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Food Hygiene Rating System (FHRS)

The National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) was launched in Wiltshire on 1 April 2012. Customers are now better informed when eating out in Wiltshire. 

The national scheme developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities provides information on food hygiene standards to help customers choose where to eat out or shop.

Food hygiene ratings are determined at routine inspections by food safety officers. The hygiene standards found at these inspections are rated on a scale ranging from zero at the bottom (which means 'urgent improvement necessary') to a top rating of five ('very good'). 

These ratings are available for anyone to view on the Food Standards Agency - Food Hygiene Rating website.

Following an inspection, food businesses are provided with a sticker showing their rating. There are no legal requirements to display the sticker at the entrance to the premises, but businesses are encouraged to do so as this will mean customers can easily see them and decide where to eat.


Food hygiene ratings are determined during routine inspections by officers from Wiltshire Council's Public Protection Services. Ratings range from zero ('Urgent improvement necessary') to five ('Very good') and allow members of the public to make informed decisions about where they eat out or shop for food, thus encouraging businesses to improve their hygiene standards where necessary.

The following guidance explains how the ratings are calculated and gives information on those safeguards in place to ensure fairness to businesses.

Inspecting officers use a Food Standards Agency scoring scheme to rate businesses dependent upon their degree of compliance with hygiene legislation. There are three elements to this score, relating to:

  • food hygiene procedures
  • structure and cleanliness
  • confidence in management

The scores for these three elements are explained in the following 3 tables:


Level of compliance for food hygiene (including food handling practices, procedures and temperature control); and structure (including cleanliness, layout, condition of structure, lighting, ventilation, facilities etc) of the premises.

Compliance Score

Almost total non-compliance with statutory obligations, e.g. Food Hygiene: Very poor food hygiene practices. Serious food contamination risks. Inadequate temperature control. Structure: Evidence of pest infestation. Serious structural disrepair. Very poor cleanliness.


General failure to satisfy statutory obligations - standards generally low, e.g. Food Hygiene: Poor standard of hygienic food handling. Inadequate temperature control. Cross contamination identified. Structure: Evidence of pest infestation. Structural disrepair and poor cleanliness.


Some major non-compliance with statutory obligations, e.g. Food Hygiene: Cross contamination identified. Non-compliance with requirements for safe food preparation, handling, cooking etc. Structure: Significant improvements required in structure and cleaning (e.g. damaged/dirty work surfaces). Possible evidence of pest activity.


Some non-compliance with statutory obligations, e.g. Food Hygiene: Potential risk of cross contamination identified. Some lapses in food hygiene and safety procedures (e.g. fridge temperature too high), but generally satisfactory. Structure: Generally satisfactory structure and cleaning, but with occasional lapses. Some cleaning or repairs required. Possible evidence of pest activity.


High standard of compliance with statutory obligations. Only minor contraventions In matters of food hygiene or structure.


High standard of compliance with statutory obligations and industry codes of recommended practice; conforms to accepted good practices in the trade. 


Confidence in management/control procedures (including the 'track record' of the company, management attitude towards hygiene and food safety, hygiene and food safety technical knowledge and documented procedures based on HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) principles).

Compliance Score

Poor track record of compliance. Little or no technical knowledge. Little or no appreciation of hazards or quality control. No food safety management procedures. Staff not suitably supervised and/or trained.


Varying record of compliance. Poor appreciation of hazards and control measures. Inappropriate or inadequate food safety management system.


Satisfactory record of compliance. Generally satisfactory food safety controls in place. All significant food safety hazards understood and controls in place. Some gaps/deficiencies in food safety management records OR making satisfactory progress towards a documented food safety management system. Staff generally suitably trained and/or supervised.


Reasonable record of compliance. Food safety management/procedures in place. Hazards properly understood, controlled and managed. Food safety management records generally adequate and up to date. Staff suitably supervised and/or trained.


Good record of compliance. Food safety management procedures in place. Hazards properly understood, controlled and managed. Up to date and appropriate food safety management records. All staff suitably supervised and/or trained. 


So, for example, a premises scoring 10 for hygiene compliance, 15 for structural compliance and 10 for confidence in management/control procedures, has a total score of 35. The score of 35 is then used to obtain the food hygiene rating score for the food business, using the table below:

Compliance Scores
0 - 15
25 - 30
35 - 40
45 - 50

Additional Scoring Factor

No score >5
No score >10
No score >10
No score >15
No score >20

Food Hygiene Rating

Very good
Improvement necessary
Major improvement necessary
Urgent improvement necessary

In this example, a score of 35 falls into the fourth tier meaning the food business would be awarded a food hygiene rating of 2 ("Improvement necessary").

A premises with a high levels of compliance might score 0 for hygiene, 0 for structure and 0 for confidence in management - a total of 0 which would equate (using the table above) to a food hygiene rating of 5 ("Very good")

Essentially, the lower the total compliance score for hygiene + structure + confidence in management, the higher the food hygiene rating score.


At the end of the inspection, the officer will tell the food business operator their hygiene rating and explain why the establishment was rated as it was. If there is any disagreement with the score given, the food business operator should initially discuss the matter with the inspecting officer. If an agreement cannot be reached, the food business operator has a right of appeal (see below) and this will delay publication of the rating until the appeal is determined.

Otherwise, the inspecting officer will issue a window sticker to display in a prominent position on the premises. The rating will also be published on the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme website.

New food businesses that are awaiting inspection will appear as 'awaiting inspection' until such time that they receive a food hygiene inspection and their rating is determined.


Following an inspection there is a 21 day period during which food business operators can appeal to Wiltshire Council's Public Protection Manager for food and safety if they feel that the inspecting officer has awarded them a rating which they feel is unjust, i.e. they feel that the rating does not reflect the hygiene standards and management controls found at the establishment at the time of the inspection.

The Public Protection Manager for food and safety, or a nominated deputy, will respond to the appeal within 21 days. No food hygiene rating will be displayed at the establishment until the appeal has been determined.

Further information can be found on the Food Standards Agency website 


The food business operator can make a request for a further visit to re-score the premises. This request can be made at any time, but the re-rating visit will not generally take place until at least three months from the initial inspection has elapsed. For matters relating to permanent structural improvements/repairs or equipment upgrades, this period may be reduced at the council's discretion.

Only one requested re-rating visit will take place, other than in exceptional circumstances. The food business operator must evidence the improvements that they have made since the initial inspection and/or revisit on the rating request form. You must consider all the points raised by the inspecting officer as well as any improvements you have identified.

This is an opportunity for you to set out in detail all the efforts you have made to move your business towards a 5 rating.

You must provide evidence of all the improvements made not just those matters raised during the , inspection. Your evidence could include any of the following; 

  • Photographs of structural improvements
  • Copies of training records
  • Copies of new pest control contracts
  • Details of alterations to your HACCP systems etc.
  • Copies of invoices 

The evidence will be considered as a part of your request. The council can refuse to undertake a re-rating visit if this evidence is not available to substantiate the request, so it is important that your evidence clearly shows how you have worked to achieve a better rating.

Any visit that is undertaken will be unannounced and will take place within three months of the request being determined. The inspecting officer will make a full assessment of the overall compliance with food hygiene requirements as well as checking that the required improvements have been made. This means that the score could go up, down or remain the same if deemed appropriate.


Food business operators have a 'right to reply' which will be published on the website with their score. The purpose is to enable the food business operator to give an explanation of subsequent actions that have been taken to rectify non-compliances or mitigation for the circumstances at the time of the inspection, rather than to complain or criticise the scheme or inspecting officer.

The right to reply should be sent to Wiltshire Council Public Protection Service. The text may be edited before being published on the website in order to remove any offensive, defamatory, clearly inaccurate or irrelevant remarks.

Further guidance on appealing, requesting a re-visit and the right to reply can be found at Food Standards Agency - safeguards for food businesses.


Appeals, requests for revisits and right to reply forms should be sent to:

Public Protection Manager (Food and Safety)
Wiltshire Council
County Hall
Bythesea Road
BA14 8JN 


Environmental Health 


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Last updated: 14 February 2018 | Last reviewed: 14 February 2018