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new cardiff > ENG > Business > Environmental Health > Food hygiene and safety > Food hygiene ratings scheme

Food hygiene ratings scheme

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme helps you choose where to eat out or shop for food and encourages food businesses to improve their hygiene standards. The scheme gives you information about the hygiene standards in:

  • restaurants,
  • pubs,
  • cafés,
  • takeaways,
  • hotels. 

    It also provides information on supermarkets and other food shops.


    How does the scheme work?

    The rating scheme gives you information about the hygiene standards at a food premises at the time they are inspected. Our food safety officers check that food businesses are meeting legal requirements on food hygiene. The hygiene rating given reflects what the officer finds at the time. 


    Why is the scheme important?

    The overall aim is to reduce the number of cases of food poisoning which currently affects around one million people in the UK every year.


    It is a legal requirement for all food businesses in Wales inspected after 28th November 2013 to display their Food Hygiene Rating. Businesses that fail to display their rating can be fined £200.

    A similar scheme also runs in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with the ratings being based on the same information. It is not yet a legal requirement for food businesses outside Wales to display their score, but you can access this information from the food standards agency’s website​​​​​​​​​​​Link opens in a new window

    The scheme helps local people and visitors when deciding where to eat and buy food, and means people can make like for like comparison with businesses in other areas. 

    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. The assessment is based on a consideration of the following three elements: 

    • 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 the business manages what it does to make sure food is safe and so that the officer can be confident standards will be maintained in the future. 

      The rating is only about the hygiene standards of the food business - it is not about the quality of the food or about the standards of service provided to customers. 

      What are the different ratings?

      A business is given one of these ratings: 


      Rating scales
      5 4
      3 2
      1 0

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

      The rating given shows how well the business is doing overall but also takes account of the element or elements most in need of improving and also the level of risk to people's health that these issues pose.

      To get the top rating of ‘5', businesses must do well in all three elements. Those with ratings of ‘0' are very likely to be performing poorly in all three elements and are likely to have a history of serious problems.  

      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. 


      Where will the food hygiene rating be displayed?


      You can look up food hygiene ratings of food outlets in Wales, England and Northern Ireland at​​​​​​​​​Link opens in a new window . A similar scheme - the Food Hygiene Information Scheme - operates in Scotland and details can be also be found on this website.

      Businesses are given a sticker showing their rating and have to display it in a prominent place - such as the front door or window - and at all customer entrances and provide information on their rating verbally if asked.

      For information on the hygiene ratings scheme