Food hygiene rating scheme for businesses

Eating out? Getting food in? Check

The food hygiene rating given to a business reflects the food hygiene standards found at the time of the inspection by Environmental Health officers. The hygiene rating is not a guide to food quality or service. Inspections and visits are undertaken in line with the Food Standards Agency code of practice (external link).

Most businesses are included in the scheme but some, such as low risk premises which only sell pre-wrapped confectionery, are not. The scheme also does not cover manufacturers and processors where trade is principally business to business.

The ratings awarded range from 5 (very good) down to 0 (urgent improvement needed), with 3 representing a business that is broadly compliant.

How does the scheme operate? 

Any business can achieve the top rating of 5. After an inspection, the rating is calculated against Food Safety, Structure and Cleaning, and the Confidence in the Management to maintain or improve standards. If a 5 rating has not been achieved, the officer will outline the improvements needed to achieve a higher rating.

The business will be informed of the result in writing and that rating will be uploaded to the Food Hygiene Ratings website (external link). Ratings of '5 - very good' will be published as soon as the information is uploaded by your local authority. Ratings of 0 to 4 will be published 4 weeks after the date of inspection to allow for an appeal to be submitted.

More information on food ratings can be found on the Food Hygiene Rating for businesses website (external link)


Businesses can request an appeal, have a 'right to reply' and can request a re-visit inspection from their local authority. It is advisable, before considering the safeguards, to speak to the officer to understand why the rating was given.

The rating was unfair or wrong

If you believe that the rating given is wrong, or that the inspection was not carried out correctly, then you can appeal the rating, The appeal must be made within 21 days of you being notified of the rating. The appeal will be considered by the Lead Food officer. They will consider the inspection report against the appeal details and will not necessarily visit the premises.

To appeal, complete a food hygiene rating appeal form (external link) online, or if you would rather, download an appeal form (PDF).

Conditions have improved, can the rating be changed?

If you have carried out all the work required by the inspector following an inspection, you may request a re-score inspection. There is a charge of £156.00 which must accompany any application. Your application must detail all the work undertaken to address the matters detailed on the last food hygiene rating letter. If you have not provided enough information, the officer may reject the application.

To request a re-visit, complete a food hygiene rating request a re-visit form (external link) online, or if you would rather, download a request a re-visit form (PDF)

I was inspected on a bad day

The right to reply allows businesses to tell the customers how the business has improved its hygiene standards, or if there were unusual circumstances at the time of inspection. This response will be published online, alongside the rating.

For a right to reply, complete a food hygiene right to reply form (external link) online, or if you would rather, download a right to reply form (PDF)

Do I have to display my rating?

Where can I get advice to improve my rating?

All businesses should be able to achieve the top rating of 5. If they do not, we will outline the improvements that they need to make and advise on how to achieve a higher rating.

The Food Standards Agency (external link) provides business guidance to help manage food hygiene and helpful information about food law inspections.

For more information, email or call 01353 665555.