FHRS Guidance for Business

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Additional advice and guidance for food business operators on the detail of the statutory Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in Northern Ireland

The Food Hygiene Rating scheme is your chance to promote your standards of food hygiene to your customers.
At inspection, scores are given for three areas -

  • how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
  • the condition of the structure of the premises – cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe

These scores are then converted to a food hygiene rating. Ratings are published on a national website and you will be required to display a valid ratings sticker in a conspicuous place, at or near every entrance to your food premises where it can be readily seen and easily read by customers before they enter the establishment when it is open for business.

The Food Hygiene Ratings:

Obligations for Businesses Under the Statutory Scheme 

  • Display – Once notified of your business’s rating you are required to display the sticker(s) provided. This will normally have to be done within 21 days of receiving the rating to allow for the appeal period. You may display your rating before the end of this 21 day period if you do not intend to lodge an appeal.  
  • Online display - If your business provides a means of ordering food online, either directly or through a 3rd party, you will also be required to display your  rating online, or provide a link to the FSA website where ratings are published (www.food.gov.uk/ratings). Please note that this requirement is not yet in force and further information will be made available in due course  
  • Informing the customer - Under the statutory scheme food business operators and their employees will be required, if asked, to tell customers the rating the business has received. This will apply in a face to face situation as well as over the telephone.

Failure to Display a Rating – Fixed Penalty

  • Under the statutory scheme it is an offence for a business not to display their food hygiene rating sticker or to display a rating that is not valid, or failing to display the rating in the location and manner specified
  • The new legislation introduces a fixed penalty of £200 for these offences or we may prosecute you

How to Appeal Against Your Score

If you believe that the score given does not reflect the conditions found at your food premises at the time of the visit, you can ask for the score to be re-assessed. 

  • Please use the appeal form below and return it to the Senior Officer for Food Safety at Environmental Services – contact details below
  • You have 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) from the date of receipt of the notification letter to lodge an appeal.
  • The Senior Officer for Food will review your rating and communicate the outcome of your appeal to you within 21 days of the appeal being received

Appeal downloadable form

How to Request a Re-Visit /Re-Inspection

  • As the food business operator of the establishment you have a right to request a re-visit for the purposes of re-rating if you have taken action to rectify the non-compliances identified at the time of inspection.
  • You can make a request for a re-rating inspection at any time after the statutory inspection, provided that you have made the required improvements.
  • You must provide details of the improvements made with your request, including supporting evidence where appropriate and the fee of £150.
  • If we consider that you have provided sufficient evidence that the required improvements have been made, and you have enclosed the £150 fee, we will make an unannounced visit.  This will take place within three months of the re-rating inspection request being received. Please note that you must also be compliant with the provisions of the Food Hygiene Rating Act (NI) 2016 in that you must be displaying valid rating stickers at all your customer entrances or the re-rating inspection will not be carried out
  • The Environmental Health Officer will give you a "new" food hygiene rating based on the level of compliance that is found at the time of the re-rating inspection – you should be aware that your rating could go up, down or remain the same.
  • To make a request for a revisit, please use the form below and return it to the address below with the £150 fee.

Request a re-visit / re-inspection downloadable form

The 'Right to Reply'

  • The purpose of the "Right to Reply" is to enable you to give an explanation of subsequent actions that have been taken to make the required improvements as detailed in the inspection letter, or to explain mitigation for the circumstances at the time of inspection.  It is not for making complaints or for criticising the scheme or food safety officer.
  • If you wish to use this "Right to Reply" please use the from below and return it to the address below.
  • Your comments will be reviewed by the Environmental Health Officer and may be edited in order to remove offensive or defamatory remarks before being published online and displayed together with your food hygiene rating at www.food.gov.uk/ratings.
  • There will be a statement at www.food.gov.uk/ratings that will highlight that the accuracy of your comments has not been verified by the local authority officers.

Right to reply downloadable form

Contact Us

If you would like further information, please contact us at Ballymoney Office, Riada House, 14 Charles Street, Ballymoney BT53 6DZ.