Food hygiene rating system

The food hygiene rating scheme gives businesses a mark out of five for their food hygiene practices. It gives you confidence in choosing safe places to eat out or shop for food.

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.

We routinely visit food businesses throughout the district, checking that the food they supply is safe to eat. We inspect all fixed food premises, including markets, to a national standard every six months to three years, depending on their risk.

You can check the food hygiene rating of a business on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website.

What is the food hygiene rating scheme?

The scheme provides you with information about the hygiene standards found at a food premises at the time of their last spot-check inspection.

This is a national scheme that’s now widespread throughout most of England and all of Wales and Northern Ireland. It helps to ensure that businesses are treated fairly and consistently with their competitors.

Locally, the scheme is run by Newark and Sherwood District Council, in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the central government department with responsibility for food safety.

Manufacturers and some other low risk activities are not included in the scheme.

What are the different ratings?

A business is given one of six ratings:

            Five - very good

            Four - good

            Three - generally satisfactory

            Two - improvement necessary

            One - major improvement necessary

            Zero - Urgent improvement necessary

All businesses should be able achieve the top rating of five. 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. Businesses can then update the Council with changes made by completing the online right to reply form or request a revisit.

If you own or manage a food business, you can find out more details about what you need to do to achieve the highest rating in our good food hygiene guidance for businesses guide (PDF File, 78kb). You can also get useful advice on food inspections and enforcement on the FSA website.

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 rating is based on a snapshot of 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.

Businesses are assessed on:

  • food handling – safe food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
  • the condition of the premises – cleanliness, repair, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how food safety is managed and documented

Publishing the food hygiene rating

You can look up food hygiene ratings on the FSA website. You can search for ratings for local businesses and anywhere else the scheme is being operated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The premises given a rating of five will appear live on the site within 21 days of our visit. Those who don't achieve the top rating are given an additional 21 days' notice to appeal against a business rating using our online form. This means some ratings may not appear on the FSA site immediately.

Businesses are given a window sticker showing their rating and are encouraged to display this at their premises in a place where customers can easily see it when they visit. 

Find out more about the scheme on the FSA frequently asked questions website.

How to make a food complaint or report a food premise

Members of the public can make a complaint or report a premise for suspected food poisoning, poor food and safety hygiene practices, misleading or incorrect food product labelling or a food crime.

Find out more information on how to make a food complaint on our website.

Can my business opt-in to the scheme?

Some businesses are not normally included in the scheme. The option to opt-in was removed in July 2014. Businesses that have already opted in will remain so until the time of their next inspection, partial inspection or audit so long as their rating is valid.

This ensures consistency with the statutory FHRS scheme operating in Wales and it means that all businesses in these categories are on a level playing field in all three countries operating the scheme.

Food businesses attending events

All food businesses attending events may be subject to food safety and hygiene inspections. To minimise disturbance to traders and to make the best use of the Council's resources, pre-event planning is essential. All food traders should notify the Council using the pre-event questionnaire at least 14 days before the event to allow for checks to be completed.

How can I report a premise?

Members of the public can report a food problem including suspected food poisoning, a food product, poor food safety and hygiene practices, product labelling and a food crime. More information on how to make a complaint can be found on our website.

Alternatively, if you have any questions you can get in touch with us.