What is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme?

The scheme is being run by Newark and Sherwood District Council, in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (the central Government Department with responsibility for food safety).

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is there to help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving information about the hygiene standards found in food premises at the food premises at the time of their last spot-check inspection. To find out more about the scheme visit the Food Standards Agency Frequently Asked Questions webpage

Food hygiene rating strip bannerWhy is the scheme important?

Telling consumers about hygiene standards in food outlets gives them greater choice.  It also recognises those businesses with the highest standards and encourages others to improve. The overall aim is to reduce the number of cases of food poisoning which currently affects about one million people in the UK every year. 

Why is there a national food hygiene rating scheme?

Having a national scheme in place helps residents and visitors to make informed choices about where to eat out or shop for food not just within Newark and Sherwood but also further afield. The scheme is now widespread throughout most of England and all of Wales and Northern Ireland. It also helps to ensure that businesses are treated fairly and consistently with local competitors and with their competitors more widely.

Which businesses are given a rating?

Restaurants, takeaways, cafés, sandwich shops, pubs, hotels, supermarkets and other retail food outlets, as well as other businesses where consumers can eat or buy food, will be given a hygiene rating as part of the scheme.

Can I opt-in to the scheme?

Some businesses are not normally included in the scheme. The option to opt-in was removed in July 2014. Businesses that have already opted–in will remain so until the time of their next inspection, partial inspection or audit so long as their rating is valid.

This ensures consistency with the statutory FHRS scheme operating in Wales and it means that all businesses in these categories are on a level playing field in all three countries operating the scheme.

How is the rating calculated?

Each business is given a rating following an inspection by a food safety officer.  This is based on how well the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law at that time. In particular:

  • how hygienically the food is handled – safe food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
  • the condition of the structure of the premises – cleanliness, repair, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how food safety is managed and documented – using a system such as Safer food, better business.

The rating reflects the conditions found at the time of the last inspection and does not reflect the quality of food or the standards of service the business provides.

What are the different ratings?

A business is given one of these six ratings:

  • Five - very good
  • Four - good
  • Three - generally satisfactory
  • Two - improvement necessary
  • One - major improvement necessary
  • Zero - Urgent improvement necessary

All businesses should be able achieve the top rating of 5. Where a business does not achieve the top rating, the food safety officer will explain to the person that owns or manages the business what improvements are needed. 

Business owners and managers can find out more about what they need to do to achieve the highest rating here through our guidance for businesses (PDF File, 78kb).

The premises given a '5' rating will appear live on the site within 14 days of the visit. Those who don't are given an additional 14 days' notice to appeal so some ratings may not appear on the FSA site immediately. More data will follow after businesses have had chance to comment on the new ratings.

You can look up food hygiene ratings at food.gov.uk/ratings. You can search for ratings for local businesses and anywhere else the scheme is being operated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Businesses are also given a window sticker showing their rating and are encouraged to display this at their premises in a place where customers can easily see them when they visit.  Display is voluntary at the moment.
Want to find out more about the scheme? Visit the Food Standards Agency Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

Food alerts

This is the Food Standards Agency's way of letting consumers and local authorities know about problems associated with food and, in some cases, provide details of specific action to be taken. They are often issued in conjunction with a product withdrawal or recall by a manufacturer, retailer or distributor.

Our officers are linked directly to the alert system and can respond to warnings for action as they arise. It is often the actions of a public spirited complainant that initially raises the alarm over the condition of food.

Food sampling

Our food sampling programme aims to ensure that food for sale or produced throughout Newark and Sherwood meets legal standards for safety and hygiene. Generally we target high risk foods in response to food poisoning outbreaks or incidences of food contamination. Samples will only be taken by our officers authorised to carry out such work under the Food Safety Act 1990.

Food Standards

Responsibility for the enforcement of food legislation in Nottinghamshire lies with the council’s Environmental Health team who ensure that food businesses prepare and sell food hygienically. Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards section is responsible for permitted ingredients, food labelling and quality. Both authorities work together to ensure that all food premises comply with the law.

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