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Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

We operate the food hygiene rating scheme which is run by the Food Standards Agency. Under the scheme all food business within our area (unless they are exempt from the scheme) who prepare, serve or sell food to the public will receive a hygiene rating.

The rating is based upon three criteria – hygiene, structure and how the business is doing in complying with legal food safety requirements.

A score of 5 (very good) is the highest rating and 0 (urgent improvement necessary) is the lowest.

Food safety officers need to ensure that food in our area area is safe and fit to eat. We have a proactive programme of mainly unannounced food hygiene visits to food premises which include manufacturers, shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs, canteens, take-aways, home-caterers and mobile food vans.

Inspections are prioritised according to the degree of risk, which ensures that higher risk premises are visited more often than those in lower risk categories.

During an inspection we ensure that you have identified food safety risks and that there are adequate controls in place to prevent any problems. We will also look at the food hygiene training to ensure that it is suitable, and will check that the condition of the premises and equipment is satisfactory.

Where practices or conditions are not satisfactory we will try to resolve the situation by informal means, but where poor conditions persist or where there is a risk to public health, it may be necessary to take formal action. This will always be explained clearly to you and will be in line with our enforcement policies which are available upon request.

After every routine inspection your premises will be given a new rating under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

There are a number of safeguards built into the scheme including:

  • an appeal process
  • opportunity to request a re-score
  • a right to reply

For more information on the appeals process see the Food Standards Agency website.

If you need advice on how the scheme works for you please see the FSA page on food law inspections.

You can also email us [email protected] or call 0300 126 7000, Option 3.

You also have the opportunity to ask for a re-score visit. This is chargeable service, the fee of £283.25 is exempt from VAT.

All Food Business Operators (FBOs) have a ‘Right to Reply’ to comment on their rating.

The purpose is to provide FBOs with an opportunity to explain to potential customers any actions that they have taken to improve hygiene standards after a food hygiene rating has been given or to say if there were particular circumstances at the time of the inspection that might have affected the rating.

The ‘Right to Reply’ is intended to apply to those businesses that do not achieve the top rating.

FBO’s comment will be published on the Food Standards Agency website together with the business’s rating.

The ‘Right to Reply’ comments should be made in writing and submitted to us by email to [email protected] or by post to:

Health and Environmental Protection
West Northamptonshire Council
The Forum
Moat Lane
Towcester
NN12 6AD

The text may be edited before being published a food.gov.uk in order to remove any offensive, defamatory, clearly inaccurate or irrelevant remarks.

If the text is edited, we will provide a copy of the revised text to the FBO and provide an opportunity to comment on this prior to its publication.

Last updated 31 March 2022