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Food Hygiene Rating scheme - information for businesses

The 'Food Hygiene Rating Scheme' is based upon a nationally recognised initiative, supported by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Each business is given a ‘hygiene rating’ from 0 to 5 when it is inspected by one of our food safety officers. The hygiene rating shows how closely the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law.

Example of Food Hygiene Rating sticker

Information for businesses

The food safety officer inspecting your business will check how well the business is meeting the law by looking at:

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

At the end of the inspection, your business is given one of the six ratings. The top rating of ‘5’ means that the business was found to have ‘very good’ hygiene standards. Any business should be able to reach this top rating.

Find out what each rating level means on the FSA website.

The food safety officer will explain what improvements are needed and how your business can achieve the top rating of '5'. They will check that these improvements are made.

Appeals procedure

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has been designed to make sure that the ratings given to businesses are fair. If you think that the rating your business received after an inspection is unfair or wrong, you can appeal in writing.

Download an appeal form(pdf, 79KB) and send it to us at the address below within 21 days (including weekends and public holidays) of receiving your rating.

Right to reply

As the owner or manager of food business, you will have a ‘right to reply’. This is different from an appeal in that you can explain how your business has improved hygiene since the last inspection, or to say if there were unusual circumstances at the time of the inspection. Your right to reply will be published online by the local authority along with the hygiene rating for your business.

Download a right to reply form(pdf, 64KB) and send it to us at the address below.

Early publication request

As a business owner or manager you can request that a rating is published before the end of the appeal period. This request must be made in writing to your local authority (contact as below)  You must include: details of who you are; the name and address of the business; your contact information; the date of the inspection; and the rating given.  We will review the request and will usually publish the rating early.

You can use the early publication request form, email or write to your local authority directly at:

Food and Safety
Regulatory Services Partnership
2nd Merton Civic Offices
London Road

Ask for a re-visit

As the owner or manager of a food business, you can only ask for a re-visit to be carried out once, before the date of the next planned inspection.

This is a chargeable service. The current charge is £261.

You should be aware that your rating can go down, go up or remain the same following your re-rating visit.’

Ways to pay

The inspecting officer will be in touch regarding payment. Please do not make a payment until the inspecting officer has reviewed and approved your accompanying documentation.

  • Contact Food and Safety on 0208 545 3025

Download a re-visit form(pdf, 83KB) and send it to us at the address below.

Check the frequently asked questions page on the FSA website for other information relating to the rating scheme.

If you have any questions or would like any advice, please contact us:

Consumer Protection

Regulatory Services Partnership
Merton Civic Centre
London Road

Telephone: 020 8545 3025
Fax: 020 8891 7713

We are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Updated: 04 April 2024

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