Food hygiene ratings

How business ratings are decided, what to do to get a good score, and how to contest a rating.

Deciding the rating

Each business is given a rating following an inspection by a food safety officer. This is based on how well the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law at that time. In particular:

  • how hygienically the food is handled – safe food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
  • the condition of the structure of the premises – cleanliness, repair, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how food safety is managed and documented – using a system such as Safer food, better business or Safe catering.

The rating reflects the conditions found at the time of the last inspection and does not reflect the quality of food or the standards of service the business provides.

The different ratings

A business is given one of six ratings:

  • 5 means very good
  • 4 means good
  • 3 means generally satisfactory
  • 2 means improvement is necessary
  • 1 means major improvement is necessary
  • 0 means urgent improvement necessary.

All businesses should be able achieve the top rating of 5.

Where a business does not achieve the top rating, the food safety officer will explain to the person that owns or manages the business what they need to improve.