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Food hygiene rating scheme

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

To help you choose where to eat out or shop for food St Albans City and District 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. 

What is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Toggle accordion

The scheme is being run by St Albans District Council in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (the central Government Department with responsibility for food safety). 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, and to check that they are meeting legal requirements for food hygiene.

Why is the scheme important? Toggle accordion

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.

The scheme is being introduced across England, Wales and Northern Ireland so it will help residents and visitors to make informed choices about where to eat out or shop for food not just within the St Albans District but also further afield.  This will also help ensure that businesses are treated fairly and consistently with local competitors and with their competitors more widely.

Which businesses are given a rating? Toggle accordion

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? Toggle accordion

Each business is given a rating following an inspection by a Business Compliance 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 Toggle accordion

food hygiene ratings

All businesses should be able to achieve the top rating of 5. Where a business does not achieve the top rating, the Business Compliance Officer will explain to the person that owns or manages the business what improvements are needed.

Where will the food hygiene rating be displayed? Toggle accordion

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 the premises in a place where you can easily see it when you visit. Display is voluntary at the moment.

food hygiene ratings

Where can I get further information?

To find out more about the scheme, visit the FSA's website