The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme aims to improve hygiene standards and help customers make a better informed choice when eating out.
Under this scheme the Food Standard Agency (external link) publishes the ratings businesses receive on their hygiene and food safety so that customers can see how good (or bad) they are. While it is not mandatory to display ratings they are available to the public on the FSA national website and through phone apps.
This means that good businesses get the public recognition they deserve for providing and maintaining high standards of food hygiene.
Which businesses are included in the scheme?
All food businesses that supply to the final consumer are automatically included. This means restaurants, hotels, cafes, shops, delicatessens, public houses, mobile traders, home caterers, schools, car homes and shops.
Some businesses are excluded as they don’t sell to the final consumer, namely factories, importers, warehouses and transport companies, while some businesses, such as childminders, are exempted as they often provided only drinks and businesses.
How does the scheme work?
Food businesses are assessed by Rother’s Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) during routine inspections. The frequency of inspection is determined by the risk of a business causing food poisoning or harm to customers or the public at large.
At the end of the inspection the EHOs score the business against the hygiene, structure and management criteria as seen at that time. It is most important that the food safety management system in use, usually Safer Foods Better Business, is available at that time. The food hygiene rating will be calculated and you will receive a window sticker, signed and dated by the inspecting officer. A handwritten report of visit form will also be given to you at the end of the inspection, with details of the inspecting officer and any works you need to complete.
While there is no legal requirement to do so, you are asked to display your sticker so that customers can see them. If you do not display your rating then the public are advised to draw their own conclusions. Out of date stickers must be removed, any reports of falsified stickers will be investigated.
Appealing a rating
If you are unhappy with your rating you can appeal within 21 days of receiving your rating. Your appeal will be conducted by a manager and a decision notified to you within 21 days. An appeal means that you disagree with the findings of the inspecting officer. Completion of the works required after the inspection is not grounds for appeal but may be grounds to apply for a rerating. If you would like to discuss the inspection contact Una Kane Food Team Manager on 01424 787542.
If the appeal is upheld, your new rating will be issued. If the appeal is rejected then the reasons for this will be put in writing to you.
The appeal form is available in both word and pdf formats and should be returned to the address below:
Right to reply
Businesses have the opportunity to comment on their rating or explain to customers what you have done to improve hygiene.
It is not an opportunity to complain or criticise the food hygiene rating scheme or the Environmental Health Officer.
Comments must be made in writing using the forms below. We may edit comments in order to remove any offensive, defamatory, clearly inaccurate or irrelevant remarks. Comments will then be published on the website along with your score for customers to see.
Comments can be made at any time until the next scheduled inspection.
The right to reply form is available in both word and pdf format and should be returned to the address below:
Requested revisits for 3s and 4s
You will automatically be given your new rating of 3 or 4 at the end of the routine inspection. The Officer will also explain what needs to be done to comply with legal requirements, and comment on what can be done to improve a rating. If you then carry out works and recommendations to improve standards, you can request a revisit to review your rating.
You must make your request for a revisit in writing using the forms below, detailing what measures and works have been done since your inspection. Photographs and documents can be supplied to support your request. We do have the right to refuse your request if insufficient evidence is supplied to justify a revisit.
Once we receive your request we have up to three months to make an another unannounced visit. Based on this visit a new rating will be awarded if standards have sufficiently improved. We will not revisit within three months of the original inspection, unless only structural works or upgrades to equipment were required.
For businesses rated 3 or 4 who wish to receive a revisit within three months a payment of £150 must be made with the application for a rerating. If you would like to make use of this service, please complete and return the form below and visit our Pay for a FHRS Revisit (external link) to make your payment.
Requested revisits for those rated 0, 1 and 2
Any food business rated 0, 1 or 2 is not broadly complaint and enforcement action may be taken. These food businesses will be proactively revisited by the Environmental Health Service to make sure the required improvements have been made quickly. Any food business in these categories does not need to apply for a revisit as the inspecting officer will return.
Please note that your rating could go down if conditions have deteriorated or if the improvements claimed have not been properly implemented. You should be aware that you can only request one revisit between routine inspections.
The request a revisit form is available in both word and pdf formats and should be returned to the address below:
How to get a 5
To make sure your business gets a high rating you need to be practicing good standards of food hygiene and also completing your Food Safety Management System
For more information please download our Guidance on Good Hygiene Practice (pdf) which also includes a check list of things you need to be doing.
Find out how your food business compares to other businesses in Wealden.
For more information about the scheme or to search for a rating visit the Food Standard Agency (external link)