Guide Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

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3. How can I get a 4 rating or higher?

To be awarded a 4 or 5 rating you must be able to demonstrate a very high standard of food safety management and be compliant with food hygiene legislation.

Scores are given for the following three elements:

  • Food hygiene and safety procedures
  • Compliance with structural requirements
  • Confidence in food safety management/control procedures

Food hygiene and safety procedures

You must demonstrate and provide evidence of:

  • safe food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
  • a good level of staff personal hygiene
  • controlling the risk of cross-contamination
  • food hygiene training for food handlers
  • temperature control

Compliance with structural requirements

You must demonstrate and provide evidence of:

  • a clean premises
  • a well maintained premises
  • pest control procedures in place
  • a good level of natural and/or artificial lighting
  • adequate ventilation (natural and/or mechanical)
  • effective waste disposal provision

The ability to control cross contamination risks is crucial to producing safe food, and you need a kitchen of sufficient size to allow a good work flow and separation of clean and dirty areas. Some premises with small or poorly laid out kitchens may need to carry out significant work to be eligible for a 5 score.

Confidence in food safety management/control procedures

You must demonstrate and provide evidence that food safety is being managed and recorded, (required by Article 5 of Regulation (EC) 852/2004.) In particular that the:

  • food safety hazards are understood, controlled, managed and reviewed
  • food safety management procedures cover all activities from the receipt of food to the point of sale
  • food handlers are adequately trained, including food safety induction training for new staff
  • suitable supervision

The documents and records needed for your food safety management system depend on the size and nature of your business. For example, a manufacturer needs a more detailed documented system than a caterer or retailer.

We can advise you on what your business needs to do to satisfy this part of the scoring system so please contact us early, before we do a routine inspection. 

We need to see a functioning hazard analysis or Safer Food Better Business system, so please ensure the paperwork is complete,  you are using it and maintaining the records and keep it available on the premises to show the officer when they visit, as this has a significant effect on the food hygiene rating the business is given.

Safer Food Better Business

For small to medium sized businesses the Food Standards Agency has designed a system to help, Safer Food Better Business. There are a number of different packs for different types of business, for example, caterers, retailers, residential homes, childminders and some ethnic food businesses.

SFBB is a free pack which contains the important procedures that most food businesses need to follow. You fill in the pack to show how you manage these procedures in your business. It also gives you many of the recording documents you need to show the inspector that you are managing the procedures on a day to day basis. SFBB is not the only food safety management system and you may choose whatever type of system you like.

You can find more information and download, or order a hard copy, of the pack from the Food Standards Agency