The National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

The Food Standards Agency has implemented a national scheme called the ‘Food Hygiene Rating Scheme’ (FHRS).  Like the ‘Scores on the Doors’ scheme, it  provides customers with information about hygiene standards in food businesses. To see those ratings within East Cambridgeshire please go to http://ratings.food.gov.uk/authority-search/east-cambridgeshire.

East Cambridgeshire District Council  transferred over to the Food Standards Agency FHRS scheme in April 2012.

Having a national scheme in place helps to ensure consistency for businesses both within and across local authority boundaries.

All food businesses that serve, prepare or sell food are inspected by qualified and authorised Food Safety Officers.

Inspections are conducted in accordance with a Code of Practice, which details how inspections are assessed in order to give the business an overall inspection rating. Businesses with high score ratings are inspected more frequently because they present a higher risk.

Please note that the hygiene rating given to premises on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme website  is based on the latest inspection carried out and as such represents the situation as found by the officer on the day of that inspection.

Some businesses are not included in the scheme, such as low risk premises which only sell pre wrapped confectionary, or manufacturers and processors.

A Guide for Businesses

To view the Food Standards Agency Guidance document on the FHRS for businesses, please see http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/enforcement/fhrsbusinessguide.pdf

A guide for Consumers.

To view the Food Standards Agency Guidance document on the FHRS for Consumers, please see http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/enforcement/fhrsconsumerguide.pdf

What type of food businesses are included in the scheme?

Caterers such as restaurants, cafes, takeaways, sandwich shops, mobile traders and other places where people eat food prepared/cooked/served outside of the home. It also includes food retailers such as supermarkets. Establishments where public access is limited but where food is prepared, cooked, handled and served to consumers, such as schools, nurseries and residential care homes are also included.

What type of food businesses are not included in the scheme?

Establishments that do not supply food direct to consumers fall outside the scope and will not be rated under the scheme. This includes primary producers, manufacturers and packers, importers and exporters, distributors and transporters. Low risk businesses such as newsagents selling only pre packed confectionery or off licences and chemists will not be included in the scheme

What are the ratings that can be awarded?

There are six different food hygiene ratings (‘0’ up to ‘5’). The top rating represents a ‘very good’ level of compliance with legal requirements and all businesses irrespective of the nature and size of their operation should be able to achieve this.

Where are the ratings published?

The ratings are published online at http://ratings.food.gov.uk/, and businesses are encouraged to display certificates and stickers showing their food ratings at their premises where consumers can easily see them.

‘Safeguards’

The scheme incorporates safeguards to ensure fairness to businesses. This includes an appeal procedure, a ‘right to reply’ for publication (together with the food hygiene rating) at food.gov.uk/ratings, and a mechanism for requesting a re-inspection/re-visit for the purposes of re-rating when improvements have been made.

For more information on safeguards please see http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/enforcement/fhrssafeguards.pdf

Appeal Form

As the food business operator of the establishment you have the right to appeal the food hygiene rating given following your inspection if you do not agree that the rating reflects the hygiene standards and management controls found at the time of inspection.

You have 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) from the date of receipt of the notification letter to lodge an appeal.

Please use the appeal form and return it to the lead Officer for Food from your local authority.

Appeal Form - Downloadable Version

The Lead officer for Food will review your rating and communicate the outcome of your appeal to you within seven days.

Request a re-visit

As the food business operator of the establishment you have a right to request a re-visit for the purposes of re-rating if you have taken action to rectify the non-compliances identified at the time of inspection.

You can make one request for a re-visit per each planned statutory inspection by the Local Authority and you can make this at any time after the statutory inspection provided that you have made the required improvements.

From 01 April 2018, a charge of £130.00 is being introduced and must be paid before any re-rating visit.

To make a re-visit request, please use the re-visit request form.

Revisit Request Form - Downloadable Version

‘Right to reply’

As the food business operator of the establishment you have a ‘right to reply’ in respect of the food hygiene rating given following your inspection.

The purpose is to enable you to give an explanation of subsequent actions that have been taken to make the required improvements as detailed in the inspection letter, or to explain mitigation for the circumstances at the time of the inspection. It is not for making complaints or for criticising the scheme or food safety officer.

If you wish to use this ‘right to reply’, please use the form below and return it to the food safety officer that undertook your inspection.

Right to Reply Form - Downloadable Version

Improving, maintaining and promoting  your Hygiene Rating

Congratulations if you have achieved a rating of 5!

Displaying your rating can be good for your business. Please see the following links for more information on how to promote your rating and how to maintain your high rating:

If you scored a rating of 3 or 4, there is nothing to stop you achieving a 5 rating.

Please see the following link for more information and guidance:

There are other resources widely available to help you achieve and maintain high ratings. Such sites offer free advice, guidance and sometimes free training