After routine food inspections and audits (interventions) each food business is given a ‘hygiene rating’, which shows how closely the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law.
The food hygiene ratings that officers can award are:
0 - Urgent improvement necessary
1 - Major improvement necessary
2 - Improvement necessary
3 - Generally satisfactory
4 - Good
5 - Very good
The risk rating that is given to the business after an inspection is linked to a rating tier in the Scheme. This will appear on the Food Standards Agency website. The public will be able check and compare hygiene ratings before deciding where to eat or shop.
What should I do if I want to appeal my food hygiene rating?
Following a hygiene inspection of your premises by a food safety officer from your local authority you will be told in writing - either at the time or within 14 days (this includes weekends and public holidays) - what your food hygiene rating is.
If you think that the rating is wrong or unfair - in other words it does not reflect the hygiene standards at the time of inspection - you can appeal against this.
It is a good idea first of all to speak informally to the food safety officer that undertook the inspection of your premises - you will be given the contact details for this officer when you are notified about your rating. This will help you to understand how your rating was worked out and to see if you can resolve the matter without having to appeal.
Following that, if you still think the rating given is wrong or unfair, you can lodge an appeal. To do this, you should complete the standard appeal form which is available from the Food Standards Agency website and send this to your local authority's lead officer for food - again you will be given the contact details for this officer when you are notified about your rating.
How long do I have to appeal?
You must lodge your appeal in writing (you can send an email) within 14 days (this includes weekends and public holidays) of being notified of your food hygiene rating - you will be told the deadline for appealing when you are notified about your rating.
If you do not appeal within this time, your local authority will publish your food hygiene rating online on the Food Standards Agency website.
What happens next and when will I know the result?
If you lodge an appeal, ratings.food.gov.uk will show that your food hygiene rating is 'awaiting publication'.
The lead officer for food or his/her deputy will review your case (in some circumstances a further visit to your premises may be required) and you will be notified of the result within a maximum of seven days from the date that the appeal was lodged and your hygiene rating will then be published online.
How to request a review of your rating?
If you would like to arrange a re-visit for your hygiene rating to be re-assessed you will need to complete a request for re-visit form.
Mobile phone app
There is a new free mobile app which gives you a Food Hygiene Rating Score for food businesses across the district, including restaurants, takeaways and supermarkets.
Food Hygiene Ratings are awarded by East Northamptonshire Council. You can search ratings online, download the app or look for the window stickers displayed at the premises.
To download the free app to your android or smart phone, search your app store on your phone under 'food standards agency' and download the hygiene ratings app or use the app download at the Food Standards Agency Ratings site.