How to achieve the top food hygiene rating
In order to achieve the best rating possible, you will need to ensure your business meets the highest standards in the following 3 areas:
how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
the condition of the structure of the premises - cleanliness, repair, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
how you manage what you do to make sure food is safe - full implementation of your food safety management system for example SFBB
To help you achieve a high rating please use the Food hygiene rating scheme (FHRS) guidance checklist (in ‘downloads’). If you are able to answer ‘yes’ to all the points on the checklist and the environmental health officer is able to find evidence of this at inspection, then you should be able to meet a score of 3 ‘generally satisfactory’ or above.
Most businesses require a fully documented food safety management system and need to show that it is being operated effectively. If you do not have a fully documented system, then you may only reach a score of 1 out of 5.
What to do if you disagree with your food hygiene rating
If you are not happy with the food hygiene rating you have been awarded, you should contact the inspecting officer to discuss your concerns. If the issue cannot be resolved at that stage, you also have 3 further options to consider; these safeguards are in place to make sure the scheme is fair:
Please see the flow diagram for a schematic version of your options.
How to Appeal
If you think your food hygiene rating is wrong - in other words it does not reflect the hygiene standards found at the time of your inspection, you must lodge your appeal with the environmental health department within 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) of being told what your food hygiene rating is. You can appeal by sending us an email or a letter, by downloading and completing the appeal form or by completing the online form. You have 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) from the date of receipt of the notification letter to lodge an appeal. The Lead Officer for Food will review your rating and tell you of the outcome within 21 days.
How to request a re-visit
As the food business operator of the establishment you have the right to make requests for re-visits at any time after the inspection provided you have taken action to rectify the non-compliances identified at the time of inspection. These non-statutory hygiene re-inspections are subject to a charge of £150 for each request for a re-visit. You must provide details of the improvements made with your request, including supporting evidence, such as photographs, receipts and certificates. Prior to making a request for a re-visit, we suggest you discuss the matter with the Officer who last inspected your establishment. If we consider you have provided sufficient evidence and you have made payment, then an unannounced visit will be made within 3 months of the request.
The Environmental Health Officer will give you a new food hygiene rating based on the level of compliance that is found at the time of the re-visit. Please be aware that your rating could go up, down or remain the same.
To make a request for a revisit, please use the online form above. To pay the fee please contact Environmental Health on 0116 272 7784.
How to exercise your ‘right to reply’
The option of the ‘right to reply’ gives you a chance to explain why you have your rating, what recent improvements you've made and to give any mitigating circumstances at the time of the inspection. It is not for making complaints or for criticising the scheme or environmental health officer. If you wish to use this ‘right to reply’, please use any of the methods on this page. Your comments will be reviewed by the inspecting officer and may be edited in order to remove offensive or defamatory remarks before being published online and displayed together with your food hygiene rating at food.gov.uk/ratings.
Good food hygiene is good for business
To make your rating good for business, make sure you display your rating sticker and put it in a place where your customers can easily see it, for example in a window or door. This will immediately reassure your customers that you take food hygiene seriously. If you've lost, damaged or misplaced your sticker, please contact us and we can provide you with a new one.
There's a profit to be made; an increasing number of food businesses are displaying their hygiene rating stickers and more than a third of them say that this is having a positive effect. This includes greater customer confidence, better reputation among customers and, most importantly, more customers.
There are some other straightforward, cost effective tips to help you get the most out of your hygiene rating in the 'How to' guide. This includes downloadable images showing your rating that can easily be included in menus, promotional materials and on your own website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Overview of scheme in flow diagram
FHRS Information for businesses
Appeal form - For food business operators who disagree with their Food Hygiene Rating and who wish to exercise their right to appeal
‘Right to Reply’ - For food business operators who wish to give an explanation of subsequent actions taken as a result of an inspection and food hygiene rating
Request for a re-visit - For food business operators who have rectified any issues highlighted in an inspection, who wish to have a re-visit for a new food hygiene rating score