Rating scheme

Food hygiene legislation

We have a legal obligation to inspect all of the food businesses within the Lincoln district to find out whether they are compliant with food hygiene legislation. Food Hygiene Ratings are assessed during these routine inspection visits which follow the “Food Law Code of Practice (England)”.

At the inspection, the inspecting officer will allocate scores for:

  • The Level of Compliance with Food Hygiene and Safety Procedures - How hygienically the food is handled, prepared, cooked, stored, and what measures are taken to prevent food being contaminated with bacteria;

  • The Level of Compliance with Structural Requirements - The condition of the structure of the premises, including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, equipment and other facilities;

  • Confidence in management/Control Systems - How a business manages and records what is done to make sure food is safe.

These three scores are added together and enable the officer to rate the hygiene standards on a scale of 0-5. A score of 5 will be the highest level indicating very good standards of food hygiene and a score of 0 will indicate that urgent improvement is necessary. Any business should be able to reach the top rating.

The scheme also creates safeguards for businesses if they believe their rating to be unjust or if there were circumstances out of their control which affected their rating on the day they were inspected. Details of these safeguards, including template forms for use by businesses, can be found at food.gov.uk/ratings.