Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme helps you choose where to eat out or shop for food. The scheme gives you information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels, and other places you like to go to eat out, as well as supermarkets and other food shops.
How does the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme work?
Torfaen County Borough Council ‘the Council’ is implementing the scheme in accordance with the requirements of the Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act 2013. This mandatory scheme has been developed by Welsh Government in collaboration with the Food Standards Agency and local authorities. It is based on the non- statutory scheme which the Council has operated since October 2010 and the basis of the rating remains unchanged. It will give you information about the hygiene standards in food premises at the time they are inspected by one of our food safety officers to check that they are meeting legal requirements on food hygiene. The hygiene rating given reflects what the officer finds at the time.
It’s not easy to judge hygiene standards on appearance alone so the rating gives you an idea of what’s going on in the kitchen, or behind closed doors. You can check the ratings and use the information to choose a place with higher standards. It’s also good to share this information with friends and family.
Why is the scheme important?
Providing information on hygiene standards in food outlets gives people a wider basis on which to make a choice. It also recognises those businesses with the highest standards and encourages others to improve. The overall aim is to reduce the number of cases of food poisoning which currently affects around one million people in the UK every year.
The scheme in Wales is operated in accordance with the Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act but the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme also runs in England and Northern Ireland, with the ratings being based on the same information. So the scheme helps local people and visitors when deciding where to eat and buy food, and means people can make like for like comparison with businesses in other areas.
Which businesses are given a rating?
Restaurants, takeaways, cafés, sandwich shops, pubs, hotels, supermarkets and other retail food outlets, as well as other businesses where consumers can eat or buy food, are given a hygiene rating as part of the scheme.
How is the rating calculated?
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. The assessment is based on a consideration of the following three elements –
- Food hygiene and safety procedures,
- Structure of the establishment (including cleanliness, layout, condition of structure, lighting, ventilation, facilities etc.) and
- Confidence in management / control procedures (this is the term we give when we assess the documentation and record keeping the business has put in place to pro-actively plan and manage food safety).
Each of these three elements is essential for making sure that food hygiene standards meet requirements and the food served or sold to you is safe to eat.
The rating is only about the hygiene standards of the food business - it is not about the quality of the food or about the standards of service provided to customers.
What are the different ratings?
The food hygiene rating reflects the hygiene standards found at the time the business is inspected by a food safety officer. These officers are specially trained and qualified to assess food hygiene standards.
A business is given one of these ratings:
All businesses should be able achieve the top rating of 5.
The rating given shows how well the business is doing overall but also takes account of the element or elements most in need of improving and also the level of risk to people’s health that these issues pose. This is because some businesses will do well in some areas and less well in others but each of the three elements checked is essential for making sure that food hygiene standards meet requirements and the food served or sold to you is safe to eat.
To get the top rating of ‘5’, businesses must do well in all three elements.
Those with ratings of ‘0’ are very likely to be performing poorly in all three elements and are likely to have a history of serious problems. There may, for example, be a lack of sufficient cleaning and disinfection, and the system of management in place may not be enough to ensure the food is always kept safe.
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 improvements are needed.
What can businesses do to improve if they need to?
Business owners and managers can find out more about what they need to do to achieve the highest rating by downloading a copy of the Food hygiene is getting easier to spot in Wales leaflet.
What can business do if they are unhappy with the hygiene rating issued?
The Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act introduces a series of safeguards for food businesses. These are outlined in the Business Safeguards Explained document.
The main safeguards include:
Right to reply
A ‘right to reply’ which gives the owner of the business an opportunity to explain what measures they have taken since the inspection to address the food safety matters found. The ‘right to reply’ form can be downloaded here.
Right of Appeal
If a business feels the score is unjust or did not accurately reflect the conditions found at the time of the visit they can ‘appeal’ the score awarded. The ‘appeal’ form can be downloaded here.
Requesting a re-rating inspection
If a business wishes to have their hygiene rating re-assessed they can make an application for a re-inspection. The re-rating inspection form can be downloaded here.
The cost of a re-rating inspection is currently set at £160 which must be paid before the re-rating inspection is carried out. Payment may be made by cheque written out to ‘Torfaen County Borough Council’ or by debit / credit card in person at one of our offices or over the phone (please call 01633 648009). Please do not send cash payment in the post - if you wish to pay by cash please do so in person at one of our offices.
Completed right to reply, appeal and re-rating inspection requests can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to:
Torfaen County Borough Council
Planning and Public Protection Service
Food and Health & Safety Team
Ty Blaen Torfaen
Where will the food hygiene rating be displayed?
You can look up food hygiene ratings at www.food.gov.uk/ratings.
You can search for ratings for local businesses and for businesses across Wales, and also in England and Northern Ireland. A similar scheme – the Food Hygiene Information Scheme - operates in Scotland and details can be also be found on this website.
Businesses are given a sticker showing their rating and those who receive a ‘new’ rating sticker that includes the Welsh Government logo from 28 November will have to display it in a prominent place – such as the front door or window – and at all customer entrances and provide information on their rating verbally if asked
Where can I get further information?
You can read about the scheme on the Food Standards Agency site.
Last Modified: 05/12/2018
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