Information on food hygiene ratings for food businesses

Page updated on: 08/02/2024

The mandatory food hygiene rating scheme has been operational now for over 3 years with businesses operating as restaurants, pubs, cafes sandwich shops, B&B, guest houses, hotels, mobile traders, market stalls, and occasional markets, included in the scheme.

Food businesses are given a rating following a routine food hygiene inspection. The rating shows how well a business is complying with food hygiene law at the time of the inspection.

When carrying out food hygiene inspections an officer will consider the following areas, which will then decide the business’ food hygiene rating:

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

Food businesses are rated on a scale. At the bottom of the scale is ‘0’ – this means that urgent improvement is necessary. At the top of the scale is ‘5’ –  this means that the hygiene standards are very good. Ratings will be published on the Food Standards Agency website. 

No score on your door – Face a fine!

Food businesses must display the sticker showing their current rating, in a prominent position at the entrance to the premises. Businesses must also tell customers their rating if asked, for example if a customer orders a takeaway over the phone and display the rating on any advertising leaflets and menus.

Failure to display a valid food hygiene rating is an offence. Officers can issue fixed penalty notices to businesses that do not display a valid rating. A fixed penalty notice will offer the opportunity for a person to pay a penalty of £200 within a period of 28 days from the day that the penalty notice is given, or a reduced penalty of £150 if payment is made within 14 days.