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Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

Helping you to choose where you eat and buy food in Fenland

We run the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

We are responsible for carrying out inspections of food businesses to check they meet the requirements of food hygiene law. During a food safety inspection, we check:

  • how hygienically food is handled. We look at how food is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
  • the condition of the structure of the building. This includes its cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe

How often we inspect depends on the risk to other people's health. 'Higher-risk' businesses (such as restaurants and takeaways) are checked more often.

Checking local Food Hygiene Ratings

You may see a rating sticker and a certificate displayed at places who have been inspected. If you don't see a rating, you can ask a member of staff if the business is in the scheme and what their last rating was. 

Businesses don't have to display their ratings. However, doing so is a good way for businesses to show they meet the requirements of food hygiene law. 

New businesses, or businesses with a new owner, will be given an 'awaiting inspection' sticker for display until we have inspected them. 

Places that are 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

Small businesses that are a low risk to people's health (e.g a newsagents selling sweets) aren't included in the scheme. Child minders and businesses offering catering services at home are excluded, but can ask to receive a food hygiene rating.

How the rating system works

At the time of inspection, hygiene standards are rated on a scale which shows how well the business does overall. The scale ranges from 0 to 5:

  • 0 - urgent improvement required
  • 1 - major improvement necessary
  • 2 - improvement necessary
  • 3 - generally satisfactory
  • 4 - good
  • 5 - very good

We will explain to the business owner or manager any improvements that may need to be made. A new rating is given each time we inspect the business.

Improving ratings

If we find hygiene standards to be very poor with an immediate risk to health (i.e food is unsafe to eat), we will take action to protect customers. We may need to close down the business until improvements are made.

Businesses rated 0 or 1 must make urgent or major improvements to their hygiene standards. We will give advice, as well as undertaking enforcement measures, to make sure this happens.

View advice for businesses.

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