The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is a national scheme run by the Food Standards Agency in partnership with local authorities. The scheme provides consumers with information about hygiene standards in food premises.
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme was introduced in County Durham in April 2012. Search for food hygiene ratings in Durham.
A food hygiene rating is given to a food premises when it is inspected by us to check compliance with legal requirements. The purpose of the rating is to allow consumers to make informed choices about the places where they eat out or shop for food, encouraging businesses to improve their hygiene standards. The ratings are available to view on the Food Standards Agency website - food hygiene ratings scheme. Food businesses will be given a sticker to display at their premises.
Restaurants, takeaways, cafes, sandwich shops, pubs, hotels, home caterers, supermarkets and other retail food outlets are included in the scheme. Any other business where consumers can eat or buy food or where public access is limited but where food is prepared, cooked, or handled and served to consumers, such as schools, nurseries and residential care homes will also be given a rating.
Businesses are rated with an overall score of 0 to 5. The top rating is 5 which means the hygiene standards are very good. The bottom rating is 0 which indicates urgent improvement is needed.
To achieve the best score possible, a food business will need to meet high standards in three areas which cover:
Not all businesses are given a rating. This is because some businesses, for example a newsagent selling sweets, are a low risk to people's health and so are not included in the scheme. Certain establishments operating from private addresses are also exempt such as childminders and other caring services. The details of these premises will be treated as sensitive and are not published on the website, you can find out more on the Food Standards Agency website.
These businesses are said to be 'exempt' from the scheme.
Businesses that do not provide food directly to the final consumer are not included in the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. These include manufacturers, packers, importers, exporters, transporters and distributors of food.
If a food business is not happy with the food hygiene rating they have been awarded they should contact us to discuss their concerns. If the issue cannot be resolved at this stage, there are three further options to consider: an appeal; a right to reply; and an opportunity to request a revisit when improvements have been carried out in order to be reassessed for a new rating. The Food Standards Agency: business safeguards leaflet provides further information.
Download and complete the Food hygiene rating scheme appeal form (PDF, 235kb).
Download and complete the Food hygiene rating scheme - right to reply form (PDF, 76kb).
Download and complete the Food hygiene rating scheme - request for a revisit form (PDF, 79kb).