How your Rating is Calculated

Your inspection

At an inspection, the food safety officer will check how well you are meeting the law on food hygiene.  Three areas will be assessed.  These are:

  • how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, cooled, stored, and what measures are taken to prevent food being contaminated with bacteria
  • the condition of the structure of the premises including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, equipment and other facilities
  • how you manage and record what you do to make sure food is safe using a system like Safer Food, Better Business

You will be given a score for each area – see below.   Food safety officers use guidance to determine how to score each of these areas.

How hygienically the food is handled 0 5 10 15 20 25
Condition of structure 0 5 10 15 20 25
How you manage and document food safety 0 5 10 20 30
Total score 0   80
Level of compliance High   Low

Your food hygiene rating

The rating given depends on how well the business does overall.  It also depends on the area(s) that need improving the most, the business may do better in some areas and less well in others.

To get the top rating, you must score no more than 5 in each of the three areas.  All businesses should be able to get the top rating. You will automatically get a new rating at each planned inspection.

Your Rating
Total score0 – 152025 – 3035 – 4045 – 50> 50
Highest permitted individual score 5 10 10 15 20 -
Rating 5 4 3 2 1 0

Improving your food hygiene rating

The Food Standards Agency has a range of tools that can help you manage food hygiene and keep your customers. These can be found at

To get the best possible rating, here’s what you can do now:

  • Look at your last food hygiene inspection report to check that you've taken all of the actions needed to ensure that you meet legal requirements. If you can’t find your last report, contact us and we will be able to give you a copy.
  • At your next inspection, if you don’t get the top rating and you have queries about the improvements you need to make to get a better rating, then the food safety officer will be able to give you advice.
  • Make sure that you and your staff continue to comply fully with all aspects of food hygiene law.
  • Ensure you have a Food Safety Management System in use to manage and record what the business does to ensure food is handled and/ or prepared safely.

Under Article 5 of EC Regulation 852/2004 Food Business Operators must demonstrate that food is being stored, handled and sold safely. This is demonstrated through the implementation and maintenance of a Food Safety Management System. The system should be based on the internationally recognised principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). A Food Safety Management system should identify:

  • What hazards may be present, e.g. physical, microbiological contamination of food
  • The points where controls must be put in place to control a hazard (critical control points) to food
  • Critical Limits i.e at what measurable point does the hazard become a hygiene or safety concern? For example minimum cooking temperatures
  • Monitoring methods to ensure the controls are in place e.g. taking a temperature reading and recording it
  • Corrective actions should things go wrong e.g. continuation of cooking or disposal of food if it had not reached the required cooking temperature
  • What regular procedures will be in place to check the controls are working properly, e.g. temperature monitoring to support visual cooking checks, probe calibration
  • Documentation to support the above points.

The depth of your Food Safety Management System will depend on the size and nature of your business.

To assist Food Business Operators of small to medium sized low risk establishments to implement a documented Food Safety management system, the Food Standards Agency has produced 'Safer Food Better Business', a pack that can be used to document your Food Safety Management system.

A pack can be obtained by downloading and printing it from the Food Standards Agency website It is important to note however that this pack is designed to assist low risk businesses.


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