Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
What is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS)?
FHRS is a national scheme run in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The scheme provides consumers with information about hygiene standards in food premises at the time they are inspected by local authority food safety officers to check compliance with legal requirements. The food hygiene rating given reflects the inspection findings.
You can search the ratings for food businesses provided by local authorities participating in FHRS in England, Northern Ireland and Wales or the Food Hygiene Information Scheme in Scotland.
The objectives of the scheme are:
- The scheme will be a good advertisement for businesses that comply with food hygiene law - good food hygiene rating is good for business.
- It's already a legal requirement for businesses to meet hygiene regulations.
- Having the six different ratings gives businesses room to improve.
- The scheme will enable 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.
- You can view the rating of the place where you choose to eat or shop by checking the sticker in the window, the certificate on display inside the premises or by going to the Food Standard Agency website.
How are the ratings worked out?
After a premises has been inspected an overall number rating, from zero (the worst) to five (the best) is awarded, based on food hygiene standards found at the time of inspection in the following three areas:
- Compliance with food hygiene and safety procedures - for example, how hygienically the food is handled, how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored.
- Compliance with structural requirements - for example, the condition of the structure of the buildings, the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities.
- Confidence in food safety management control/procedures - for example, how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.
A business can be given one of these hygiene ratings:
The rating does not reflect the quality of food or the standard of service provided to customers.
Some low risk businesses which are not generally recognised by consumers as being food businesses are 'exempt' from the scope of the FHRS. Certain establishments operating from private addresses, childminders for example, are exempt and their details will not be published.
We have produced an information sheet for food businesses which gives more details about the scheme and answers some of the questions we have been asked.
Safeguards for food businesses
In order to ensure that the scheme is fair, it has been designed to include a number of safeguards for food businesses. These are an appeals procedure, a 'right to reply', and an opportunity to request a re-visit when improvements have been made in order to be reassessed for a new rating.