The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme ran by the Food Standards Agency is designed to help customers choose where to eat out or shop for food by providing information about the business’s hygiene standards.
The rating is a quick visual guide for customers to understand whether they can trust the standards of hygiene within a business and can have a positive or detrimental effect on your business’s reputation.
Breakdown of the Ratings
A premises will be rated from 0-5, with 5 being the best you can achieve. Here’s a break down of what each rating means:
5: very good
3: generally satisfactory
2: some improvement is necessary
1: major improvement is necessary
0: urgent improvement is required
Upon inspection, an officer will visit a premises to check the standards of how food is handled, stored, and prepared. The office will rate the cleanliness of the facilities and how food safety is managed.
There are three main elements which the officer will check, including:
- Food handling:
How food is stored, prepared, cooked, cooled, and reheated
- Condition of premises:
Cleanliness of building, correct facilities, lighting, ventilation, layout and any pest control
- Food safety management:
Training, systems and processes in place to ensure good hygiene is maintained
If the top rating is not given, the officer will explain the necessary actions to be taken to improve. Detailed information is included in the food safety officer’s inspection report which can be requested in a Freedom of Information request.
How to Achieve 5 Stars
It is preferred that formal training has been undertaken by staff to understand how the food hygiene system works and how to manage food safely. Placing staff on accredited training courses can be of value to ensure staff are confident in meeting this requirement.
Staff are also expected to understand personal hygiene, such as wearing clean and protective clothing and keeping hair tied back when handling food.
It is important to demonstrate that you have a process for storing food in the correct way and have a method of monitoring and updating use-by dates.
Prevention of cross-contamination
You must show that you are aware of the dangers caused by cross-contamination in food preparation. Officers will need to see specific areas for different types of food prep such as raw meat and vegetables.
It is important for businesses to keep an up-to-date record of everything that is being done regarding food storage and safety processes. This includes fridge and food temperatures, cleaning and risk assessments, as well as staff training.
There must be some form of pest control management in place to protect the business against rodents and insects. How you store waste is also taken into consideration as this can increase your chance of pests. If an Inspector finds any signs of an infestation, you will be marked down.
To gain a 5-star rating, a well-managed process and clear roles for staff to ensure all these points are constantly maintained is necessary. Training staff in food safety and awareness will guarantee that the workforce is maintaining high standards and will demonstrate confidence to the Inspector.
If you would like to get comprehensive training for your staff, book on to one of our open courses [link] starting from only £35. Or if you have a workforce that you would like us to come in and train for a reduced cost, please get in touch for a tailored training day to meet your team’s needs. Contact us on 0161 797 4962 or [email protected].