Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

How do Ealing Council rate a business' hygiene?

A food safety officer from the council will inspect a business to check that it follows food hygiene laws so that the food that is served is safe to eat. Authorised officers will inspect food businesses to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements. At the inspection, the officer will check the following:

  1. How hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored.
  2. The physical condition of the business – including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, pest control and other facilities.
  3. How the business manages ways of keeping food safe, looking at processes, training and systems to ensure good hygiene is maintained. The officer can then assess the level of confidence in standards being maintained in the future.

Officers are authorised to turn up unexpectedly in order to inspect the premises and food, interview staff, examine records (including computerised records), seize food and take samples or photographs to be used as evidence. A food inspection will:

  • Identify and prevent risks to public health
  • Offer advice about good food hygiene practices
  • Investigate possible breaches of food hygiene legislation and act as necessary to get businesses legally compliant.

On completion of the inspection, the authorised officer will discuss the findings with the person in charge of the food premises. A written report is also either left on site or sent via email and/or by post to the food business operator. The report will outline all areas in which the business is failing to comply with food hygiene law. It will also outline what action the business operator needs to take to be fully compliant with the law.

Included within the report will be the food hygiene rating that the business has achieved. All food hygiene ratings can be viewed on the Food Standards Agency website. We encourage all businesses to display their score sticker at the entrance of their business. Customers can then use this information to choose if they want to buy food from there.

Where practices or conditions are not satisfactory, assistance will be given to the business to help them improve standards and comply with food hygiene law. However, if conditions are not improved or there is a risk to public health, a statutory notice may be served on the food business operator. Failure to comply with a statutory notice is an offence that, on conviction, could lead to a fine or imprisonment.

How often the council carry out food safety inspections varies from every six months to every three years. We decide this based on the risk posed by the food business. We use a nationally agreed scoring process to calculate this risk.

We will tell businesses their food hygiene rating either on site during the inspection or in writing within 14 days of the inspection.

If a business achieves a rating of 5, we aim to ensure that the rating is published online within 14 calendar days of the inspection. However, to allow businesses an opportunity to appeal against their rating before it is made public, ratings below a 5 will not be published online until 35 calendar days after the inspection, unless the business gives us their written consent to publish it earlier.

Responding to the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

The food hygiene rating scheme lets customers see and understand the hygiene standards within a food business so they can make informed choices about where they eat or shop for food. It also encourages businesses to keep excellent hygiene standards.

We want to make sure the scheme is fair to businesses so there are several opportunities to respond to your rating. As a business, you can:

  • Appeal the rating: If you think your rating is wrong or unfair.
  • Right to reply: Add your comments to the food hygiene ratings scheme website.
  • Request a re-rating: We can inspect your business again, after you’ve made recommended improvements.
  • Request your rating to be published earlier than 35 days after the inspection by formally waiving your right to appeal.