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Food hygiene ratings

Where to find a Hygiene Rating and the inspection process explained

Hygiene Ratings

Find out the hygiene rating of a food business via the Food Standards Agency website or via Rate my place

Food Safety Inspections

The food safety officer inspecting your business premises will look at:

  • how food is handled - how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
  • the condition of the buildings - the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how the business manages records to make sure food is safe

Inspectors have the right to enter and inspect food premises at all reasonable hours. They do not have to make an appointment and will usually come without notice.

What happens after your inspection

At the end of your inspection, your business will be given a hygiene rating from 0-5 with 5 meaning that the business was found to have 'very good' hygiene standards. The food hygiene rating is not a guide to food quality. It is only a rating of the hygiene used in preparation, storage and management of the food, equipment and business premises

When they think it is necessary, inspectors can take 'enforcement action', to protect the public. For example, they can inspect your records, detain or seize suspect foods, or take samples and photographs of food.

There are three main types of notice that can be served by a food safety inspector:

  • 'Hygiene improvement notice' or 'food labelling improvement notice' - this sets out certain things that you must do to comply with the law
  • 'Hygiene emergency prohibition notice' - stops the use of certain processes, premises or equipment and must be confirmed by a court.
  • 'Remedial action notice' - stops the use of certain processes, premises or equipment and is similar to a hygiene emergency prohibition notice, but it does not need to be confirmed by a court.

It is a criminal offence not to comply with a notice once served.

Inspectors can also recommend prosecution in serious cases that could also lead to a fine or imprisonment.

The Food Standards Agency provides a number of tool kits for food businesses including: