Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
Eating out? Getting food in? Check the food hygiene rating
To help you choose where to eat out or shop for food we run the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. The scheme will give you information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels, and other places you eat out, as well as supermarkets and other food shops.
What is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme?
The scheme is being run by Ribble Valley Borough Council in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA - the central Government Department with responsibility for food safety). It will help you choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving you information about the hygiene standards in food premises at the time they are inspected by one of our food safety officers to check that they are meeting legal requirements on food hygiene.
It's not easy to judge hygiene standards on appearance alone so the rating gives you an idea of what's going on in the kitchen, or behind closed doors. You can check the ratings and use the information to switch to or choose a place with higher standards. It's also good to share this information with friends and family.
Why is the scheme important?
Telling consumers about hygiene standards in food outlets gives them greater choice. It also recognises those businesses with the highest standards and encourages others to improve. The overall aim is to reduce the number of cases of food poisoning which currently affects around one million people in the UK every year.
The scheme is being introduced across England, Wales and Northern Ireland so it will help residents and visitors to make informed choices about where to eat out or shop for food not just within Ribble Valley, but also further afield. This will also help ensure that businesses are treated fairly and consistently with local competitors and with their competitors more widely.
Which businesses are given a rating?
Restaurants, takeaways, cafes, sandwich shops, pubs, hotels, supermarkets and other retail food outlets, as well as other businesses where consumers can eat or buy food, will be given a hygiene rating as part of the scheme.
How is the rating calculated?
Each business is given a rating following an inspection by a food safety officer. This is based on how well the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law at that time. In particular:
- how hygienically the food is handled - safe food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
- the condition of the structure of the premises - cleanliness, repair, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
- how the business manages what it does to make sure food is safe and so that the officer can be confident standards will be maintained in the future.
Each of these three elements is essential for making sure that food hygiene standards meet requirements and the food served or sold to you is safe to eat.
The rating reflects the conditions found at the time of the last inspection and does not reflect the quality of food or the standards of service the business provides.
What are the different ratings?
The food hygiene rating reflects the hygiene standards found at the time the business is inspected by a food safety officer. These officers are specially trained to assess food hygiene standards.
All businesses should be able achieve the top rating of 5.
The rating given shows how well the business is doing overall but also takes account of the element or elements most in need of improving and also the level of risk to people's health that these issues pose. This is because some businesses will do well in some areas and less well in others but each of the three elements checked is essential for making sure that food hygiene standards meet requirements and the food served or sold to you is safe to eat.
To get the top rating of '5', businesses must do well in all three elements.
Those with ratings of '0' are very likely to be performing poorly in all three elements and are likely to have a history of serious problems. There may, for example, be a lack of sufficient cleaning and disinfection, and there may not be a good enough system of management in place to make sure the food is safe.
Where a business does not achieve the top rating, the food safety officer will explain to the person that owns or manages the business what improvements are needed.
Business owners and managers can find out more about food hygiene rating information for businesses.
Where will the food hygiene rating be displayed?
You can look up food hygiene ratings at food.gov.uk/ratings.
You can search for ratings for local businesses and anywhere else the scheme is being operated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Businesses are also given a window sticker and certificate showing their rating and are encouraged to display these at their premises in places where you can easily see them when you visit. Display is voluntary at the moment.
Where can I get further information?
You can read about the scheme on the FSA's site and watch the short video below.