What does a 1 star food hygiene rating mean?

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is put in place by the government in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Scotland follows a different, yet similar scheme which you can read about here. The Food Hygiene Scheme is very important, it’s a way to make sure that all food premises are preparing their products in sanitary, and safe conditions. This ultimately protects the food business and its customers.

A Food Hygiene Rating Score of 1

This is a very low rating. It means major improvement is needed. This improvement will normally involve changing the way kitchen staff manage food and carry out food preparation. A score of 45-50 points will warrant a rating of 1. The more points a business gets, the worse their food hygiene rating is.

This rating typically means that there are many breaches of food hygiene regulations and codes of best practice. More often than not, a lack of training within the business is a key component in this low rating.

Can I Appeal a Food Hygiene Rating of 1?

Yes. Once you receive your food hygiene rating, you have 14 days to appeal it. It’s best to first speak to the officer who issued the rating to understand the reasoning behind the rating, and write your appeal accordingly.

How can I increase my 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 mainly 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 from the course, your staff will be adhering to all of UK best practice guidance around 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 within your business. It may not be enough to simply have cooks and servers trained in food hygiene. Maintaining high hygiene standards is much more effective when the kitchen manager or supervisor is well versed in good food hygiene and safety, and 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.