National food hygiene rating scheme

Information for consumers

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is being run by Swindon Borough Council in partnership with the Food Standards Agency website. The scheme provides 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.

How the scheme works

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme helps you choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving you information about the hygiene standards in the food premises at the time they are inspected by one of the Councils' Environmental Health Officers. During the inspection, the food premises is checked to ensure that it is meeting legal requirements on food hygiene and is rated accordingly.

At the inspection, the officer will check the following three elements:

  • How hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
  • The physical condition of the business –including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, pest control and other facilities
  • 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

Why the scheme is important

Telling you about the hygiene standards in food outlets provides you with more choice.  It also recognises those food outlet 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 rated

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.

There are some food businesses which are deemed to be very low risk, though these will still be checked by the Local Authority and they may be classed as exempt from the hygiene rating so will not be given a rating or a sticker. Examples of exempt businesses are chemist shops or visitor centres only selling pre-wrapped goods that do not require refrigeration, or childminders and businesses that offer caring services at home.

How the rating is calculated

Each food outlet business is given a rating following an unannounced inspection by an Environmental Health Officer. This is based on how well the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law at that time.

In particular:

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 the food hygiene ratings mean

A food outlet business is given one of the six ratings shown in the table below:

Rating display sticker/notice Rating level Description of rating
Food label 5
Level 5 Very good
Food label 4
Level 4 Good
Food label 3
Level 3 Generally satisfactory
Food label 2
Level 2 Improvement necessary
Food label 1
Level 1 Major improvement necessary
Rating label
Level 0 (zero) Urgent improvement necessary 

Where food hygiene ratings will be displayed

You can look up food hygiene ratings at the Swindon Borough Council section of the Food Standards Agency Ratings website. There, 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 in a place where it can easily be seen when you visit. Displaying the sticker is voluntary at the moment.

If you wish to report a business you believe to be unregistered in food hygine go to Report an unregistered food business page to access the relevant form.

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