Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

Food Hygiene Ratings

Eating out? Getting food in?  Check the food hygiene rating

To help you choose where to eat out or shop for food West Somerset Council is running the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. The scheme will give you information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels, and other places you eat out, as well as supermarkets and other food shops.

Search for food hygiene ratings in West Somerset

What is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme?

The scheme is being run by West Somerset Council in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (the central Government Department with responsibility for food safety). Like the Somerset Foodscores, it will help you choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving you information about the hygiene standards in food premises at the time they are inspected by one of our food safety officers to check that they are meeting legal requirements on food hygiene.

Why is the scheme important?

Telling consumers about hygiene standards in food outlets gives them greater choice.  It also recognises those businesses with the highest standards and encourages others to improve.  The overall aim is to reduce the number of cases of food poisoning which currently affects about one million people in the UK every year. 

Which businesses are given a rating?

Restaurants, takeaways, cafés, sandwich shops, pubs, hotels, supermarkets and other retail food outlets, as well as other businesses where consumers can eat or buy food, will be given a hygiene rating as part of the scheme.

How is the rating calculated?

Each business is given a rating following an inspection by a food safety officer.  This is based on how well the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law at that time. In particular:

  • how hygienically the food is handled – safe food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
  • the condition of the structure of the premises – cleanliness, repair, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how food safety is managed and documented – using a system such as Safer food, better business or Safe Catering

The rating reflects the conditions found at the time of the last inspection and does not reflect the quality of food or the standards of service the business provides.

What are the different ratings?

A business is given one of six ratings:

Food hygiene rating 5 Food hygiene rating 4 Food hygiene rating 3

Food hygiene rating 2 Food hygiene rating 1 Food hygiene rating 0

All businesses should be able achieve the top rating of 5. 

Where a business does not achieve the top rating, the food safety officer will explain to the person that owns or manages the business what improvements are needed.

How do food businesses appeal against a Food Hygiene Rating

After an inspection, there's a 21 day period in which food businesses can appeal if they feel that the inspecting officer awarded them a rating which they feel is unfair.

If an appeal is made, we will respond within seven days and the appeal will be determined within 21 days. No food hygiene rating will be displayed until the appeal has been decided.

Food hygiene rating scheme - appeal form (309 kb pdf)

How do food businesses request a Food Hygiene Re-rating revisit?

Food businesses can make a request for a further visit to re-score the premises.  From 1st January a charge of £122.50 applies to this visit. This request can be made at any time, and the revisit can take place up to 3 months from the date of the initial inspection.

A food business will need to explain the improvements they have made since the initial inspection on the revisit request form.

Any visit will be unannounced and will take place within three months of the request being made. The inspecting officer will not only check that the required improvements have been made, but will also assess the level of compliance that is found overall.  This means that the score could go up, down or remain the same. In line with guidance produced by the Food Standards Agency, there is no limit on the amount of rescore visits a business may request and that the 3 month standstill period will no longer apply.

For further information on this matter please contact the Environmental Health Manager on 01823 356342. To request a re-rating visit and make a payment please contact West Somerset Council on 01643 703704.

Food hygiene rating scheme - request for a re-visit (42 kb pdf)

What Right to reply do food businesses have?

Food businesses have a 'right to reply' which will be published on the Food Standards Agency website with the score. The purpose is to enable them to give an explanation of what's been done since the inspection to put the problems right.

The text may be edited before being published on the website in order to remove any offensive, defamatory, clearly inaccurate or irrelevant remarks.

Food hygiene rating scheme - right to reply form (380 kb pdf)

More information about appealing, requesting a re-visit and the right to reply can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.
Completed forms should be returned to the following address:
Environmental Health, West Somerset Council, West Somerset House, Killick Way, Williton TA4 4QA
Telephone 01643 703704

Where will the food hygiene rating be displayed?

You can look up food hygiene ratings at

You can search for ratings for local businesses and anywhere else the scheme is being operated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Businesses are also given a window sticker showing their rating and are encouraged to display this at their premises.

Food hygiene sticker

Where can I get further information?

You can read about the scheme on the FSA’s website.