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Food Hygiene Rating Scheme


We carry out regular, risk-based food hygiene and standards inspections of all food premises to ensure that the public is protected and that legal standards are maintained. This is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS).

This scheme allows consumers to make informed choices about where they eat out or shop for food, and encourages food businesses to improve and maintain their standards. 

How the scheme works

Following an inspection or audit, food businesses are rated in accordance with the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and will be issued with a sticker to display at their premises. Businesses are:

  • given a rating from 0 to 5
  • encouraged to display their rating sticker

The types of businesses we rate 

We rate restaurants, takeaways, cafes, sandwich shops, pubs, hotels, home caterers, supermarkets and other retail food outlets.

We also rate any business where you can eat or buy food or where food is prepared, cooked, or handled and served, such as schools, nurseries and residential care homes.

How we rate businesses 

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.

How we score the ratings 

To achieve the best score possible, a food business will need to meet high standards in three areas.

  • How hygienically the food is handled - how it is prepared, cooked, reheated, cooled and stored
  • The condition of the premises - including the cleanliness, layout, lighting and ventilation 
  • How the business manages and records how it keeps food safe 

Businesses that are exempt 

Not all businesses are given a rating. This is because some businesses, for example a shop selling sweets, are a low risk, as well as businesses operating from private addresses such as childminders. 

Also, businesses that do not provide food directly to the final consumer are not included. These include manufacturers, packers, importers, exporters, transporters and distributors of food.

What you can do if unhappy with your rating 

We ensure the Food Hygiene Rating is operated fairly.

You can appeal your FHRS rating by email or in writing within 21 days of being notified of your rating. There is a standard form available to download Icon for pdf Food hygiene rating scheme appeal form (PDF, 235.9kb)  

How to appeal 

If you submit an appeal, the online food hygiene rating will show 'Awaiting Publication'. Your application will be reviewed by a senior officer, who will advise you of the outcome within 21 days of the appeal date.

Send your comments by email or in writing to the officer who carried out the inspection. There is a standard form available to download the Icon for pdf Food hygiene rating scheme Right to Reply form (PDF, 76.9kb)   

You can make a comment at any time before your next inspection, which will be visible alongside your online food hygiene rating.

You may consider that there are exceptional circumstances at the time the inspection was carried out which have affected your rating, and you may wish to explain to your customers the actions you have taken to rectify matters. This is your 'right to reply'.

Any comments that are offensive, inaccurate or irrelevant may be removed or edited.  

Request a re-visit

If you have carried out the improvements identified at the last inspection, you can request a re-visit at any time prior to the next scheduled inspection in writing or email to the officer who carried out your inspection. There is a standard form available to download the Icon for pdf Food hygiene rating scheme request for a revisit form (PDF, 359.4kb)

There is a fee of £170 for a re-rating visit, although there is no limit to the number of requests that can be made. 
It is important to fully understand your inspection report and take appropriate action before requesting another inspection. 

As the inspection visit will be unannounced and all areas of your business will be reviewed, it is important to maintain standards generally as your rating could go down and not up.

The inspection visit will be carried out within three months of the request being confirmed. 

Contact us
Food Safety
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Environment, Health and Consumer Protect
  • Durham County Council
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ
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