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Food safety and hygiene

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

6. National Food Hygiene Rating

Local food businesses are inspected to make sure that all food handled and prepared is safe to eat.

After a premises has been inspected it is given a rating based on the findings of the inspection. The rating goes from zero (indicating that the business needs to improve their standards) to five (which will mean that consumers can be confident that high standards are being maintained).

Here's an example of what the sticker looks like:

Food Hygiene Rating example sticker

You can view and search for places in Gravesham that have been given a rating on the Food Standards Agency website.

Three areas of the inspection are assessed having regard to food law:

  • Food hygiene
  • Structure and cleanliness
  • Confidence in management

The rating will not take into account the quality of food or service.

The businesses are asked to display their window sticker, this is normally on the door or in the front window.

Appeal a food rating score, request a revisit or request to post a 'right to reply'

If they wish to do so, a business may appeal their food rating score, request a revisit and/or post a 'right to reply' on the Food Standards Agency website.

If you are a business operator of a food premises, find out more information below:

Appeal a food rating score

As a food business operator of the establishment, you have a right to appeal the food hygiene rating given following your inspection, if you do not agree that the rating reflects the hygiene standards and management controls at the establishment.

Please note that you have up to 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) from the date you have received your written notification to lodge an appeal.

Request a revisit of a food premises

As a food business operator of the establishment, you have a right to request a revisit for the purposes of a re-rating if you have taken action to rectify the non-compliances identified at the time of inspection.

Any requests for a revisit made will incur the standard charge of £172 payable prior to the revisit taking place.

Request to post a 'right to reply'

As a food business operator of the establishment, you have a right to request a 'right to reply' in respect of the food hygiene rating given following your inspection.

The purpose is to enable you to give an explanation of subsequent actions that have been taken to make the required improvements as detailed in the inspection report/letter, or to explain mitigation for the circumstances at the time of the inspection.

Please note it is not for making complaints or for criticising the scheme or food safety officer.

Consent for early publication of rating

As the food business operator of the establishment, you may request that your new rating is published before the period in which you can appeal against the rating has elapsed.

How ratings are calculated

Inspection criteria

During your inspection, the food safety officer will check how well you are meeting the law on food hygiene. Three areas will be assessed:

  • how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, cooled, stored, and what measures are taken to prevent food being contaminated with bacteria
  • the condition of the structure of the premises including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, equipment and other facilities
  • how you manage and record what you do to make sure food is safe using a system like safer food, better business

You will be given a score for each area – see below. Food safety officers use guidance to determine how to score each of these areas.

Food hygiene scoring criteria
Criteria Score
How hygienically the food is handled 0 5 10 15 20 25
Condition of structure 0 5 10 15 20 25
How you manage and document food safety 0 5 10 20 30
Total score 0 80
Level of compliance High Low
Your food hygiene rating

The rating given depends on how well the business does overall – the total score. It also depends on the area(s) that need improving the most - the business may do better in some areas and less well in others.

To get the top rating, you must score no more than 5 in each of the three areas. All businesses should be able to get the top rating. You will automatically get a new rating at each planned inspection.

Food hygiene rating
Total score 0 - 15 20 25 - 30 35 - 40 45 - 50 > 50
Highest permitted individual score 5 10 10 15 20 -
Rating 5 - Very good 4 - Good 3 - Generally satisfactory 2 - Improvement necessary 1 - Major improvement necessary 0 - Urgent improvement necessary


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