FOOD HYGIENE RATING SCHEME FOR CONSUMERS
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme [FHRS] is a national scheme run by the Food Standards Agency [FSA] which makes it easier for consumers to choose where to eat out and shop. A FHRS score for food safety practices is given every time an inspection is carried out by the WRS Community E Environmental Health team. Please note that the FHRS is about food safety issues (including allergens) not about food quality or healthier eating (go to our page about the Healthier Choices Scheme which food businesses can join).
The majority of officer interventions are carried out unannounced and the business is rated on what we find at the time. We always try to make visits when the business is trading. We are legally required to give 24 hours notice to food businesses that are home based.
Businesses can appeal a rating given and also be re-rated on request. If you want to know more about how the FHRS works for businesses, go to our page about the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme for Businesses.
For full information on the FHRS and how it works, you can find further information at https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/food-hygiene-rating-scheme.
When eating out just look for the green and black stickers shown above. They should be displayed on a door or window. You can find all ratings on the Food Standards Agency website where you can search for information about hygiene standards at food businesses across the whole of England (Scotland, Wales and Ireland have separate sites). In Worcestershire our information is usually updated weekly.
If the business has received a Level 5 score this will immediately appear on the FHRS web site; if it is a lower score this will be held for 21 days to allow for an appeal to be made.
You may also see:
This is a newly registered food business awaiting inspection and rating.
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 consumers can ask for copies of inspection reports of businesses. Please be aware that some information may be redacted (removed) for legal reasons.
Registered food businesses that are exempted from the scheme appear on the FSA Food Hygiene Rating Scheme website with an Exempt icon:
In Worcestershire this includes wet bars, very small retail outlets selling low risk foods, community and village halls. These premises are still monitored by food safety officers
All manufacturers and wholesale businesses are Excluded from the Scheme and do not appear on the website, although they all receive regular food hygiene inspections.
Business with Level 5 and Level 4 scores will have good compliance with food safety laws. A Level 3 premise is generally satisfactory and does not present a food safety risk. In Worcestershire over 95% of rated premises fall into these categories.
Businesses given a rating of Level 0, Level 1 or Level 2 will have poor levels of compliance. This could include lack of cleaning, hot water, staff training, pest control or no written documentation.
If a business is ‘an imminent risk to public health’ officers can close the premises immediately by issuing a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice [HEPN]. This has to be displayed on the premises and the business can only reopen after improvements are made and the premises signed off as safe by an Environmental Health Officer.
A HEPN has to be approved with an Order from Magistrates within three days of being served. Not all low scoring premises will be formally closed as they may not be an imminent risk. Officers will, however, make regular revisits to ensure conditions improve. Businesses can apply to be re-rated on payment of a fee. The Inspecting Officer and Food Safety Manager will decide on how soon this will be done to ensure food safety requirements are being met.
Currently there is no legal requirement in England for businesses to display their rating, although it is now legally enforced in Wales and there are plans for this to happen in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
If you can't see a sign you can either ask a business about its rating or go to the FSA Food Hygiene Rating Scheme website where all ratings are displayed.
WRS officers actively encourage businesses to display their rating.
It is an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 to display an incorrect rating. Please report this to WRS or via the FSA at email@example.com The business will be advised in writing to remove the misleading rating.
An officer will usually make a visit to check this has been done.
The main legislation applying to food premises is The Food Safety Act 1990 and Regulation EU 852/2004 enforced in England by The Food Hygiene and Safety [England] Regulations 2013. You can find more information on current food safety law on the FSA website or have a look at the business section on this website.
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Worcestershire Regulatory Services,
Wyre Forest House