Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) advice and guidance

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It's a legal requirement for most food businesses in the borough to be inspected by us, to ensure compliance with food hygiene requirements. (There are are a small number of food businesses inspected by the Food Standards Agency instead).
This is done under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS).

Our food safety team carry out the inspections and give food hygiene ratings from 5 (very good) down to 0 (urgent improvement necessary). These ratings are then published so that customers can make informed decisions. 

A good food hygiene rating can help you keep your customers.

How ratings are assessed

Your food hygiene rating is based on the level of compliance with food law in three areas:

  • how hygienically the food is handled - safe food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
  • the condition of the structure of the premises - cleanliness, repair, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how you manage food safety - so the officer can be confident standards will be maintained

At your inspection, you will need to show:

  • there are high standards of personal hygiene of staff – for example clean over-clothing (such as aprons), appropriate headwear, minimal jewellery and regular and appropriate hand-washing
  • control measures are in place to prevent cross contamination – for example, use of separate areas and equipment for handling and preparing raw and cooked foods, and correct use of appropriate cleaning chemicals
  • foods are stored at the correct temperature – for example, food stored in fridges is maintained at less than 8°C and that the chill chain is protected
  • foods are properly cooked, re-heated and cooled – for example, foods are cooked to 75°C or hotter and are checked visually for signs of thorough cooking, and foods are cooled quickly to 8°C or below and kept at a safe temperature until used

Also you will need to show that the condition and structure of your premises meets hygiene criteria. For example, there should be:

  • a suitable structure which is clean and in good repair throughout 
  • adequate natural/artificial lighting and ventilation
  • adequate proofing against pest entry
  • adequate facilities including wash basins, toilet(s) and, where necessary, sink(s)

All businesses should be able to get the top rating.  

To help get this you should:

  • look at your last food hygiene inspection report to check that you've taken all of the actions needed to meet legal requirements. If you can’t find your last report, contact us on the details at the bottom of this page and we can give you a copy
  • continue making regular routine checks to ensure hygiene standards are being maintained. Ensure staff understand and are following the rules, and promptly arrange for any repairs or maintenance of the premises or equipment 
  • ensure your documented food safety management system is kept up to date and all necessary records and checks completed and recorded 
  • at your next inspection our food safety officer will be able to give you advice

The Food Standards Agency has a range of tools on their website to help you manage food hygiene.

How to request a re-visit Click to get info

You can ask for re-visit to get a new rating if you can show evidence that you have made the improvements required by the food safety officer.

There is a charge of £278 for a re-visit.

  1. Make your payment. Follow the link under Get Stuff Done on this page to do this.
  2. Download and complete the Request a re-visit form (100KB Word doc)
  3. Return it to the email address on the form. You will need to include your payment reference

The re-visit will be carried out within three months of receipt of your application and payment. 

The food safety officer will re-assess hygiene standards and give you a new rating. Your new rating could go up, stay the same, or go down.

Your food business must have a HACCP food safety management system in place. Our food safety team will need to review it as part of your food safety inspection under the Food Hygeine Rating Scheme. 

It should:

  • identify and show an understanding of the food safety hazards (microbiological, physical and chemical) within the business
  • provide evidence that measures have been taken to effectively control these hazards and that these measures are reviewed as appropriate
  • provide evidence that all food handlers are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters in order that they produce food that is safe to eat

These are suitable for many types of food business, but not all.

The Food Standards Agency has produced a series of Safer Food Better Business (SFBB) packs, which are available for download. 

 

Research from the Food Standards Agency shows that customers are becoming more aware of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and are actively looking for hygiene rating stickers in food businesses. More than a third of local businesses say that displaying their rating sticker is having a positive impact on profits. 

To get the most out of your rating, make sure you display your sticker where customers can easily see it.

If you’ve lost, damaged or misplaced your sticker, contact us and we can provide you with a new one.

The Food Standards Agency has more tips on getting the most out of your rating.

Contact Click to get info

Environmental Health and Trading Standards

Environment and Regeneration Waltham Forest Council Sycamore House Town Hall Complex Forest Road 
Walthamstow 
E17 4SU 
020 8496 3000 
Email: environmentalhealth@walthamforest.gov.uk