Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
Helping you to choose where you eat and buy food in Fenland.
Fenland District Council runs the national Food Hygiene Rating scheme in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the government department for food safety.
The Council is responsible for carrying out inspections of food businesses to check they meet the requirements of food hygiene law. During a food safety inspection, a Food Safety officer will check:
- how hygienically the food is handled including how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
- the condition of the structure of the buildings including the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
- how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe
The frequency of inspection depends on the risk to other people's health, with 'higher-risk' businesses such as restaurants and takeaways being checked more frequently.
You might see a rating sticker (pictured below) and a certificate displayed at places who have been inspected. These also show when the hygiene standards were inspected by the Council. If you don't see a rating displayed, you can ask a member of staff if the business is in the scheme and what the rating was given at the last inspection.
Who is rated by the scheme?
Ratings are given to places such as:
- restaurants, takeaways, cafes, sandwich shops, pubs and hotels
- schools, hospitals and residential care homes
- supermarkets, bakeries and delicatessens
Smaller businesses that are a low risk to people's health (such as a newsagents selling sweets) are not included on the scheme. Child minders and businesses that offer caring services at home are also excluded, but can ask to receive a food hygiene rating if they wish.
How does the rating system work?
At the time of inspection, the hygiene standards are then rated on a scale which shows how well the business does overall. The scale ranges from 0 (urgent improvement required) up to:
- Major improvement necessary
- Improvement necessary
- Generally satisfactory
- Very good
The Council will explain to the person who owns or manages the business what improvements may need to be made, and what action they can take to improve their hygiene rating. A new rating is given each time the business is inspected by the council.
Businesses do not have to display their ratings. However, putting a hygiene rating on show is a good advertisement for businesses that meet the requirements of food hygiene law.
New businesses, or businesses with a new owner, will be given an 'awaiting inspection' sticker that it can display until the Council has inspected the business.
If the Council finds hygiene standards to be very poor with an imminent risk to health (meaning food is not safe to eat), they will take action to protect its customers. This could mean closing part of the business and food production down until improvements are made.
Businesses rated '0' or '1' must make urgent or major improvements to their hygiene standards. The Council will give advice and guidance, as well as enforcement measures, to make sure this happens. Business advice: how to improve or appeal your rating.