Understanding the food hygiene rating

Food hygiene is one of the most important things to obtain when running a business in the food industry. It lets customers know how safe your food is to eat and how clean the conditions it is cooked in are. For this reason, all of the 42,575 restaurants in the UK will do all they can to ensure they get the best hygiene rating available. 

A good hygiene rating can be make or break for a restaurant. The ratings are as follows: 

  • 0 = Urgent improvement necessary 
  • 1 = Major improvements necessary 
  • 2 = Improvement necessary 
  • 3 = Generally satisfactory 
  • 4 = Good 
  • 5 = Very good 

According to the most recent data, London was the region with the lowest average food hygiene rating with 4.02. Getting the top rating of five is no easy task but when you understand the food hygiene rating and how you can improve your score, you’re more likely to fall in the top band. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the food hygiene rating.

What’s checked to get your rating?

To ensure you are given the correct score, this check is thorough and covers several areas of key importance to cooking including, 

  • Handling of food 
  • How food is stored 
  • How food is prepared 
  • Cleanliness of facilities 
  • How food safety is managed

Ensure you get a top rating

Whilst displaying your food hygiene rating is not a legal requirement in England, your customers can still check your rating online before visiting. With that in mind, you must ensure you are doing the four C’s of food hygiene to guarantee you the best rating for your business. 

The four C’s of food hygiene include, 

  • Cleaning – Cleaning thoroughly should be done consistently throughout the day. You should clean and disinfect between tasks – especially when handling raw meat. Outside of cleaning as you go, you may also opt for a cleaning schedule where an employee will thoroughly clean sections of the business at set times throughout the day. This could be after a lunch service and then again after an evening service. 
  • Cooking – Ensure all food is cooked correctly and properly – especially meats. Without proper cooking, your food may cause illness to your customers. A good way to know if items of food are cooked is to make sure it is steaming hot, any juices run clear and there is no pink or rare meat inside. 
  • Chilling – When storing food in the fridge or freezer it must be checked to ensure it isn’t spoiling. To do this, use an RS digital thermometer or equivalent to assess the temperatures in your appliances. Do this and make sure your fridge and freezer are at the right temp to keep your food fresh. 
  • Cross Contamination – This is where bacteria from raw meats for example, transfer into other foods. To prevent this from happening, you must clean all surfaces, wash hands regularly and store your foods correctly. 


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