Food Hygiene Rating Scheme - Advice to Consumers
Whether you’re eating out, getting a takeaway or food shopping The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme helps make it easier for you to choose places with good hygiene.
The food hygiene rating tells you about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels and other places you eat out, as well as in supermarkets and other food shops.
When you eat out or shop for food, look out for a sticker in the window or on the door, showing you the food hygiene rating for that business. Businesses are encouraged to display the stickers at their premises in places where you can easily see them when you visit.
If the food outlet you want to visit isn’t displaying a sticker, you can ask the staff about the business’s rating or you can check online.
You could also download the mobile app, search for Foodrating in your app store so you can check out ratings on the move and make an informed decision before you choose a place to eat.
Each business in is given a hygiene rating when it is inspected by a Regulatory Services Food Safety officer from Southend Borough Council. The hygiene rating tells you the standards of hygiene found at the time of the inspection. In general inspections will be carried out as a minimum every 2 years.
The Regulatory Services Food Safety Officer inspecting a business will check how well the business is meeting the law on food hygiene by looking at:
- how hygienically the food is handled – including preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
- the cleanliness and condition of facilities and building (including having appropriate layout, ventilation, hand washing facilities and pest control) to enable good food hygiene practices
- how food safety within the business is managed, including a system or checks in place to ensure that food sold or served is safe to eat, evidence that staff know about food safety, and the food safety officer has confidence that standards will be maintained in future
The food safety officer will explain to the person who owns or manages the business if there are any improvements needed, what they are and how they can achieve a higher rating.
The hygiene standards found at the time of inspection are then rated on a scale:
- 5 is top of the scale, this means the hygiene standards are very good and fully comply with the law
- 4 means the business has good compliance with the law
- 3 means the business is generally satisfactory
- 2 means improvement is required to comply
- 1 means major improvements are required to the business
- 0 is at the bottom of the scale, this means urgent improvement is necessary
The food hygiene rating is a guide to the hygiene standards at the premise, it is not a guide to food quality.
More information about the scheme can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.