Food hygiene and safety

Food hygiene and ratings

Food hygiene ratings inform customers of the safety and cleanliness standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, 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 (e.g. 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 £270.

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.

You can appeal, request a revisit or right to apply on our Food hygiene rating scheme page.

Registered food premises in Harrow

Every month we update the list of food registered premises in Harrow. Download the current list of registered food premises.

Disposing of fats, oils and grease

Fats, oils and grease (FOG) are generated during the preparation, cooking and cleaning up of food, pots and pans, utensils and the kitchen itself. 

If FOG goes down your drains it cools, hardens and eventually causes blockages.

What the law says about FOG

Keeping FOG out of drains is always the most effective solution to keep pipes clear of blockages. Under Section 111 of the Water Industry Act 1991, it is a criminal offence to discharge FOG into the public sewer network.

How your food business may be affected

Your business is at risk if you allow FOG to enter our sewer network through your drains.

Some of the problems for businesses like yours include:

  • Loss of profit if you are forced to close while a blockage is cleared.
  • Reputational damage if you harm the environment.
  • Bad smells, leading to poor hygiene.
  • Fines or prosecution under Section 111 of the WIA.

It is important that everyone working for you knows the best way to manage your kitchen’s waste.

Training employees and helping them understand the need for grease management and good kitchen practice can really help to prevent blockages in your business’s pipes.

Advice to get rid of FOG efficiently

  • Scrape any leftover food into the bin and wipe pots, pans and utensils with paper towels before washing up.
  • Use sink strainers in plug holes.
  • Install a Grease Removal Unit or Grease Separator as a form of grease management to prevent FOG reaching your waste pipes.
  • Clean and maintain any grease management equipment regularly.
  • Collect leftover FOG in an airtight container and arrange for it to be collected by a licensed waste contractor.
  • Keep a record of grease management maintenance and FOG waste collection dates.

For more information please visit the Thames Water's website.

Children in Employment

The 1933 Children Act & the Local Authority Byelaws govern the employment of school-aged children working part-time.

No child under the age of 13 years can be employed to work. The law specifies the permitted hours, types of employment and makes it a requirement for employers to apply for a permit to employ school aged children.

The Local Authority has produced byelaws which regulate the types of work young people are permitted to do and the number of hours they are allowed to work.
These byelaws help to ensure young people are working safely, and their work does not affect their wellbeing or education.

For further information see Children in employment