The National Food Hygiene Rating scheme (FHRS) is a Food Standards Agency (FSA) and local authority initiative which provides consumers with information about hygiene standards in food business establishments at the time they are inspected in order to check compliance with the legal requirements on food hygiene.
The Food Hygiene Rating (NI) Act 2016 came into force on 7th October 2016 and makes it compulsory for all food businesses which have a Statutory Food Hygiene Rating to display that rating in prominent positions at all public entrances. The Food Hygiene Rating given reflects the inspection findings and the purpose of the FHRS is to allow consumers to make informed choices about where to eat out for food and through these choices, encourage businesses to improve their hygiene standards. The overarching aim is to reduce the incidence of food-borne illness and the associated costs to the economy.
What is the legal obligation?
All food businesses MUST display their statutory rating at prominent positions at all public entrances to their premises. They must also ensure that their rating is declared to any prospective customer enquiring about their rating by any means e.g. in person or by telephone.
Following notification of your FHRS rating, you are required by law to display the FHRS sticker. You will normally need to do this within 21 days from the date you receive the notification (this is how long you will have to make an appeal). You may display your rating before the end of this 21 day period if you decide not to make an appeal. Your FHRS sticker must be displayed at or near each entrance to your premises that is available for use by customers. Stickers must be in a conspicuous place where they are capable of being readily seen and easily read by customers before they enter the establishment when it is open for business.
If your business provides a means of ordering food online, either directly or through a third party, it is strongly recommended to display your rating online, or provide a link to the FSA website for ratings .
If the food hygiene rating is not appealed, your rating will be published on the Food Standards Agency website within 35 days from the date of your inspection. If you do appeal your rating, your rating will not be displayed on the website. Instead an awaiting publication image will be displayed until the appeal is determined.
Informing the customer
Under the scheme you and employees including front of house staff must inform customers if asked the food hygiene rating that the business has received. This applies to both conversations face to face and over the telephone. Employees should know the establishment’s food hygiene rating for the business. Failure to provide information on the food hygiene rating is an offence.
When is the FHRS rating valid?
The FHRS rating is valid from the time you are notified by the local council. The rating remains valid until notification of a new rating is received and a period of 21 days for an appeal has expired. You must also remove your food hygiene rating sticker from display, and destroy it, once it is no longer valid. The sticker will be no longer valid 21 days following notification of the new rating, where the rating has changed, or when there has been a change in ownership of the business.
What are the offences under the FHRS?
It is an offence not to display the statutory food hygiene rating sticker after you have received this notification and the period of 21 days within which you can appeal the rating, has expired. It is also an offence if you or your staff fail to inform anyone of your food hygiene rating, when requested to do so.
If you fail to display your FHRS sticker, display an incorrect sticker or mislead customers in relation to the food hygiene rating, the council can take enforcement action. This may be through fixed penalty notices of £200 or a prosecution where necessary whereupon conviction the person would be liable for a fine of up to £1000.
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is not an endorsement of current standards but merely the score we awarded a premises at the time of their inspection. Nevertheless, we try very hard to make sure the information available on these pages is correct. The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme adheres to the FSA’s brand standard.
Following an inspection it may take up to 28 days for the new rating to appear on our website.
Check out the the FSA website which lists all of the food hygiene ratings: