Skip to main content
English Cymraeg

Food hygiene ratings for businesses

Guidance for businesses on the food hygiene rating scheme, making an appeal, publishing a response to a hygiene rating and requesting a re-inspection

Last updated: 14 February 2018
See all updates
Last updated: 14 February 2018
See all updates


Find out what the food hygiene rating scheme is

Achieving a higher rating

All businesses should be able to achieve the top rating of 5. If they do not, the food safety officer will outline the improvements that they need to make, and advice on how to achieve a higher rating.

We provide business guidance to help manage food hygiene and helpful information about food law inspections.

Published ratings

After an inspection, the rating will be uploaded by the local authority so that it is published on the Food hygiene ratings website. Ratings of '5 - very good' will be published as soon as the information is uploaded by your local authority.  Ratings of 0 – 4 will be published 3 – 5 weeks after the date of inspection to allow for an appeal to be submitted (see section on safeguards below).

If you cannot find your rating

Try searching using just the business name or with the first part of the postcode. If your business is registered at a private address (e.g. home caterers), only limited address information is published i.e. the first part of the postcode.  Searching using parts of the address that are not published will not return the record.  If you are still unable to find your rating you should contact your local authority. The FSA provides the ratings website but what is published on it is supplied by the local authority.

Businesses may give permission to the inspecting local authority for the full address to be published. This must be given in writing to the local authority.

Publishing the rating early 

For businesses in England and Wales, the business owner or manager can request that a rating is published before the end of the appeal period. This request must be made in writing to your local authority (see below for contact details). You must include:

  • details of who you are
  • the name and address of the business
  • your contact information
  • the date of the inspection
  • the rating given

The local authority will review the request and will usually publish the rating early. This facility is not available under the statutory scheme in Northern Ireland.

You can use the relevant form below, email or write to your local authority directly.



Amending food business details

If you are the owner or manager of a food business and the name or address details shown on our food hygiene ratings service are wrong, you should contact the local authority that gave you the rating and ask for the necessary changes to be made.

Find your local authority food safety team.


Businesses can request an appeal, have a ‘right to reply’ and can request a re-visit inspection from their local authority.


Before making an appeal, business owners or managers should contact the local authority food safety officer first to understand why the rating was given. If the business owner or manager still thinks that the rating is unfair or wrong, they can appeal in writing to their local authority. Details on how to do this are included in the notification of rating letter sent to the business.



Northern Ireland

Business’s right to reply

The right to reply allows the business to tell customers how the business has improved its hygiene standards or if there were unusual circumstances at the time of inspection. This response will be published online, alongside the rating, by the local authority.



Northern Ireland

Request for a re-visit inspection

The business owner/manager can request a re-visit to get a new rating when all the necessary hygiene improvements have been made. Some local authorities in England charge a fee to recover the costs of carrying out a revisit inspection.  In Wales and Northern Ireland all local authorities charge a fee to recover costs for the re-visit under their statutory schemes.



Northern Ireland

Brand standard

The Brand Standard ensures there is consistency in the implementation and operation of the scheme by local authorities. It provides local authorities in England with advice and guidance on all aspects of implementation and operation of the scheme.

The aim is to ensure that where food business establishments are rated under the scheme and where consumers see scheme branding, they can be confident that the local authority is operating the scheme as we intend.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme: Guidance on implementation and operation - the Brand Standard 

Making the most of your rating

We provide a food hygiene rating scheme toolkit for businesses which gives you ideas and inspiration on how to publicise your food hygiene rating online and offline.