Food Hygiene Rating Scheme


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The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme scheme is designed to allow consumers to make informed choices about where they eat out or shop for food.  It does this by giving them information about the hygiene standards in food outlets at the time they are inspected to check compliance with legal requirements.  A good rating is a good advert for a business.



Food Safety ratings for Dover District »



What type of businesses are included?

The scheme generally includes businesses that supply food directly to the final consumer, for example:

  • Restaurants
  • Cafes
  • Takeaways
  • Public Houses (including wet sales only)
  • Hotels, guest houses and B&Bs
  • Supermarkets
  • Smaller retailers, eg corner shops and delicatessens
  • Schools and nurseries *
  • Residential care homes and nursing homes.
  • Wholesalers who sell to the public
  • Village halls, social clubs and churches that have wet sales or that undertake their own food preparation eg lunch clubs
  • Market stalls *
  • Mobile vendors *
  • Home caterers *

* Private addresses that do not advertise to the public will not be listed on the website; in these cases the name of the food business will appear only.

Register a food business »

What businesses are NOT included?

Businesses that do not supply food directly to the consumer are excluded from the scheme. This includes primary producers, manufacturers and packers, importers and exporters, distributors and transporters.

Other ‘low risk’ businesses, where the primary activity is not food related may be exempt from the scheme.

These may include:

  • Newsagents that only sell pre-packed confectionery
  • Visitor centres selling tins of biscuits or other wrapped low risk food
  • Leisure Centres with vending machines only
  • Chemist shops selling pre-wrapped confectionery or health foods only
  • Village halls that only hire to others for catering purposes, or serve hot drinks and biscuits only.
  • Childminders and other establishments providing care in a home setting.

Exempt businesses will not receive a hygiene rating.

However the business name will be displayed on the FSA’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme website indicating that the business is exempt from the scheme.

How does the rating scheme work?

Each food business is given a risk rating when it is inspected by a Food Safety Officer to check for compliance with food hygiene legislation.

At the inspection, the officer will check:

  • How hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored.
  • The condition of the structure and equipment– the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities.
  • How the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.

The risk rating is then used to provide one of six possible hygiene ratings for the business. At the bottom of the scale is ‘0’ – this means urgent improvement is required. At the top of the scale is ‘5’ – this means the hygiene standards are very good. The officer will explain to the person who owns or manages the business what improvements need to be made and what action they can take to improve their hygiene rating.


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


New businesses and businesses that have not yet received an inspection will be listed as ‘Awaiting Inspection’ on the FSA’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme website and will receive a window sticker and certificate to indicate this.

Appealing your Rating

If you believe that the food hygiene rating awarded is unjust and you are able to demonstrate compliance with the legislation you should first contact the food safety officer that inspected the premises to discuss the reasons for the rating. If after discussion with the inspecting officer you still thinks that the rating is wrong you can appeal. The appeal must be submitted WITHIN 21 DAYS of being notified of your rating (this includes weekends and bank holidays).

Appeal against your Food Hygiene Rating »

Unless a ‘5’ rating has been given, ratings are not published until the appeal period has expired and any appeal has been considered.

Right to reply

You also have a ‘Right to Reply’, to enable you to give an explanation, if it is felt necessary, of subsequent actions that have been taken to rectify non-compliances or mitigation for the circumstances at the time of the intervention.

Right to reply form »


Note:  This form should not be used to complain or criticise the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme or the inspecting officer.  We may edit text before publication in order to remove any potentially offensive, defamatory language or clearly inaccurate or irrelevant remarks.

Request a re-visit

The food business operator of an establishment which received a food hygiene rating between 0 – 4 at the last inspection can request a re-rating inspection at any time following the last inspection. There is a charge of £202.00 per request, which must be submitted at the same time as the application. 

If you wish to request a re-rating inspection, please complete the application via the button below. You must show what you have done to meet the requirements detailed on the report left at your business following the last inspection. It will help if you are also able to provide documents and/or photographs to support what you have said. 

If the changes you have made are considered to be sufficient, then a new inspection of your full food business operation will be undertaken. A visit will be made within a maximum of three months after your request is received. 

You will not be told when the inspection will take place. During the inspection the officer will do a full check – they will look at everything again, not only the points raised before. At the end of the inspection, they will give you a new food hygiene rating based on the level of compliance identified at the re-rating inspection. Please note that your rating may increase, decrease, or stay the same. 

Request a re-visit »



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