The scheme is run by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local councils to give the public at-a-glance information about hygiene standards in food businesses found during planned inspections.
Under the scheme, each food outlet may display rating information on their door or window but, legally, businesses don't have to display their rating in England.
Rating information is available from the national website.
Most food businesses that supply food directly to the consumer are included in the scheme, including:
- Care homes
Some businesses aren't included, for example childminders and those businesses that are classed as very low risk, such as places selling only pre-packed confectionery. Manufacturers that don't sell directly to the public are also exempt.
How businesses are rated
After the inspection, an overall rating, from zero (the worst) to five (the best) is awarded, based on food hygiene and safety standards in three areas:
- Compliance with food hygiene and safety procedures
- Compliance with structural requirements
- Confidence in management control procedures
To make sure that the scheme is fair to businesses, it's been designed to include a number of safeguards:
- An appeal procedure
- A "right to reply"
- An opportunity to ask for a re-visit when improvements have been made to be reassessed for a new rating
The scheme is not an endorsement of current standards but merely reflects the score awarded at the time of inspection, and adheres to the FSA brand standard.
The rating does not reflect the quality of food or the standard of service provided to customers.
Find out more about the scheme from the FSA website