Food hygiene ratings

Our food hygiene rating scheme highlights businesses with good standards, helps food businesses recognise when further improvements are needed and allows customers to make a more informed choice about where to eat or shop for food.

Find out how your local food business scores by searching the Food rating scheme website.

How businesses are assessed

All businesses inspected are assessed against a national food safety risk-rating scheme. The risk rating scoring system is based on the following criteria from the Food Standards Agency's Food Law Code of Practice which all councils use:

  • The standard of food hygiene (including food handling procedures prevention of cross contamination, chilling, cooking and temperature control).
  • The structure and cleanliness of the premises.
  • Confidence in management and control of food safety (the operator's 'track record' on food safety, the implementation and documentation of an effective food safety management system).

The national scheme allows you to request a revisit to have your premises re-rated, a right to reply about your rating and you can lodge an appeal against your rating based on the conditions at the time of the initial inspection using the following forms:

The score for each criteria refers to the level of compliance with legal food safety duties.

Risk Rating Categories Meeting or exceeding legal requirements Very good with only some minor non compliance Some evidence of non compliance (Broadly compliant overall) Some major non compliance Major non compliance Almost total non compliance
Food Hygiene 0 5 10 15 20 25
Structure and Cleaning 0 5 10 15 20 25
Management and Control 0 5 10 n/a 20 30

The food hygiene rating award scheme is based on the total risk score achieved at the time of the inspection for the three parameters.

The award ranges from level five for premises with very good standards of food hygiene to level zero for food businesses with very poor hygiene standards where urgent improvement is necessary.

Total score Level of compliance Hygiene Rating Award
0 to 15 with no individual score more than 5 Very Good Five
20 with no individual score more than 10 Good Four
25 to 30 with no individual score more than 10 Generally satisfactory Three
35 to 40 with no individual score more than 15 Improvement necessary Two
45 to 50 with no individual score more than 20 Major improvement necessary One
Above 50 Urgent improvement necessary Zero

Each premise receives a certificate with the relevant award level and a sticker which can be displayed at the entrance to the premises. The results are also published on the Food Standards Agency's website.

Certain premises such as those not dealing with the public (importers) or not considered to be food businesses (chemists) are not included in the scheme.

Further information on the scheme can be found at: Food Standards Agency Hygiene Rating scheme.

A major factor in achieving a high hygiene award will be the correct implementation of a documented food safety system and the keeping of appropriate records.

The Food Standards Agency has produced the Safer Food Better Business (SFBB) food safety system to help small businesses comply with this requirement. The SFBB system is available in a separate format for caterers, retailers, child minders and residential care homes. The SFBB system consists of a safe methods section which needs to be completed, the keeping of simple records and a daily diary.

You can now download and print an SFFB pack, individual document or diary from the FSA website.