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The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is designed to allow consumers to make informed choices about where they eat out or shop for food. With over two thirds of consumers saying they will buy food based on a venue’s food hygiene rating, it is definitely in your business’s interests to obtain a high rating.

What is a Food Hygiene Rating?

The Food Hygiene Ratings are issued by the Food Standards Agency in partnership with the relevant local authority and give clear indication about the hygiene standards at an individual business. Businesses which should have a Food Hygiene Rating include restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels and food shops.

Your premises will be inspected regularly to ensure that you are complying with food hygiene law. This will include the handling of food, how it is stored and prepared, the cleanliness of the facilities and how food safety is managed. Ratings are given on a scale ranging from 0 to 5.

Rating What it means
5 Hygiene standards are very good
4 Hygiene standards are good
3 Hygiene standards are generally satisfactory
2 Some improvement is necessary
1 Major improvement is necessary
0 Urgent improvement is required

Excellent hygiene standards are confirmed with a ‘5’ rating

All businesses should strive for a ‘5’ rating as it confirms excellent hygiene standards on the premises. At the other end of the scale, scoring a ‘0’ means the inspector has deemed that there are multiple problems to address, which may have included a major food hygiene breach.

What does a Food Safety inspection involve?

According to the Food Standards Agency website, a health officer will be checking three main areas to assess the food hygiene rating. They must also be confident that standards will continue to be maintained properly. The three areas for assessment are:

  • How hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
  • The physical condition of the business –including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, pest control and other facilities
  • How the business manages ways of keeping food safe, looking at processes, training and systems to ensure good hygiene is maintained.

Is it compulsory to display the Food Hygiene Rating sticker?

It is not compulsory for businesses to display the Food Hygiene Rating sticker; however, they are encouraged to do so.

Why should I display the Food Hygiene Rating sticker on my window or door?

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) found that 68% of consumers now look for the rating sticker at the food business’s window or door in order to confirm they are in safe hands. In a recent survey by the FSA, 86% of respondents thought businesses should be required to display their rating at their premises.

These are some of the benefits of displaying the Food Hygiene Rating sticker:

  • The public can make an informed choice about where to eat and buy food
  • It confirms that your premises have been checked by the Food Standards Agency
  • It reinforces your business’s reputation
  • It helps you to stand out from the crowd
  • Customers are reassured that your staff have been checked that they know about food safety
  • Customers have trust that your hygiene standards are excellent

How to use your Food Hygiene Rating in your marketing promotions

Achieving a high rating is a testament to the quality of your business and something which should be celebrated and promoted. Here are some ideas on how you can use your Food Hygiene Rating in your marketing promotions:

  • Display the stickers prominently in windows, doors etc.
  • Put the rating on your email signature
  • Advertise it on your social media platforms
  • Print it on menus and marketing leaflets
  • Celebrate it with your customers
  • Let your local newspaper know
  • Use the Food Agency resources – banners, posters, imagery
  • Add the rating to online takeaway platforms

What can I do to improve my Food Hygiene Rating?

There are number of things you can do to improve your Food Hygiene Rating, including:

  • The implementation of better processes for food handling, food storage and cleanliness
  • Carrying out a risk assessment to identify areas of concern or improvement such as food safety
  • Keeping up to date with the latest laws and legislation, for example, Natasha’s Law which recently came into force
  • Finding examples of other food and drink business that have achieved a high food standard and looking at what they do
  • Maintaining, repairing or replacing any broken or dangerous equipment. i.e. fridges and freezers
  • Reviewing the Food Standards Agency guidelines on what is covered in the food hygiene rating inspections

What cover should I consider for any claims against me due to Food Hygiene?

Public Liability cover is designed to protect your business from legal liabilities which may arise following injury to members of the public or damage to their property. This could include a customer suffering illness or an allergic reaction as a result of consuming food supplied by you. We would expect you to comply with all relevant legislation, as would any other cover provider, but in the event that you are legally liable and have complied with all other cover terms and conditions, the cover would respond.

Does The Retail Mutual offer Public Liability cover?

The Retail Mutual includes Public Liability as part of our Catering Business Cover offering for restaurants, cafes, takeaways, fish and chip shops, and other catering establishments. We also include Public Liability as part of our Retail Business Cover product for food shops.

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If you want a stronger business for a stronger future, then choose The Retail Mutual as your business cover provider. Since its inception in 1999, The Retail Mutual has grown to provide cover to over 100 different trade types including retail, hair salons, barbershops and catering businesses. Why not see what we can do for your business by getting a free no-obligation quote from us? Start your quote online today or speak to a member of our service team by calling the number below.

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