Wealden District Council

Introduction to the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

This page and the video below give an introduction to the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

Food Poisoning

Every year in the UK around 1 million of us suffer from some form of food poisoning.

Food poisoning can be caused by the consumption of contaminated food - food that is contaminated with chemicals, viruses, toxins or, as is often the case, contaminated with bacteria like salmonella or e.coli.

The most common symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhoea and vomiting and can last for weeks. During that time those affected are not able to go to work or to school and can't do the things that we would normally enjoy doing.

For the very young or very old the symptoms of food poisoning can be particularly severe and, in some cases, can lead to more serious health effects or even death.

What Wealden do to Prevent Food Poisoning

At Wealden District Council, our Environmental Health Officers work hard to prevent residents and visitors to the area from getting food poisoning. As well as training and educating people on how to avoid food poisoning we also visit shops and caterers.

Every year we inspect hundreds of businesses like cafes, restaurants and pubs to make sure that they comply with food hygiene rules and to advise them on how best to avoid food contamination.

After the business is inspected we will award the business a food hygiene rating. The level of the rating depends on how well they comply with hygiene regulations and guidance.

Assessing Food Hygiene

When assessing businesses, officers consider three main areas:

First - Food Handling and Storage

How hygienically the food is handled. This includes how food is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored.

Second - Building Condition

The condition of the structure of the buildings. This will include the level of cleanliness, layout, ventilation and facilities provided

Third - Food Safety Management and Records

How well the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.

The Rating

We use a nationally recognised scale to rate businesses which ranges from zero to five; where zero is the worst score that can be awarded and five is the best.

Businesses that are rated as a five have very good hygiene standards when inspected; whereas those who score zero did badly. Any score below three will require improvement before they come up to a satisfactory level of compliance.

The Purpose of the Scheme

One of the ideas behind the food hygiene rating scheme is to encourage businesses to take food safety seriously and make improvements where they are necessary.

The other reason for allocating ratings is for us to provide you with the information needed to help you choose where to eat out and where to shop.

Find out the Ratings for Businesses

Rating Stickers

When you eat out or shop for food, you might see a sticker in the window or on the door which will show you the hygiene rating for that business.

We encourage businesses to display the stickers in a place where you can easily see them when you visit. However, at the moment, there is no compulsion for businesses to display their sticker.

Ratings on the Food Standards Agency Website

All of the ratings that we award are listed on a national website along with the date we inspected the business. You can search food hygiene ratings on the Food Standards Agency website (external link)

Ask the Business

You could also ask the business yourself whether they have been awarded a rating.

Contact Environmental Health

Contact us using the details below and we will be able to tell you the rating of a business.

So, before going out to eat, why not check the score first?

Contact Rother and Wealden Environmental Health Service