Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Communications Toolkit - Food Standards

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					                                 The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

Local Authority Communications toolkit

Contents                                                                                    Page

1. Introduction                                                                              2

2. Communications objectives                                                                 2

3. Key messages                                                                              3

4. Stats and facts                                                                           4

5. What can you do?

    o   When to start communicating                                                          4

    o   Communicating with businesses                                                        5

    o   Communicating with consumers                                                         6

    o   Press                                                                                7

    o   Events                                                                               7

    o   Online                                                                               7

6. What the FSA can offer                                                                    8

7. Stickers and certificates                                                                 9

List of annexes

ANNEX A – Template press release for migrating local authorities                            11

ANNEX B – Template press release for local authorities introducing a scheme for the first   13
time

ANNEX C – Frequently asked questions                                                        14




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   1. Introduction

This toolkit has been produced by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to provide, what we hope will be
some helpful communications advice, to local authorities that are planning on rolling out the Food
Hygiene Rating Scheme. It contains information on key messages, ideas for communicating with
business and consumers, template press releases as well as details of where to go for further
information.

We plan on updating this document on a regular basis, so if you have any feedback, suggestions for
activities or want to submit a case study for inclusion then please email us at
fhrsenquiries@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk



   2. Communications objectives

The primary purpose of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) is to enable consumers to make
informed choices about the places where they eat out or shop for food and, through this, to
encourage businesses to improve hygiene standards.

Success of the scheme will depend on effective and timely communication with consumers and
businesses both on a local and a national basis.

Communications objectives are:

   -   For businesses:

           o to introduce the FHRS

           o motivate food businesses to practice good food hygiene and to get the top ratings

           o encourage food businesses to display their FHRS rating

   -   For consumers:

           o introduce the FHRS

           o make people think about food hygiene when they are eating out or shopping for
             food

           o get people to check ratings of the food businesses they plan to visit either by
             looking online or at the premises




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   3. Key messages

   -   For businesses:

       o the scheme will be a good advertisement for businesses that comply with food hygiene
         law – good food hygiene means a good hygiene rating and a good hygiene rating is good
         for business

       o it’s already a legal requirement for businesses to meet hygiene regulations

       o having the six different ratings gives businesses room to improve

       o the FSA and your local authority have tools to help businesses do this



   -   For consumers:

       o the FHRS enables you to make an informed choice about where you choose to eat out or
         shop for food, as it gives you an idea of what’s going on in the kitchen, or behind closed
         doors.

       o you can view the rating of the place where you choose to eat or shop by checking the
         sticker in the window, the certificate on display inside the premises or by going online at
         food.gov.uk/ratings.

       o Explain what the ratings mean.

               o Your local authority inspects businesses and rates them on their hygiene
                 standards.

               o The standards found at the time of inspection are rated on a scale.

               o At the bottom of the scale is ‘0’ – this means urgent improvement is required. At
                 the top of the scale is ‘5’ – this means the hygiene standards are very good.




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      4. Stats and facts


It is estimated that currently each year in the UK around a million people suffer a foodborne illness,
which leads to 20,000 receiving hospital treatment and 500 deaths,

In England and Wales alone, this costs the economy £1.5 billion each year.
The chart below provides some information on the number of businesses that are potentially in
scope of the FHRS and also provides a breakdown for each country where the scheme is being
introduced.
You may want to use figures that are specific to your local area.


                    UK               England           Wales            Northern
                                                                        Ireland

Establishments      530573           440943            30667            16510
potentially in
scope of FHRS1




      5. What can you do?

When to start communicating

Guidance on the approach to launch is given in the ‘Guidance on the implementation and operation
of the scheme’2. The approach taken will influence when you begin to implement your
communications strategy.

We advise that, initially, communications activity is centred on businesses and that you do not begin
promoting the scheme to consumers until a sufficient number of businesses are displaying their
rating at their premises or are published at www.food.gov.uk/ratings.

You may wish to focus your communications by highlighting a particular street or area, a shopping
centre or a particular type of business, such as takeaways, pubs etc.




1
    http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/board/fsa100309v3.pdf
2
    http://www.food.gov.uk/safereating/hyg/hygieneratings/hygienescoresresources/

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CASE STUDY

When Dartford was developing the strategy for introducing the national Food Hygiene Rating
Scheme to the Borough, it was realised that one single launch would not fit into our plans.
Therefore, we decided to focus our attentions on The Bluewater Shopping Centre, at Greenhithe.
It is the second largest Shopping Centre within the United Kingdom, and fourth largest in Europe.
There are approximately 420 units, of which 75 fall directly within the scope of the Food Hygiene
Rating Scheme.

Due to the competitive nature and high standard of quality and service of these food outlets, it was
essential to introduce the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme as a level platform with all outlets rated by
the implementation day. It was also commercially desirable to have the scheme in place at
Bluewater before Christmas. A bonus for Dartford Council was that in doing this, we would have
trialled our procedures before the rollout across the rest of the Borough.

There were two main considerations that we had to factor in - the 'image' consideration in that the
Centre Management would have an expectation that each food outlet would have a minimum rating
of 3, and secondly that as landlords there could be issues where joint building maintenance were
concerned.

The culmination of our activity will result in a presentation of the ratings to food outlets, which will
offer a good opportunity for press coverage of the national Food Hygiene Rating scheme, Bluewater
Shopping Centre and individual businesses.



Communicating with businesses

To begin with we suggest that communications to businesses should focus on:

       explaining the FHRS and what it means for businesses

       explaining how businesses can improve their rating

       promoting helpful tools or literature that are available or any seminars and events you are
        holding that business owners, managers or staff can attend

There are many ways of engaging with businesses locally, such as:

       working with local business initiatives/forums/chambers of commerce

       holding seminars/events

       considering promoting a ‘local’ champion to reinforce the benefits of the FHRS to food
        businesses



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       enlisting support from neighbouring local authorities and sharing experience and best
        practice

       having stalls and displays at cash and carries, wholesalers or other places where business
        owners may visit on a regular basis

    CASE STUDY

    Conwy County Borough Council, in collaboration with Denbighshire County Council, decided to
    run seminars for businesses. Matthew Frankcom, Business Enforcement Manager at Conwy
    said, ‘We felt it was important to hold seminars so that we could talk to businesses face-to-face
    and allow them to ask questions about the scheme. Business operators are concerned about the
    effect the scheme will have on their business, so one of the key areas of discussion will be the
    scoring system and how businesses can get the best possible rating’.

    Conwy is holding two seminars in different areas in the county to allow more businesses to
    attend. Further seminars are being planned for Denbighshire. The Conwy seminars, which are
    fully booked with 250 delegates attending, are taking place in the evening.

    Matthew commented ‘picking a time is difficult due to the nature of food businesses. Ideally we
    would have liked to have held two at each location, one during the day and one in the evening,
    but unfortunately the budget didn’t quite stretch that far’.

    Matthew’s final piece of advice for anyone else thinking of running seminars: ‘Get the support of
    your Marketing team early in the process. As tourism is very important to the local economy
    here, Conwy's marketing team are keen to promote visitors to the area. The quality of local
    businesses and their food hygiene rating is therefore very important. Marketing have helped us
    with some of the administration and supported us with the cost of audio-visual equipment for
    the events themselves.’

Once the scheme is up and running in your area, you may want to publicise the scheme further. A
valuable PR tool is to use case studies of businesses that have achieved a good rating or have made
significant improvements to their rating as a result of the scheme. This will not only promote the
scheme, but also the work that your authority is doing to improve hygiene standards in your area.



Communicating with consumers

As soon as you have a significant number of businesses displaying ratings at their premises and
published online it would be appropriate to start telling consumers about the scheme.

The following gives some ideas of how you can do this.




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Press

We have developed a template press release, which you can adapt and send to your local press or
broadcast media (ANNEXES A & B). This will announce that you are taking part in the scheme, how it
works, and the benefits it can bring to consumers and businesses.

This could also be used as the basis for a story in any newsletters or magazines that your own
authority publishes for local residents or businesses.

The template press release could also be sent to local food writers. It may be possible to enlist food
writers or restaurant critics on local papers to help spread the word in their columns and articles, or
by including hygiene ratings in restaurant reviews.

The business editor on the local paper might also be interested in running a story either on your
launch or giving updates on the progress of the scheme.

ANNEX C contains some frequently asked questions and the appropriate answers - you may find this
useful when dealing with any press enquiries.

Feel free to contact the FSA if you would like any additional support such as an FSA spokesperson for
a TV or radio interview, or if you would like images of logos/ratings to feature in articles.



Events

Holding a launch event can create a good ‘buzz’ and, potentially, a good press story too.

Anywhere that has a high concentration of food businesses, such as high streets or shopping centres,
would make an appropriate venue. Consider inviting along local chefs (providing they have a good
rating!) to show off their skills, or hosting the event at high achieving businesses to allow them to
showcase their establishments and good hygiene practices.

Tying a launch to a local/regional food week or month may also be a useful tactic, especially as some
of the organisation may already have been done for you!

Jaan Stanton, Food Safety Manager at Norwich City Council decided to take full advantage of the
Norfolk Food Festival. This high-profile event champions the best of Norfolk produce and is
sponsored by the Eastern Daily Press. It counts amongst its supporters many local celebrities,
including Delia Smith. Being listed as one of the events in the festival calendar added value to our
launch and allowed us to capitalise on the extra publicity this generated.



Online

People use the internet to search for places to eat, make a booking or research an area before
visiting so it’s worth researching which websites are relevant to your area.


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        o Does your area have any restaurant review sites? What opportunities do they have for
          communications with either businesses or consumers?

        o Do they have a blog that you could comment on?

        o Do they run features? If so, could you either supply a press release or send them the text
          for an article?

        o Do they have e-newsletters that get sent out to subscribers?

        o Would they display a FHRS web banner or simply add a link through to
          food.gov.uk/ratings?

    6. What the FSA can offer

The FSA communications teams in London, Wales and Northern Ireland and your regional team
representative will be more than happy to talk to you about any specific queries that you have.

We have set up a dedicated email address ( fhrsenquiries@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk ) to respond to
any communications enquiries you may have. This will be monitored on a daily basis and any
enquiries will be forwarded onto the person most able to assist you.

We also have a variety of resources that can be found on our website.

       template presentation for businesses (areas with no scheme)

       template presentation for businesses (migrating from another scheme)

       template letter for writing to businesses

       web banners for inclusion on your own or others websites

These can all be found at:
http://www.food.gov.uk/safereating/hyg/hygieneratings/hygienescoresresources/hygieneratingtem
plates

The Agency also has available the resources from the campaign ‘Poor hygiene is bad for your
business’. These can be ordered free of charge from FSA Publications on 0845 606 0667 or
foodstandards@ecgroup.co.uk . Please quote the relevant code when ordering:

FSA/1492/0110               Business Campaign - Leaflet (Bilingual)
FSA/1493/0110               Business Campaign - Leaflet (English)
FSA/1514/0110               Business Campaign – Pub poster (A3)
FSA/1515/0110               Business Campaign – Chinese poster (A3)
FSA/1516/0110               Business Campaign – Indian poster (A3)
FSA/1517/0110               Business Campaign – Sandwich Bar poster (A3)
FSA/1518/0110               Business Campaign – Fish and Chip Shop poster (A3)
FSA/1519/0110               Business Campaign - Sandwich bar Welsh bilingual poster (A3)
FSA/1520/0110               Business Campaign – Fish and Chip Shop Welsh bilingual poster (A3)

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    7. Stickers and certificates

Certificates

Template certificate paper is available for each rating from 0 to 5 and for establishments ‘awaiting
inspection’. There are separate Welsh/English bilingual versions for local authorities in Wales.

 ‘Early adopters’ may now order supplies free of charge from EC Group on 0845 606 0667 or
foodstandards@ecgroup.co.uk .

Please quote the relevant code when ordering (there will be a maximum order quantity of 100 for
each rating at this stage):

Code                        Hygiene rating
FSA/1601/0810               FHRS Certificate 0
FSA/1602/0810               FHRS Certificate 1
FSA/1603/0810               FHRS Certificate 2
FSA/1604/0810               FHRS Certificate 3
FSA/1605/0810               FHRS Certificate 4
FSA/1606/0810               FHRS Certificate 5
FSA/1607/0810               FHRS Certificate 0 Bilingual
FSA/1608/0810               FHRS Certificate 1 Bilingual
FSA/1609/0810               FHRS Certificate 2 Bilingual
FSA/1610/0810               FHRS Certificate 3 Bilingual
FSA/1611/0810               FHRS Certificate 4 Bilingual
FSA/1612/0810               FHRS Certificate 5 Bilingual
FSA/1613/0810               FHRS Awaiting Inspection certificate
FSA/1614/0810               FHRS Awaiting Inspection certificate Bilingual


Stickers

‘Plain’ stickers (i.e. FSA logo/‘this scheme is operated in partnership with your local authority’) are
also available free of charge through EC Group. Please quote the order numbers below (again, there
will be a maximum order quantity of 100 for each rating at this stage):

Code                        Hygiene rating
FSA/1573/0710               FHRS Sticker 0
FSA/1574/0710               FHRS Sticker 1
FSA/1575/0710               FHRS Sticker 2
FSA/1576/0710               FHRS Sticker 3


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Code            Hygiene rating
FSA/1577/0710   FHRS Sticker 4
FSA/1578/0710   FHRS Sticker 5
FSA/1585/0710   FHRS Sticker 0 Bilingual
FSA/1586/0710   FHRS Sticker 1 Bilingual
FSA/1587/0710   FHRS Sticker 2 Bilingual
FSA/1588/0710   FHRS Sticker 3 Bilingual
FSA/1589/0710   FHRS Sticker 4 Bilingual
FSA/1590/0710   FHRS Sticker 5 Bilingual
FSA/1597/0710   FHRS Awaiting Inspection
FSA/1598/0710   FHRS Awaiting Inspection Bilingual




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ANNEX A

PRESS RELEASE FOR MIGRATING LOCAL AUTHORITIES TO ANNOUNCE LAUNCH OF SCHEME

New display for hygiene standards when eating out

Customers will be better informed when eating out, thanks to the introduction of a new scheme
which tells them about the hygiene standards of food outlets.

[Name of local authority] has announced that it will switch to a new way of displaying the hygiene
standards of food businesses to consumers. The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) will be run
across the [county/city/borough] from [date].

This national scheme, developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local
authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, provides information on food hygiene standards
to help people to choose where to eat out or shop for food. The new scheme will build on the
success of the [‘Scores on the Doors’] scheme that the [name of the local authority] has been
running.

Food outlets, such as restaurants, takeaways and pubs, are inspected by food safety officers from
[insert name] Council, to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements. The hygiene
standards found at these inspections are rated on a scale ranging from zero at the bottom (which
means ‘urgent improvement necessary’) to a top rating of five (‘very good’).

These ratings will be available for anyone to view on the FSA website at food.gov.uk/ratings and the
food business will be given a sticker and certificate and encouraged to display these at the entrance
to their premises. This is so that their customers can easily see them and decide if they want to go
in.

Around one million people suffer from food poisoning every year, and the FSA’s aim in developing
the FHRS is to reduce this number. The ratings will give consumers a glimpse of what is going on in
the kitchen when they eat out, or behind the scenes at the places they shop, before they make their
decision about which place they prefer to visit.

[Local authority spokesperson name and title] said, ‘Although we have run our own successful food
hygiene scheme, we have opted to change to the FHRS, as we can see the benefits for local food
businesses and the people that eat or shop in them. Having a single scheme which is consistent
nationwide means that the rating will have the same significance wherever people are buying food.
The public will be able to use the information when deciding which food outlets to visit, and we
hope that food companies will recognise that displaying a good hygiene rating is good for business.’

Catriona Stewart, Head of the Food Hygiene Ratings Team at the FSA said, ‘We recognise the real
progress that has been made in improving hygiene standards in food outlets through ‘local’ food
hygiene rating schemes. But having a single nationwide scheme will mean a level playing field for
businesses across the country, and consumers will be able to recognise and use the ratings in their


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own area, as well as further from home. So it’s great news that [local authority] have announced
their intention to switch to the new national scheme.’




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ANNEX B

TEMPLATE PRESS RELEASE FOR LOCAL AUTHORITIES INTRODUCING A SCHEME FOR THE FIRST TIME

Hygiene ratings now visible when eating out

Customers will be better informed when eating out in [area], thanks to the introduction of a new
scheme which tells them about the hygiene standards of food outlets.

[Name of local authority] has announced the introduction of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
(FHRS) across the [county/city/borough] from [date].

This national scheme, developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local
authorities, provides information on food hygiene standards to help people to choose where to eat
out or shop for food.

Food outlets, such as restaurants, takeaways and pubs, are inspected by food safety officers from
[insert name] Council, to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements. The hygiene
standards found at these inspections are rated on a scale ranging from zero at the bottom (which
means ‘urgent improvement necessary’) to a top rating of five (‘very good’).

These ratings will be available for anyone to view on the FSA website at food.gov.uk/ratings and the
food business will be given a sticker and certificate and encouraged to display these at the entrance
to their premises. This means that their customers can easily see them and decide if they want to go
in.

 [Local authority spokesperson name and title] said, ‘We have joined the FHRS as we can see the
benefits for local food businesses and the people that eat and shop in them. The public will be able
to use the ratings when deciding which outlets to visit and we hope that food companies will
recognise that displaying a good hygiene rating is good for business. When customers expect to see
a rating, there is a real incentive for food businesses to seek to make improvements to their hygiene
standards.’

Catriona Stewart, Head of the Food Hygiene Ratings Team at the FSA said, ‘We are encouraging as
many local authorities as possible to run the FHRS, so it’s great news that [local authority] are the
latest to announce their intention to use it. Around one million people suffer from food poisoning
every year, and our aim in introducing the scheme is to reduce this. The ratings will give consumers a
glimpse of what is going on in the kitchen when they eat out, or behind the scenes at the places they
shop, before they make their decision about which place they prefer to visit.’




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ANNEX C – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the food hygiene rating scheme for?

The scheme provides information on food hygiene to help you choose where to eat out or shop for
food by giving you information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways,
hotels and other places you eat, as well as supermarkets and other food shops.
The scheme also encourages businesses to improve hygiene standards.



Who runs the scheme?

The scheme is run by local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in partnership with
the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Local authorities are responsible for carrying out inspections of food businesses to check that they
meet the requirements of food hygiene law.
The FSA is the UK government department responsible for food safety. It gives local authorities
advice, training, and other support to help them run the scheme.



Is the scheme run in all parts of the UK?

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is a ‘national scheme’ run in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A similar scheme is run in Scotland.
Each local authority can choose whether or not it wants to take part so the scheme is not running in
all areas of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Some local authorities choose to run their own
local schemes.
The FSA is working with local authorities to encourage as many of them as possible to run the
‘national scheme’ so you can compare hygiene ratings of food businesses in your local area and
further away from home.



Why does Scotland have a different scheme?

A different scheme called the ‘Food Hygiene Information Scheme’ is run in Scotland. When this
scheme was tried out and tested in Scotland, the public, food businesses and local authorities in that
country said they wanted the scheme to continue there.
You can search for the inspection results of businesses in Scotland and read more about the Scottish
scheme at food.gov.uk/ratings.




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What types of food business are given a rating?

Ratings are given to places where you can eat out such as restaurants, takeaways, cafés, sandwich
shops, pubs and hotels. Ratings are also given to schools, hospitals and residential care homes.
Places where you shop for food, such as supermarkets, bakeries, and delicatessens, are also given a
rating.
Not all businesses in these groups are given a rating. This is because some businesses, for example a
newsagent selling sweets, are a low risk to people’s health so are not included in the scheme. These
businesses are said to be ‘exempt’ from the scheme.



What does ‘exempt’ mean?

The two groups of exempt businesses are:
       businesses that are a low-risk to people’s health in terms of food safety and that you
        perhaps wouldn’t normally think of as a food business – for example, newsagents, chemist
        shops or visitor centers selling tins of biscuits
       childminders and businesses that offer caring services at home
These types of business can ask to receive a food hygiene rating if they wish. Only details of those in
the first group will be published on food.gov.uk/ratings but those in the second group can share
their rating with parents and others using their services.



How is a hygiene rating worked out?

A food safety officer from the local authority inspects a business to check that it meets the
requirements of food hygiene law.
At the inspection, the officer will check:

       how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and
        stored
       the condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation
        and other facilities
       how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe
The hygiene standards found at the time of inspection are then rated on a scale. At the bottom of
the scale is ‘0’ – this means urgent improvement is required. At the top of the scale is ‘5’ – this
means the hygiene standards are very good.
The rating given shows how well the business does overall. The business may do better in some
areas and less well in others and the rating takes this into account. This includes those areas that
need improving the most.


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The officer will explain to the person who owns or manages the business what improvements need
to be made and what action they can take to improve their hygiene rating.



What do the different ratings mean?

The food hygiene rating reflects the hygiene standards found at the time of inspection by a food
safety officer from the business’s local authority.
A business can be given one of these ratings:




The hygiene standards found at the time of inspection are rated on a scale. At the bottom of the
scale is ‘0’ – this means urgent improvement is required. At the top of the scale is ‘5’ – this means
the hygiene standards are very good.

A rating shows you how well the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law. It gives
you an idea of what’s going on in the kitchen, or behind closed doors, so you can choose where you
eat or buy food.

How often will a restaurant or other food business be given a new rating?

A new rating is given each time the business is inspected by a food safety officer from the business’s
local authority.
How often inspections take place depends on the risk to people’s health. The greater the risk, the
more often the business is inspected.
If the business owner or manager makes improvements to hygiene standards, the business can ask
its local authority for a visit to be carried out before the date of the next planned inspection. This
means these improvements can be checked and a new rating could be given.




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Why are businesses with poor ratings not closed?

Businesses given ratings of ‘0’ or ‘1’ must make urgent or major improvements to hygiene standards.
The local authority food safety officer will use a number of enforcement tools as well as giving advice
and guidance to make sure these improvements are made.
If the officer finds that a business’s hygiene standards are very poor and there is an imminent risk to
health – this means food is not safe to eat – the officer must take action to ensure that consumers
are protected. This could mean prohibiting part of an operation or closing the business down.



How can I find out what the rating is for a takeaway or other food business?

If a takeaway or other food business has been given a rating, you can search for it on
food.gov.uk/ratings.
When you eat out or shop for food, you might see a sticker in the window or on the door, or a
certificate on display, showing you the hygiene rating for that business. Businesses are encouraged
to display these stickers and certificates in a place where you can easily see them when you visit.
These stickers and certificates will also show the date the hygiene standards were inspected by the
local authority’s food safety officer.
If you don’t see the rating at a takeaway or other food business, you can ask a member of staff if the
business is in the scheme and what rating was given at the last inspection.



Does a food business have to show its rating?

No, so if you see a business without a hygiene rating sticker or certificate, you’ll have to decide if you
want to eat or buy food from there without knowing the hygiene standards.
Putting a hygiene rating on show is a good advertisement for businesses that meet the requirements
of food hygiene law.
A good food hygiene rating is good for business.



What does ‘awaiting inspection’ mean?

If a new business has been set up, or there is a new owner, it will not have a food hygiene rating to
begin with but it may display a sticker or certificate that says ‘awaiting inspection’. A rating will be
given after a local authority food safety officer has inspected the business to check the hygiene
standards.




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What can the owner of a business do if they think the rating given is unfair or wrong?

The owner or manager of the business should talk to the local authority food safety officer that
inspected the business about why the rating was given.
If the business owner or manager still thinks that the rating is unfair or wrong, they can appeal in
writing. This means they can fill in a form that they can get from their local authority and sent it to
them within 14 days (this includes weekends and public holidays) of being told what their rating is.
The owner or manager of the business also has a ‘right to reply’. This is different from an appeal. The
owner or manager can fill in a form that they can get from their local authority to tell them how the
business has improved hygiene or to say if there were unusual circumstances at the time of the
inspection. A business’s right to reply will be published online by the local authority with the
business’s hygiene rating.



Can the owner of a business ask the local authority to inspect hygiene standards again to get a
new rating?

Yes, but only if the improvements to hygiene that the local authority food safety officer told the
business about at the last inspection have been made.
The owner or manager of the food business can only ask the local authority once for another
inspection to be carried out before the date of the next planned inspection.
To ask for another inspection, any food business can download a form from its local authority’s page
of the website.



I’m worried about the rating given to a shop where I’ve eaten and bought food. What should I do?

You should contact the local authority that gave the rating. The local authority details are also on
any certificate or the on back of any sticker on show at the shop.



Why six tiers?

The decision about the best scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland was considered very
carefully by the FSA Board in December 2008, following a major public consultation. In opting for six
tiers, the Board took account of all views, and also the aim to enable consumers to differentiate
between the food hygiene standards at premises where they eat or buy food, and the aim to provide
an incentive to businesses for continuous improvement.




Page | 18
Why isn’t it mandatory for businesses to display the score?

Mandatory display would require new legislation so the Agency is taking a voluntary approach at this
stage, though this will be kept under review. The scheme will be promoted both locally and
nationally to consumers so that they can understand and use ratings in making their choices about
where to eat out or shop for food. As they become familiar with the scheme, they will come to
expect ratings to be displayed and draw their own conclusions where they are not.



Why doesn’t the scheme apply to businesses that process and supply food?

Principally it is a consumer information tool, so ratings will be given to food outlets where customers
can make a decision there and then about where to go and eat or to do their food shopping.




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