Guide Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

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4. Checklist for businesses to improve your score

This check list will help you know what points will be considered during an inspection and develop an action plan to ensure you get the best rating you reasonably can when your business is visited.

You should be able to answer yes to each of these questions:

  1.  We have a food safety management system, such as Safer Food Better Business, to ensure the production of safe food.
  2. The food safety management system documents our safe methods to control the food safety hazards (bacterial, chemical or physical contamination) in our business for
    • Prevention of cross-contamination
    • Cleaning and disinfection
    • Cooking safely
    • Chilling


  1. We carry out regular checks to make sure that our controls are working
  2. We record these checks in the Safer Food Better Business diary
  3. We regularly review the safe methods of working

Hygiene training

  1. Our staff have received food hygiene training and/or adequate instruction and supervision and we have certificates or records to prove this
  2. Our staff understand our food safety management system and follow the good food handling practices set out in its safe methods and procedures


  1. All rooms where food and drink is stored or prepared are clean
  2. All food-contact surfaces are cleaned and disinfected/sanitised using a food-grade sanitizer
  3. All hand-contact surfaces such as taps, bin lids, and fridge doors are sanitised daily
  4. Fridges are cleaned out regularly
  5. Fridge door seals are free of mould
  6. Any re-usable cloths are laundered or are cleaned and disinfected after use
  7. Wash basins are used only for hand washing
  8. Wash basins have hot and cold (or warm) running water, soap and hygienic means of drying hands such as paper towels
  9. We have a cleaning schedule that includes items that require only occasional cleaning such as behind equipment and extractor flues

Cross contamination

  1. Our staff have been instructed and know how and when to wash their hands properly
  2. Our staff wear clean work clothing and/or over clothing
  3. Our staff know that if they have diarrhoea and/or vomiting they must not return to work until 48 hours after symptoms cease
  4. We have an ample supply of clean cloths in the kitchen
  5. We store raw and ready to eat foods separately and keep them covered
  6. We use separate equipment and surfaces for preparing raw and ready to eat foods
  7. Our premises is proofed against access by pests such as rodents and flies
  8. We regularly check for signs of pests, and there are no evidence of pests in our premises
  9. Our electric fly killer (if present) has the tubes changed every six months, including each spring
  10. The design and construction of our premises meets legal requirements. The floors, walls and ceilings are in good repair, easy to clean and kept clean


  1. Our fridges keep food at less than 8°C (ideally between 0°C and 5°C)
  2. All foods with a use by date are kept refrigerated
  3. All foods with 'keep refrigerated’ on the label are refrigerated for example, sauces
  4. There are no foods stored beyond their use by date
  5. All prepared food is labelled with a use by/throw by system for example, day dots
  6. All fridge temperatures are checked at least once a day
  7. Cooked foods for storage are chilled quickly, within 90 minutes of cooking
  8. We have safe methods for defrosting


  1. We have checks for ensuring all foods are thoroughly cooked
  2. Cooked rice is not left at room temperature
  3. Food being held hot is kept above 63°C

Management and records: opening checks

  1. Fridges, chilled display equipment and freezers are keeping food at a safe temperature
  2. All equipment such as ovens are working properly
  3. Staff are fit for work and wearing clean work clothes
  4. Food preparation areas are clean and ready for work
  5. Wash basins are clean and fully equipped

Management and records: closing checks

  1. No food is left out
  2. Food past its use by date has been thrown away
  3. Dirty cloths have been removed for cleaning and replaced with clean ones
  4. Waste has been removed and new bags put into bins

If you answered ‘no’ to any question, you need to show you are taking action to correct this failing.

It would be sensible to write down what you're not doing and what action you will be taking to correct this, who will be doing it and when you expect it to be finished.

That way, if an inspector calls before you have done the work, you can show you understood something was wrong and you are taking action to correct it. This will give the inspector confidence that you are a responsible business owner trying to get things right when you become aware they are wrong.

This check list is based on the structure of the Safer Food Better Business pack. It is not comprehensive and there are likely to be additional things in the pack relevant to your business.