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Food hygiene ratings and safety

Introduction to food hygiene ratings

You'll receive a food hygiene score if you operate a business that makes, sells or supplies food, either to the public or to other businesses.

The food hygiene score you receive will be between 0 and 5. It's an overall score for your premises which takes in account things like:

  • food hygiene issues
  • structural issues
  • confidence in management

When will we rate your premises

We’ll rate your premises:

  • as part of a routine food hygiene and standards inspection
  • during a visit to investigate a complaint

Our officers can visit your premises at any reasonable time and will not make an appointment unless you are a home caterer or there are security reasons, for example, a prison.


Our officers will ask to see your food safety management system.

At the end of the inspection you will receive a report and in most cases the score for your premises. You'll also have an opportunity to discuss any problems with them. There are occasions when the officer will not score at the time of the inspection but they will let you know within 10 days of their inspection.

The officer can take action if the standards found are not acceptable, including things like:

  • write to you in more detail regarding the issues we’ve found
  • serving enforcement notices
  • seize and/or detain food that's suspected to be unsuitable for humans to eat

Occasionally if very poor standards are found they may close the premises immediately and/or recommend prosecution.

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