The National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme tells consumers about the hygiene standards of food premises to help them choose where to eat or shop.

Under the scheme food outlets, such as restaurants, takeaways and pubs, are inspected by our Environmental Health Officers to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements.

The hygiene standards found at these inspections are rated on a scale ranging from 0 (urgent improvement necessary) to 5 (very good) following an unannounced food hygiene inspection.

The rating reflects the standards of food hygiene found on the date of inspection (it is not a guide to food quality).

Inspections

During inspections, the officer checks how well the business is meeting the law by looking at all of the following factors:

  • 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
  • food safety training

All ratings will be sent to the food business operator within 14 days of inspection.

What the ratings mean

0 - Urgent improvement necessary
1 - Major improvement necessary
2 - Improvement necessary
3 - Generally satisfactory
4 - Good
5 - Very good

If the top rating is not given, the officer will explain to the business what improvements are needed to achieve the top rating of '5'. Any business should be able to reach this top rating.

Do businesses have to display the rating?

Yes - businesses in Wales are legally required to display their ratings in a prominent place (such as the front door, entrance or window of the business). All businesses in Wales must provide information on their rating verbally if requested in person or over the phone.

The scheme applies to businesses who sell to businesses, including food manufacturers and wholesalers.

Takeaways must include a bilingual statement on menu leaflets/ flyers, telling consumers how to find details of the rating on the Food Standards Agency website.

Appeals

Appeals can be made to our Lead Officer for Food within 21 days from notification of the rating (this includes bank holidays and weekends). If you appeal within this time the Food Standards Agency website will show that your food hygiene rating is ‘awaiting publication’.

Appeals will be determined within 7 days after the appeal was lodged and the rating will then be published on the Food Standards Agency website.

How to appeal

You will need to complete the standard appeals form, which can be found on the Food Standards Agency website (within the safeguards information for Wales).

The completed form should be sent to our Lead Officer for Food (the contact details for this officer are given when you are notified about your rating).

Changing the rating

If all the work required by the inspecting officer has been completed following the initial inspection, there is a right to request a visit to re-rate the business.

Only one request for a re-rating can be made any time after the initial routine inspection.

No action will be taken for three months following the initial inspection and the officer has a further three months after this period to revisit. This visit will be unannounced.

A new rating may be given based on the level of compliance found during the re-visit. The rating could go up or down, or remain the same.

How to request a re-visit inspection

You will need to complete the request a re-visit form for Wales, which can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.

The completed form should be sent to our Lead Officer for Food (the contact details for this officer are given when you are notified about your rating).

Right to reply

‘Right to reply’ means that the food business operator may make comments on the rating given.  This is an opportunity to inform customers of actions taken to improve hygiene standards, or to explain if there were unusual circumstances at the time of inspection.

These comments are then displayed on the Food Standards website alongside the rating (unless the reply contains offensive, defamatory, clearly inaccurate or irrelevant remarks).

How to submit ‘right to reply’ comments

You will need to complete the right to reply form for Wales, which can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.

The completed form should be sent to our Lead Officer for Food (the contact details for this officer are given when you are notified about your rating).

Further information

The Food Standards Agency provides information for consumers and businesses about the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

Contact our Food Safety Team