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Achieving a high food hygiene rating score

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This section provides advice for new and existing food business owners around how to achieve a high food hygiene rating score following a food hygiene inspection.

Why do we carry out food inspections?

We carry out food inspections to ensure local food businesses are compliant with food hygiene laws and producing food that is safe to eat.

To be awarded a 4 or 5 rating you must be able to demonstrate a high level of compliance with food hygiene law.

The level of compliance will be assessed by one of our food safety officers when your business is inspected.

What areas do we inspect?

We inspect your level of compliance with food hygiene law around the following areas:

How to score highly in those areas

To score highly, you must show that you are complying to food hygiene law within each of the areas inspected.

The following information outlines how you can show compliance in each of the three areas inspected:

Handling food hygienically

You must demonstrate:

  • high standards of staff personal hygiene - e.g. clean over clothing (such as aprons), appropriate headwear, minimal jewellery and regular appropriate hand-washing control measures to prevent cross contamination - e.g. separate areas for handling raw and cooked foods, proper use of colour coded chopping boards, and correct use of appropriate cleaning chemicals
  • foods are properly cooked, re-heated and cooled - e.g. foods are cooked to 75°C or hotter, checked visually for signs of thorough cooking, cooled quickly and as necessary refrigerated
  • foods are stored at the correct temperature - e.g. food stored in fridges is maintained at less than 8°C (ideally between 0-5°C) and that the chill chain is protected

Premises structure and condition

You must provide:

  • a clean premises
  • a well maintained premises
  • a good level of natural/artificial lighting
  • adequate natural/artificial ventilation
  • a structure proofed against pest entry
  • effect waste disposal provision (see business waste and recycling collection)

Please note: controlling cross contamination risk is crucial to producing safe food. This means you need a kitchen of sufficient size to allow good work flow and separation of clean and dirty areas. Some premises with small or poorly laid out kitchens may need to carry out significant work to be eligible for a 5 score.

Managing and documenting food safety

You must document that your food is safe by using a food safety management system which:

  • identifies, controls, manages and reviews food safety hazards within the business
  • covers food safety management procedures for all activities from the receipt of food to the point of sale
  • ensures food handlers are adequately trained, including food safety induction training for new staff*

* For personal hygiene training for staff see food hygiene training.

Food safety management system - Safer Food, Better Business (SFBB)

If you are a small to medium sized business, we recommend documenting your food safety using the Food Standard Agency's - SFBB.

There are a number of different packs for different types of business such as caterers, retailers, residential homes, childminders and some ethnic food businesses.

Please note: we need to see that you are documenting your food safety, so please make sure you are using it, maintaining records and have it available on the premises to show during an inspection.

Benefits of achieving a high food hygiene rating

Below are list of key business benefit for having a high food hygiene rating:

  • More than two thirds of customers choose where they will eat based on a premises food hygiene rating. Meaning a high rating will actively promote your business and encourage more custom
  • Displaying your green rating sticker can improve reputation, increase customer confidence and attract a higher amount of custom. For more information on how to promote high ratings and attract more customers visit Food Standards Agency - making the most of your business rating.
  • If you achieve a 3 or above rating, we will promote your business on Preston's official Visit Preston - Food and Drink directory.

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