How long do you have to appeal a bad food hygiene rating?

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is a scheme led by local governments in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Scotland follows a different scheme which you can read about here. The Food Hygiene Scheme is important for all food businesses to follow and adhere to. It’s a surefire way to make sure that all food premises are preparing their food in safe and sanitary conditions and in accordance with best hygiene practices – this of course protects both business and consumer. Achieving a 5-star rating should be the goal for all food premises, however, sometimes you don’t receive the rating you wanted or hoped for. Below you will find all the rating scores and what they mean, plus instructions on how to appeal a bad food hygiene rating.

All Food Rating Scores

Food Hygiene Rating 0 – This is the lowest score you can attain. It means improvement is urgent and needs to be carried out immediately. To receive this rating the organisation will have obtained more than 50 points. The more points your get, the worse the rating is when it comes to food hygiene scores.

Food Hygiene Rating 1 – Another low rating and one which will require major improvements as soon as possible. If you get between 45-50 points it will land you a rating of 1. Major changes will need to be made to change this rating

Food Hygiene Rating 2 – Receiving this rating means that improvement is needed and just like the previous ratings, staff training is more than likely required, and perhaps an overhaul when it comes to equipment and processes. A score between 35-40 results in a food hygiene rating of 2.

Food Hygiene Rating 3 – A rating of 25-30 achieves a food hygiene rating of 3. This is thought of as a satisfactory score, but probably not something you would boast about to your customers. Many customers would consider it the bare minimum threshold, while for others it might be enough to make them choose another eatery. Improvements are still recommended, but may not needed so urgently.

Food Hygiene Rating 4 – A score of 4 is achieved by attaining just 20 points in the inspection. This is a great score to have and many businesses are proud to have it. It means they take food hygiene very seriously. That said, there is still some room for improvement.

Food Hygiene Rating 5 – Last, but certainly not least – what everybody wants to see! A hygiene rating of 5. To achieve this illustrious score you need to score no more than 15 points during the EHO inspection. This is what all food-handling businesses and organisations should be aiming for.

How do I appeal after receiving a bad food hygiene rating?

Before making any appeal it is advised that you contact your local authority food safety officer to find out why that particular rating was given. If you still disagree – and feel that the rating is unfair or wrong, you can take it further by appealing in writing to your local authority.

How long do you have to appeal a bad food hygiene rating?

You have 21 days to appeal a bad food hygiene rating. Once you submit an appeal, the lead officer will review your rating and consider your appeal. They will respond in writing within 21 days with their decision.

How do I improve a bad food hygiene rating?

If you have a bad rating and want to improve it, then your food handlers need to change the way they do things. During a food hygiene rating inspection, the items below are what are being assessed by the officer:

  • handling of food
  • how food is stored
  • how food is prepared
  • cleanliness of facilities
  • how food safety is managed

As you can see, these items relate to operational processes. Fortunately, it’s very easy (and affordable) to improve the processes in your kitchen, and bring them inline with the UK’s official guidance on food safety. By simply completing this £10 course for food handlers, and putting into practice the learnings, your kitchen staff will be adhering to all of UK best practice in food hygiene. This is often the single biggest change any food business can make to dramatically boost a poor food hygiene rating.

Food hygiene best practice should come from the top down. It may not be enough to simply have cooks and servers trained in food hygiene. It’s imperative to also have a kitchen manager or supervisor who knows what good hygiene and safety is, and who knows what to do in the event that food handlers fail to comply with best practice. For this reason it is highly recommend that kitchen supervisors complete a level 3 supervisor’s course in food hygiene and safety. The supervisors course is available here.


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