit form [pdf] 122KB and send it to us.
The owner or manager of the business should talk to the food officer that inspected the business about why the rating was given. If the business owner or manager still thinks that the rating is unfair or wrong, they can appeal in writing.
To appeal, you can request an appeal online, download the FHRS appeal form [doc] 184KB and send it to us within 21 days (this includes weekends and public holidays) of being told what their rating is.
The owner or manager of the business also has a 'right to reply'. This is different from an appeal.
The owner or manager can exercise their right to reply online, or download the FHRS right to reply form [pdf] 112KB and send it to us, to tell us how the business has improved hygiene, or to say if there were unusual circumstances at the time of the inspection.
A business' right to reply will be published online by us with the business' hygiene rating.
If you would like further information on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme please email the Environmental Health team.