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Food hygiene and safety

Food hygiene and ratings

Food hygiene ratings inform customers of the safety and cleanliness standards in restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels, supermarkets and other places they may go to for food, such as canteens, schools and sports venues.

Businesses are inspected by the council to ensure their premises and practices meet food safety and standards (eg labelling) requirements.

New businesses should register with their food authority.

Food safety laws require all businesses to take reasonable care to ensure food is safe at all stages of production and sale.

The responsibility is on the Food Business Operator to ensure that the food premise meets the requirements set down in legislation.

Officers carry out regular inspections based on the risk rating of the premise. 

High risk are inspected at least every 6 months.

What do the hygiene ratings mean?

Businesses are given a hygiene rating between 0 (urgent improvement needed) to 5 (very good) following an inspection by an Environmental Health Officer.

The rating reflects the standards of hygiene found at the time of their latest inspection. We accept that things change, hopefully for the better but on occasion good premises can go down hill quickly.

Businesses achieving a score less than 5 have the option to request a rescore once they can demonstrate they have made the necessary improvements and if they are willing to cover the cost of the visit which is currently £200.

All rated premises will receive a sticker which they can display in their window to show customers the score they achieved.

A few businesses are exempt or do not appear, for example, manufacturers or very low risk premises handling very limited foods (e.g. newsagents or chemist’s shops).

The rating is also listed on the Food Standards Agency website. This is available as a page or an app so that everyone can access it.

Appealing hygiene ratings

Food business operators can appeal their rating if they believe it is unfair or not justified, or they can submit a response to the rating explaining the circumstances and their commitment to improving.

To assist businesses, Environmental Health at Harrow can offer a support service providing one-on-one advice and instruction tailored to the specific business needs.

This will help you to develop the skills and systems needed to raise standards. To take advantage of this support please contact the food team.

Relevant forms for food business operators:

Environmental Health

Address: PO Box 18
Civic Centre
Station Road
Harrow
HA1 2UT