Food Safety Training, Auditing & Management
Food Safety Training, Auditing & Management

How does the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) work?

We will cover;

  • What the FHRS is
  • What happens during an Environmental Health Officer’s inspection
  • What are the factors taken into consideration during an EHO inspection
  • What is the impact on the score/grade issued.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) provides an indication of the standards of food hygiene in food businesses providing food directly to consumers such as restaurants, pubs, café, takeaways, hotels as well as supermarkets and other food shops. It takes the results of official food hygiene inspections and the resultant score forms the basis for the hygiene stars. This star rating can be accessed by any potential customers in minutes from the Food Standards Agency Website.

What to expect from an EHO during an inspection

Inspectors work to the guidelines of the food safety code of practice when conducting hygiene inspections. They’ll want to know that your premises (and prep kitchen if you have one) is suitable for hygienic food production. They’ll consider your foods, the way that you work and your FSMS (food safety management system).

Your inspection will result in a food hygiene rating (scored out of 5) which will appear on the FHRS website. If an EHO deems your food handling policies and procedures to be poor you’ll likely receive a low score and you might be required to make amendments before you can continue to trade. How the grade is calculated is covered later on.

  • The EHO should be courteous throughout the inspection
  • They must show you identification before they start their inspection
  • They must provide feedback and guidance - i.e. outline hazards and suggest corrective action
  • They should clearly distinguish between legal requirements and recommended good practice
  • They must provide reasons for required actions in writing when there’s an apparent breach of law, they must state that law
  • They must give you reasonable time to meet statutory requirements, unless there’s an immediate risk to public health
  • They should outline procedures for appeals against local authority action
  • They must comply with EU Food Safety Directives & Regulations, the Food Safety Act 1990, FSA code of practice, LACORS guidance and advice in relevant food industry guides

What are the inspectors checking for (main points, this list is not exhaustive)

  • Completed, signed & dated food safety management system
  • Adequate hand washing facilities
  • A means for drying hands
  • A food preparation sink
  • A suitably equipped first aid kit
  • A probe thermometer
  • Fire protective equipment - extinguishers / fire blanket Proof that you’ve registered your business with the environmental health department
  • A clean, tidy, safe and easily-cleanable workspace that doesn’t provide access to pests or places for bacteria to multiply
  • Adequate ventilation
  • Adequate refrigeration for storing high risk products
  • Appropriate cleaning equipment
  • A means for disposing waste
  • A means for temperature control & segregation (if transporting)
  • Potable hot and cold water of drinking quality
  • Good personal hygiene (you and your staff)
  • Protective clothing – head coverings are advisable though not compulsory
  • Evidence of food segregation i.e. raw and cooked foods
  • Evidence of hygiene training (for you and your staff)

The FHRS ratings are based on three areas critical to food safety assessed at inspection:

  • Hygienic handling of food (hygiene procedures)
  • Cleanliness and condition of facilities (Structure)
  • Confidence in management

Food hygiene scoring system

Part 1: The potential hazard - Three factors determine the potential hazard

A: Type of food and method of handling.

Score Scoring system
40 Manufacturers of high-risk food, wholesalers and packers who re-wrap or re-pack high-risk foods. In this context, high-risk foods may be regarded as foods which support the growth of micro-organisms, and are ready to eat without further treatment that would destroy pathogenic microorganisms or their toxins.
30 Preparation, cooking or handling of open high-risk foods by caterers and retailers, except caterers that prepare typically less than 20 meals a day
10 Preparation, cooking or handling by small caterers of open high-risk foods but serve less than 20 meals on a single day ; Handling of pre-packed high-risk foods; Other wholesalers and distributors not included in the categories above; Manufacture or packing of foods other than high-risk; Establishments involved in the filleting, salting of fish for retail sale to final consumer
5 Retail handling of foods other than high-risk, and other ambient shelf stable products. Any other businesses not included in the categories above.

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