What does a business need to do to get the top food hygiene rating?

You must be able to demonstrate very good compliance with legal requirements for food hygiene. The level of compliance will be assessed by the food safety officer when your business is inspected.

How is this assessed?

Your food hygiene rating is based on the level of compliance in three areas:

  • how hygienically food is handled – safe food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
  • the condition of the structure of the premises – cleanliness, repair, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how food safety is managed and documented – using a system such as Safer food, better business  or Better Business for All Safe Food Pack

How can a business demonstrate that food is handled hygienically?

You can do this by showing that:

  • there are high standards of personal hygiene of staff – clean over clothing (such as aprons), appropriate headwear, minimal jewellery and regular, appropriate hand-washing
  • control measures in place to prevent cross contamination – 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 – food stored in fridges maintained at less than 8°C and that the chill chain is protected
  • foods are properly cooked, re-heated and cooled – foods are cooked to 75°C or hotter and are checked visually for signs of thorough cooking, and foods are cooled quickly and as necessary refrigerated.

What about the condition and structure of the premises?

There should be:

  • a suitable structure which is clean and in good repair throughout the premises
  • adequate natural/artificial lighting
  • adequate natural/artificial ventilation
  • a structure proofed against pest entry

What about how the business manages and documents what it does to make food safe?

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 that all food handlers are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters

How can a business improve its rating?

All businesses should be able to achieve the top rating. You should:

  • Look at your last food hygiene inspection report to check you've taken all of the actions needed to meet legal requirements – if you can’t find your last report, contact us.
  • Ask for advice from our food safety officers.
  • For further guidance on Safer Food Better Business, Allergens, Labelling plus much more the Food Standards Agency is a fantastic source of information.
  • You can request for a revisit for a rescore at a cost of £275.