The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) helps customers choose where to eat out or shop for food providing information on food hygiene standards.
It is run by local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Local authorities are responsible for carrying out inspections of food businesses to check that they meet the requirements of food hygiene law.
The FSA is the UK government department responsible for food safety. It gives local authorities advice, training, and other support to help them run the scheme.
Each business is given a score following an inspection by the council which indicates their level of hygiene. You can find out more information at www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/food-hygiene-rating-scheme
Businesses can find out more about the FHRS at food.gov.uk
The ratings can be found online and on stickers which are displayed at business premises. The back of the sticker and the online rating will also show the date of the inspection.
You can check the rating for a business in Wolverhampton on the Food Standards Agency's website.
Here you can check the rating for other businesses outside of Wolverhampton.
A rating or score shows you how well the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law.
A new rating is given each time the business is inspected by a food safety officer. The frequency of inspections at a particular establishment depends on the risk to people's health. The greater the risk the more often the business is inspected.
Following an inspection a food business will receive one of the following scores:
If a new business has been set up or there is a new owner. It will not have a food hygiene rating to begin with but it may display a sticker or certificate that says awaiting inspection, A rating will be given after it has been inspected.
A score of 5 means that the conditions are very good.
A score of 4 means that the conditions are good.
A score of 3 means that the conditions are generally satisfactory.
A score of 2 means that improvement is necessary.
A score of 1 means that major improvement is needed.
A score of 0 means that urgent improvement is necessary.
At the inspection, the officer will check the following three elements:
- How hygienically the food is handled - how it is prepared, cooked., re-heated and stored.
- The physical condition of the business - including cleanliness layout, lighting, ventilation, pest control and other facilities.
- How the business manages ways of keeping food safe, looking at processes, training and systems, including documentation, to ensure good hygiene is maintained. The officer can then assess the level of confidence in standards being maintained in the future.
This depends on which part of the country you live:
- England - Businesses in England do not have to display their rating at their premises but are encouraged to do so.
- Wales. - Businesses in Wales are legally required to display their ratings in a prominent place the front door, entrance or window of the business. All businesses. in Wales must provide information on their rating verbally if requested In person or over the phone. The scheme applies to businesses who sell to businesses including food manufacturers and wholesalers. Takeaways must include a bilingual statement on menu leaflets and flyers which tells consumers how to find details of the rating on our website.
- Northern Ireland - Businesses in Northern Ireland are legally required to display their ratings at or near each customer entrance like the front door, entrance or window of the business. Stickers must be displayed in a location where they can be readily seen and easily read by customers before they enter the establishment when it is open for business. All businesses in Northern Ireland must provide information on their rating verbally if requested in person or over the phone.
- Scotland - A different scheme called the "Food Hygiene Information Scheme' is run in Scotland. When this scheme was tried out and tested in Scotland, the public, food businesses and local authorities in that country said they wanted the scheme to continue there. You can search for the inspection results of businesses in Scotland and read more about the Scottish scheme at food.gov.uk/ratIngs.
Ratings can be displayed in an obvious location within the business' window or door. You can also ask a member of staff what rating was given at the last inspection.
Putting a hygiene rating on show is a good advertisement for businesses that meet the requirements of food hygiene law. If the rating is low you can then choose to buy your food or meal from a place with a higher rating.
The FHRS generally includes businesses supplying food directly to the final consumer, such as:
- sandwich shops
- hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfasts
- schools and nurseries
- residential care homes and nursing homes
- wholesalers and cash and carry premises selling by retail
- shops and stalls selling food by retail
- armed forces bases and police stations
- crown establishments such as prisons.
Not all businesses in these groups are given a rating. This is because some businesses, for example a newsagent selling sweets, are a low risk to people's health so are not included in the scheme. These businesses are said to be "exempt' from the scheme.
There are two groups of exempt businesses which are inspected by the local authority food safety officer but are not given a food hygiene rating:
- businesses that are low-risk to public health, for example, newsagents, chemist shops or visitor centres selling pre-wrapped goods that do net require refrigeration
- childminders and businesses that offer caring services at home