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Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS)


Following the latest government and Food Standards Agency advice on social distancing, our food safety officers are not currently conducting routine food hygiene inspections or Food Hygiene Rating Scheme requests for re-rating inspections under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. Some food business operations have been required to close to safeguard the public.

Before you start  or resume trading as a food business,  please check for up to date advice on the current situation, using our Business Support pages.  GOV.UK have produced some guidance 'Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do'.

The National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) was launched in Wiltshire on 1 April 2012. Customers are now better informed when eating out in Wiltshire. 

The national scheme developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities provides information on food hygiene standards to help customers choose where to eat out or shop.

Food hygiene ratings are determined at routine inspections by food safety officers. The hygiene standards found at these inspections are rated on a scale ranging from zero at the bottom (which means 'urgent improvement necessary') to a top rating of five ('very good'). 

These ratings are available for anyone to view on the Food Standards Agency - Food Hygiene Rating website.

Following an inspection, food businesses are provided with a sticker showing their rating. There are no legal requirements to display the sticker at the entrance to the premises, but businesses are encouraged to do so as this will mean customers can easily see them and decide where to eat.


Food hygiene ratings are determined during routine inspections by officers from Wiltshire Council's Public Protection Services. Ratings range from zero ('Urgent improvement necessary') to five ('Very good') and allow members of the public to make informed decisions about where they eat out or shop for food, thus encouraging businesses to improve their hygiene standards where necessary.

The following guidance explains how the ratings are calculated and gives information on those safeguards in place to ensure fairness to businesses.

Inspecting officers use a Food Standards Agency scoring scheme to rate businesses dependent upon their degree of compliance with hygiene legislation. There are three elements to this score, relating to:

  • Food hygiene procedures
  • Structure and cleanliness
  • Confidence in management

The scores for these three elements are explained in the following 3 tables:


Level of compliance for food hygiene (including food handling practices, procedures and temperature control); and structure (including cleanliness, layout, condition of structure, lighting, ventilation, facilities etc) of the premises. These are  scored separately and these scores are combined with the Confidence in Management score in Table 2 to give an overall score,  which is converted to a Rating – see Table 3.

Compliance Score

Almost total non-compliance with statutory obligations, e.g. Food Hygiene: Very poor food hygiene practices. Serious food contamination risks. Inadequate temperature control. Structure: Evidence of pest infestation. Serious structural disrepair. Very poor cleanliness.


General failure to satisfy statutory obligations - standards generally low, e.g. Food Hygiene: Poor standard of hygienic food handling. Inadequate temperature control. Cross contamination identified. Structure: Evidence of pest infestation. Structural disrepair and poor cleanliness.


Some major non-compliance with statutory obligations - more work required to prevent fall in standards.  e.g. Food Hygiene: Cross contamination identified. Non-compliance with requirements for safe food preparation, handling, cooking etc. Structure: Significant improvements required in structure and cleaning (e.g. damaged/dirty work surfaces). Possible evidence of pest activity.


Some non-compliance with statutory obligations and industry codes of recommended practice* that are not considered significant in terms of risk (but may become significant if not addressed). Standards are being maintained or improved. , e.g. Food Hygiene: Potential risk of cross contamination identified. Some lapses in food hygiene and safety procedures (e.g. fridge temperature too high), but generally satisfactory. Structure: Generally satisfactory structure and cleaning, but with occasional lapses. Some cleaning or repairs required. Possible evidence of pest activity.


High standard of compliance with statutory obligations and industry codes of recommended practice* with only minor contraventions.


High standard of compliance with statutory obligations and industry codes of recommended practice*; conforms to accepted good practices in the trade. 


Confidence in management/control procedures (including the 'track record' of the company, management attitude towards hygiene and food safety, hygiene and food safety technical knowledge and documented procedures based on HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) principles).

Compliance Score

Poor track record of compliance.
Little or no food safety knowledge and understanding.
Little or no appreciation of hazards, risks or quality control.
No food safety management procedures.
Does not recognise or accept the need for food safety and hygiene controls.


Significantly varying record of compliance.
Insufficient food safety knowledge and understanding.
Poor appreciation of hazards and control measures.
No food safety management procedures or unsatisfactory progress in terms of developing, documenting and implementing food safety management procedures, commensurate with type of business, since the last intervention rating.
Some reluctance in recognising or accepting the need for food safety and hygiene control procedures.


Satisfactory record of compliance. Generally satisfactory food safety controls in place. All significant food safety hazards understood and controls in place. Some gaps/deficiencies in food safety management records OR making satisfactory progress towards a documented food safety management system. Staff generally suitably trained and/or supervised.


Reasonable record of compliance. Food safety management/procedures in place. Hazards properly understood, controlled and managed. Food safety management records generally adequate and up to date. Staff suitably supervised and/or trained.


Good record of compliance. Food safety management procedures in place. Hazards properly understood, controlled and managed. Up to date and appropriate food safety management records. All staff suitably supervised and/or trained. 


So, for example, a premises scoring 10 for hygiene compliance, 15 for structural compliance and 10 for confidence in management/control procedures, has a total score of 35. The score of 35 is then used to obtain the food hygiene rating score for the food business, using the table below:

Compliance Scores
0 - 15
25 - 30
35 - 40
45 - 50

Additional Scoring Factor

No score >5
No score >10
No score >10
No score >15
No score >20

Food Hygiene Rating

Very good
Improvement necessary
Major improvement necessary
Urgent improvement necessary

In this example, a score of 35 falls into the fourth tier meaning the food business would be awarded a food hygiene rating of 2 ("Improvement necessary").

A premises with a high levels of compliance might score 0 for hygiene, 0 for structure and 0 for confidence in management - a total of 0 which would equate (using the table above) to a food hygiene rating of 5 ("Very good")

Essentially, the lower the total compliance score for hygiene + structure + confidence in management, the higher the food hygiene rating score.


At the end of the inspection, the officer will tell the food business operator their hygiene rating and explain why the establishment was rated as it was. If there is any disagreement with the score given, the food business operator should initially discuss the matter with the inspecting officer. If an agreement cannot be reached, the food business operator has a right of appeal (see below) and this will delay publication of the rating until the appeal is determined.

Otherwise, the inspecting officer will issue a window sticker to display in a prominent position on the premises. The rating will also be published on the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme website.

New food businesses that are awaiting inspection will appear as 'awaiting inspection' until such time that they receive a food hygiene inspection and their rating is determined.


Following an inspection there is a 21 day period during which food business operators can appeal to Wiltshire Council's Public Protection Manager for food and safety if they feel that the inspecting officer has awarded them a rating which they feel is unjust, i.e. they feel that the rating does not reflect the hygiene standards and management controls found at the establishment at the time of the inspection.

The Public Protection Manager for food and safety, or a nominated deputy, will respond to the appeal within 21 days. No food hygiene rating will be displayed at the establishment until the appeal has been determined.

Further information can be found on the Food Standards Agency website 


If you, as the  food business operator, have made improvements to hygiene standards that were highlighted in your  inspection report, you may request a re-rating visit with a view to securing a new and higher food hygiene rating. This is not the same as a planned revisit which food safety officers may need to make to ensure serious non-compliance identified during an inspection has been resolved. We are not permitted to revise the hygiene rating after such revisits.

Re-rating visits can only be conducted following a formal application which has been assessed and agreed. Wiltshire Council has now introduced a charge for such visits to cover the cost of this additional work. This fee is currently £165.00 in 2019/20.

This charge will not be  levied until we are satisfied that a re-rating visit is appropriate and must be paid in full in advance of the visit by credit /debit card payment. Successful applicants will be notified and instructed on how to pay. On occasions applications may be declined.

Whilst there is no limit to the number of re-rating requests you can make in between planned routine inspections, Wiltshire Council will use its discretion in determining each application. In general these will be limited to the one chargeable re-rating visit in each inspection cycle.

When applying for a re-rating visit we ask food business operators to evidence the improvements made since the initial inspection and/or revisit on the application form.  Please consider all the points raised by the inspecting officer as well as any other improvements carried out.  This is an opportunity for you to set out in detail all the efforts made to move the business towards a 5 rating. Guidance on maximising your rating can be found in the section below.

You must provide evidence of all the improvements made not just those matters raised during the inspection. Examples of the type of evidence we hope to see include:

  • Photographs of structural improvements
  • Copies of invoices for repairs, new equipment ,etc.
  • Copies of training records
  • Details of alterations to your HACCP systems etc.
  • Copies of SFBB diary entries for controls applied
  • Copies of new pest control contracts

The evidence will be considered as a part of your request. We can refuse to agree to a re-rating visit if this evidence is not available to substantiate the request, so it is important that your evidence clearly shows how you have worked to achieve a better rating.

To make a request for a re-rating visit, please complete the application form on this page, ensuring you understand the terms and conditions. Please do not send payment with your application.

Any agreed re-rating visit will be unannounced and will take place within two months of the request being determined. In some cases it may be at least three months if you have been asked to improve your food safety management systems, as we will need to be able to review sustained implementation and improvement.

 The inspecting officer is likely to call you before the visit to discuss your evidence and any other priority actions you may need to take to improve your score. During these visits officers make a full assessment of the overall compliance with food hygiene requirements as well as checking that the required improvements have been made. This means that the rating could go up, down or remain the same if deemed appropriate.


Food business operators have a 'right to reply' which will be published on the website with their score. The purpose is to enable the food business operator to give an explanation of subsequent actions that have been taken to rectify non-compliances or mitigation for the circumstances at the time of the inspection, rather than to complain or criticise the scheme or inspecting officer.

The right to reply should be sent to Wiltshire Council Public Protection Service. The text may be edited before being published on the website in order to remove any offensive, defamatory, clearly inaccurate or irrelevant remarks.

Further guidance on appealing, requesting a re-visit and the right to reply can be found at Food Standards Agency - safeguards for food businesses.


The following are some suggestions of things your business can consider:

For food handling

You can maximise your rating by showing, for example, that:

  • There are high standards of personal hygiene of staff – e.g. 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 (e.g. use of separate areas for handling raw and cooked foods, proper use of colour-coded chopping boards, and correct use of appropriate cleaning chemicals)
  • Foods are stored at the correct temperature (e.g. food stored in refrigerators is maintained at less than 8°C and that the chill chain is protected)
  • Foods are properly cooked, re-heated and cooled (e.g. foods are cooked to 75°C or hotter and are checked visually and with a probe thermometer  for thorough cooking, and foods are cooled quickly and as necessary refrigerated

For the condition and structure of your premises

There should, for example, be:

  • A suitable structure which is clean and in good repair throughout the premises
  • Clean food equipment which is kept in good repair
  • Adequate natural/artificial lighting
  • Adequate natural/artificial ventilation
  • A structure proofed against pest entry

For managing and documenting what the business does

It is a legal requirement for food businesses to provide documentary evidence that the food they produce is safe. This 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 of the routine check systems you have in place in your business
  • 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

The Food Standards Agency has produced systems to help create a documented food safety management system:

– Safer Food, Better Business (England and Wales)
– Safe Catering (Northern Ireland)  and
– CookSafe (Scotland)

These are suitable for many types of food business, but not all. You are advised to discuss which food safety management system is suitable for your business with one of our Food Safety Officers in the Public Protection Team.

Improving your rating

All businesses should be able to achieve the top rating. To get the best possible rating, you should:

  • Look at your last food hygiene inspection report to check that you've taken all of the actions needed to ensure that you meet legal requirements. If you can’t find your last report, contact us and we will be able to give you a copy
  • At your next inspection, if you don’t get the top rating and you have queries about the improvements you need to make to get a better rating, then the Food Safety Officer will be able to give you advice
  • Find out more about Safer Food Better Business and other guidance to help you manage hygiene at your business

Appeals, requests for revisits and right to reply forms should be sent to:

Public Protection Manager (Food and Safety)
Wiltshire Council
County Hall
Bythesea Road
BA14 8JN

email: publicprotectionwest@wiltshire.gov.uk


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Last updated: 25 March 2020 | Last reviewed: 25 March 2020