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Home > Business > Food Safety > Food hygiene ratings scheme

Food hygiene ratings scheme

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils adopted the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in April 2013. 

What is the FSA?

The Food Standards Agency is an independent government department. It was set up by an Act of Parliament in 2000.

The FSA is in place to protect the public's health and consumer interests regarding food.

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

The scheme provides consumers with information about hygiene standards in food businesses. It helps consumers make informed choices about where they eat out or shop for food.

Businesses included in the scheme

This national scheme applies to businesses supplying food directly to consumers.

Home caterers are included as they are regarded as food businesses.

Businesses excluded from the scheme

Some premises are excluded from the scheme because they do not supply food directly to the public.

Manufacturers, packers, distributors and wholesalers are excluded from the scheme and will not be given a rating.

Businesses exempt from the scheme

Some premises are exempt from the scheme. They fall into two categories: 

  1. Those not generally recognised as being food businesses (e.g. gift shops selling packaged biscuits and sweets alongside other goods).
  2. Certain establishments who operate from private addresses (e.g. childminders and other care services). However, they can opt into the scheme for commercial purposes, if they like. The details of their premises will be treated as sensitive and will not be publicly published. 

How ratings are awarded

Food establishments are inspected by food safety officers from the Councils to ensure legal requirements are complied with.

The standards found during inspections are rated on a scale from 0 (‘urgent improvement necessary’) to 5 (‘very good’).

Ratings are available for anyone to view on the FSA website. Businesses are also given a sticker with their rating. They are encouraged to display it at the entrance of their premises.

Read guidance from the FSA on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme