Written by Keith Mumford
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) helps you choose where to eat by telling you how important the business regards their food hygiene standards. The scheme is run by local authorities (England, Wales & Northern Ireland) and applies to restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels, supermarkets etc.
The FHRS is designed to encourage food businesses to improve their hygiene standards. The aim is to reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses. Each food premises is scored during an inspection and food safety officers will give the business a mark from 0-5. The top mark is 5. The food safety officer checks how well the business is meeting the law by looking at:
- 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
At the end of the inspection, the business is given one of the six ratings from 0-5.
A national register is kept by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), of all the food premises that have been rated. The register can be found online www.food.gov.uk/ratings. Have a go at checking out a food business!
There are real benefits, such as attracting more custom, for a food business to achieve the top food hygiene rating. The first way is for the business to display their 5 rating sticker for example in a window or on a door. Research (FSA) shows that people are now viewing food ratings before using food premises. Menus, websites, flyers and newspaper ads are great ways of advertising good standards of hygiene by use of the rating. The FSA also provides a toolkit for businesses that want to get the best out of their food hygiene rating. The toolkit includes providing videos, imagery and examples of web banners. https://www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/caterers/hygieneratings/toolkit
An increasing range of taught courses are available from EHT&C, including How to improve your food hygiene rating, along with the popular Level 2 & 3 Food Safety courses, and Allergen awareness.