Food Hygiene Rating System

A piece of meat being cut

The Government has announced 'Local COVID alert level: high' restrictions for Stockton-on-Tees.

For further information about the rules and disruptions to Council services visit www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus.

We have joined forces with the National Food Hygiene Rating scheme which tells consumers about the hygiene standards of food premises to help them choose where to eat or shop for food.

The scheme has been developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in conjunction with local authorities.

Food outlets, such as restaurants, pubs and takeaways, are inspected to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements.

The hygiene standards investigated at these inspections are rated on a scale ranging from 0 (urgent improvement necessary) to 5 (very good) following an unannounced food hygiene inspection.

All food businesses will be encouraged to display a certificate and window sticker - making it easier for the public to see how each food business is complying with the law.

  • Contact the Environmental Health team to find out more about the Food Hygiene Rating scheme.

 

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme: How business ratings are calculated

At inspection, the food safety officer will check how well the business is meeting the law on food hygiene. Three areas will be assessed:

  • How hygienically the food is handled - how it is prepared, cooked, cooled, stored, and what measures are taken to prevent food being contaminated with bacteria
  • The condition of the structure of the premises including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, equipment and other facilities
  • How you manage and record what you do to make sure food is safe using a system like Safer food, better business.   

A score is given for each area. Food Safety officers use guidance to determine how to score each of these areas.

 

Food Hygiene Rating scheme: A business food hygiene rating explained

The rating given depends on how well the business does overall - the total score. It also depends on the area(s) that need improving the most - the business may do better in some areas and less well in others.

To get the top rating, a business must score no more than five in each of the three areas. All businesses should be able to get the top rating. A business is automatically given a new rating at each planned inspection.

What the ratings mean:

  • 0 - Urgent Improvement necessary
  • 1 - Major Improvement necessary
  • 2 - Improvement necessary
  • 3 - Generally satisfactory
  • 4 - Good
  • 5 - Very good

All ratings are sent to the food business operator within 14 days of inspection.   

 

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme: Appeals against a rating

Appeals can be made to the Principal Environmental Health Officer in the Food Team within 14 days from notification of the rating (this includes bank holidays and weekends).

Appeals must be submitted on the appeals application form and the rating will not appear on the national website until the appeal is determined.

Appeals will be determined within seven days after the appeal was lodged and the rating will then be published on the national website.

 

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme: Changing the Rating

Requesting a re-visit

If all the work required by the inspecting officer has been completed following the initial food hygiene inspection, there is a right to request a visit to re-rate the business. Only one request for a re-rating can be made on the request from which will need to include supporting evidence such as photographs and proof of improvements made.

You have two options when requesting a revisit;

  • Option One: Free re-rating.

There is no charge for this service, however we cannot carry out your re-rating within 3 months of your original inspection (standstill period), we then have a further 3 months in which to revisit for the re-rating.  You can only have one free visit between your programmed inspections.

  • Option Two: Non-refundable charge of £150.

This charge is payable in advance however there is no standstill period. The inspection will be undertaken as soon as practicable and within a three month period.  There are no limits to the number of times you can request this re-rating.

For all re-visits, the inspection will be unannounced. A new rating may be given based on the level of compliance found during the re-visit. The rating could go up or down or remain the same.

The food business operator may make comments on the rating given, these comments may be displayed on the website giving the reasons for the rating. 

 

Right to reply

If you have made the required improvements as detailed on your food hygiene inspection letter, or want to explain mitigating circumstances at the time of the inspection, there is a right to reply.

Your application will be reviewed by the food safety officer and the information would be published alongside the food hygiene rating awarded at the time of the initial inspection.

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