Food Hygiene Ratings

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

Winchester City Council, together with a number of other Hampshire authorities has launched the national food hygiene rating scheme. Search for hygiene ratings in the Winchester area.

What types of food business will be given a rating?

A rating will be given to places where the public eat out or shop, for example, restaurants, takeaways, café's, sandwich shops, pubs and supermarkets. Ratings will also be given to places where the general public do not typically eat but where food is provided, for example, nursing homes, hospitals and schools.

Will there be any exemptions?

Yes. Those businesses that present a low risk to the health of people consuming the food they sell, for example a newsagents selling only sweets, childminders caring for children in a home and businesses which do not supply food direct to the consumer, such as manufacturers, packers, importers and exporters.

How is the rating worked out?

When a food safety officer visits a food business to check compliance with food hygiene legislation a number of factors are assessed, the potential hazard and the risks posed by non compliance of hygiene regulations. An established scoring system used for a number of years calculates the next inspection date. The food hygiene rating system utilises part of that scoring system to determine a rating. The elements used to create that rating include the following:

  • The standard of hygiene, including food handling practices and risks of cross contamination
  • The structural conditions, including cleanliness
  • The ability of the food business operator to manage the business and produce safe food

The ratings are from 5 meaning that standards are very good to 0 meaning that standards are not good and urgent improvements are required. Businesses may do well in some areas and less well in others and the rating takes this into account.

How often do food businesses get given a rating?

A rating is given each time the business has a full inspection.

Why are businesses with poor ratings not always closed?

If the officer finds that a food business is operating in conditions that are so poor that there is an imminent risk to the health of consumers then the business will be closed or the operation restricted. Those businesses receiving a rating of 0 or 1 may not present an imminent risk to the health of the consumer, but the standards observed by the officer may fall so far short of legal compliance it means that urgent or major improvements are required. In this instance it may not be necessary to close the business as the food safety officer can take alternative enforcement action to ensure standards are improved.

Will businesses receive a certificate confirming the rating?

Yes, following the inspection businesses will be sent a certificate and a window sticker showing the rating they have been awarded. The rating will also be published on a national website at

What should I do if I don't agree with the rating?

The owner or manager of the business should first speak to the inspecting officer about the rating and how it was decided. If the owner or manager still believes the rating is unfair or wrong they can appeal against it. You can download an appeal form here or at and send it either by email to or post it to the Health Protection Team, Winchester City Council, Colebrook Street, Winchester, SO23 9LJ

You must appeal within 14 days of being told about the rating. The 14 day time frame includes weekends and public holidays. Alternatively, the owner or manager of the food business can exercise a 'right to reply' to the rating. This is not an appeal against the rating, but an opportunity to explain, in writing what you have done to improve the standard of hygiene and also comment on why standards were not maintained at the time of the inspection. You can download a right of reply form here or at and send it either by email to or post it to the Health Protection Team, Winchester City Council, Colebrook Street, Winchester, SO23 9LJ. It will be reviewed and published online alongside the hygiene rating.

How do I request a re-rating?

You can request a re-inspection, but only if you have improved the standard of hygiene. Before you ask for a re-inspection you should be confident that you have made sufficient improvements to achieve a new rating. To do this you should undertake any work that the inspector required at the last inspection and you also must ensure that all the standards found by the inspecting officer are good enough to improve your score. The rating could go up or down depending on the findings of the officer at the re-inspection.

You may request a re-inspection at anytime, but we will not carry this out until at least three months have passed since the original inspection. These three months are called the 'stand still' period. Once the 'stand still period' has passed we are required to undertake the re-inspection you have requested and we must do this within three months. This means that it may take us up to 6 months to re-inspect. We will require you to submit a re-inspection request form and evidence to support your request.

You can download a re-inspection request here or at and send it either by email to or post it to the Health Protection Team, Winchester City Council, Colebrook Street, Winchester, SO23 9LJ

Do food businesses have to display the rating?

No, not at present. However, a good rating is good for business and worth displaying. It gives customers confidence that the business meets the requirements of food hygiene legislation and that the food produced is safe. We will be advising the public to ask for the rating when they use your premises.

Should you require any further information you can contact the Health Protection Team on 01962 848 186

Are there any other resources available for food businesses?

The Food Standards Agency has recently launched a new toolkit to assist businesses in making the most out of their food hygiene rating. The toolkit offers lots of ideas on how to promote hygiene standards and help increase the number of customers who come through the door. To access the toolkit please visit the Food Standards Agency website.