The scheme helps consumers decide where to eat or shop for food by giving clear information about the businesses hygiene rating standards. It is operated by the Food Standards Agency in partnership with Local Authorities.
Under the scheme, cafes, restaurants, pubs, shops and business selling food to the final consumer are given a numerical rating to show how well they comply with food safety standards. The better the standard, the higher the numerical rating! A score of 5 is the highest rating and 0 is the lowest.
There are currently three ways you can get this information:
The following table shows what each food hygiene rating means:
|FH rating||Standard achieved||Definition|
|5||Very good||Very good food safety management. High standard of compliance with food safety law.|
|4||Good||Good food safety management. Good standard of compliance with food safety law. Improvement may be possible.|
|3||Generally satisfactory||Broadly compliant with food safety law. Some more effort might be required.|
|2||Improvement necessary||Some non-compliance with the law, more effort required to prevent decline.|
|1||Major improvement necessary||General failure to satisfy the law, standards generally low.|
|0||Urgent improvement necessary||Almost total non-compliance with the law.|
You can find more information about the Food Hygiene Ratings scheme by viewing the frequently asked questions (FAQs) section.
After an inspection or re-assessment, the score will usually be available on the Food Standards Agency's website after 21 calendar days. This then available for review by the public via the Council website or the Food Standards Agency's website.
If an owner disagrees with their food hygiene rating an appeal, in writing or by email, should be made to the Principal Environmental Health Officer (Commercial) within 21 calendar days of the notification date, setting out the specific reasons for the disagreement. Appeals received after this time limit will not be considered and the original food hygiene rating will stand. The Principal Environmental Health Officer (Commercial) will inform the owner of their decision within 21 calendar days of the appeal being made. The rating will not show on the website until after the appeal has been considered.
Requests for re-inspection/revisits can be made when a food business owner has a rating of 0-4 and believe they have made necessary improvements to address any non-compliances discovered during their latest food hygiene inspection. There is a charge of £200 for requested re-inspections. Re-inspections will be made within three months of an accepted request.
The food business operator has the "right to reply" for example to explain to customers what action is being taken to remedy issues.
Q1: Is there a charge to use the Food hygiene rating service?
Q2: What are the benefits to the public?
Q3: What are the benefits to the food business?
Q4: What happens if I can't find a food business?
Q5: Searching for a business on the FSA website?
Q6: Who decides what rating local food businesses get?
Q7: Do food businesses have to publicly display their 'Food hygiene rating' certificate and sticker?
Q8: How do I know if the certificate and sticker on display are valid and genuine?
Q9: I am an owner of a food business and have just had a food hygiene inspection, but I disagree with the food hygiene rating score issued to me. Can I make an appeal against it?
Q10: Can food businesses make a request to have their food hygiene rating reassessed?
Q11: Is there a charge to food businesses requesting a reassessment of their food hygiene rating?
Q12: Do food businesses have a "right to reply" concerning their food hygiene rating?
Q13: Where can I find further information or advice?
Q14: How often are food businesses visited by Environmental Health staff
The information is provided to the public by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This is free.
The scheme gives the public the opportunity to make an informed choice about where they choose to eat or buy food based on food safety and hygiene standards. The information is accessible to the public in an easy to understand format. Since the scheme was introduced there has been an improvement in the standards in the majority of businesses.
The scheme serves as a good advertisement for those food businesses that practice high standards of hygiene. This in turn may lead to an increase in business and reward food business owners for their effort.
If you have searched for a business on the FSA's website and it does not appear, it could be that the business is new and is still waiting to be assessed. Also food businesses that do not sell food to the final consumer, such as food manufacturers, wholesalers and some low risk food businesses, such as newsagents and chemists, will not appear on the website because they are excluded from the scheme. Alternatively, the business may have only recently been inspected or reassessed and is waiting for a new rating. As soon as it is rated, we will publish the results on the web. This is updated every two weeks.
Log onto the FSA website. Fill in the search boxes with as much information as you like. You do not need to fill out every box.
For example, type in the name of the business or the street name you are looking for or area. You can retrieve by food hygiene rating or just area.
Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) employed by the Council decide the score/rating of each food business following a planned food hygiene inspection. Inspections generally take place between every six months to two years, depending on the nature of the business and history of compliance with food law.
No. There is no legal requirement for businesses in England to publicly display their sticker. We do, however, strongly encourage them to do so. However, it is easy to find out a food businesses' score/rating by checking the FSA website. You can always call the Council's Environmental Health team on telephone number 01784 446291.
Each sticker includes the FSA's logo and is signed by an officer at the Council. In addition, the website will offer a list of food businesses and their scores. If you are unsure give us a call on 01785 446291.
Yes, you have a right of appeal. Any appeal, preferably in writing or by e-mail, should be made to the Principal Environmental Health Officer (Commercial) within 21 calendar days of the date you were first notified of your food hygiene rating score, setting out the specific reasons for the disagreement. Appeals received after this time limit will not be considered and the original food hygiene rating will stand. The Principal Environmental Health Officer(Commercial) will inform you of his/her decision within 21 calendar days of you lodging the appeal.
Yes provided the business has a rating score between 0 and 4. Requests for a reassessment of a food hygiene rating should be in writing. Although requests for a reassessment visit can be made by the owner of the business at any time after an inspection, the timing of the visit is a decision for the EHO. The EHO will carry out the visit within three months of the request being made. If the EHO is satisfied that a real improvement has been made to food hygiene standards, he/she will give a better food hygiene rating to the business.
Yes. The current fee for 2019/20 is £200. The fee is renewed annually.
Yes. The website includes a 'right to reply' section for local authorities to add comments made by food business owners in their area. The purpose of the "right to reply" is to give owners a chance to indicate any improvement that has been made since the last food hygiene inspection. However, right to replies will only be put on the website following agreement by the local authority. Food business owners in Spelthorne can send their "right to reply" by e-mail or in writing to the Principal Environmental Health Officer (Commercial) using the contact details below.
For further information contact Environmental Health
Food businesses may be routinely visited by Environmental Health staff to ensure they meet food hygiene rules every six months to three years, depending on the risks to members of the public. If a food business only sells low risk food, such as drinks, tinned or packaged food, then they will be visited less often. Environmental Health staff may also visit food businesses at other times when they receive complaints from the public.