How to… achieve a five-star hygiene rating

01 August 2014
How to… achieve a five-star hygiene rating

To achieve a good Scores on the Doors rating, staff must be aware of what will be expected from them before the inspection, says Pat Perry

While it is mandatory to display your Scores on the Doors rating in Wales, it's voluntary across the rest of the UK. However, it's unlikely that any business
will display anything below a five-star rating.

So what do you need to do to ensure you're highly rated? First, there needs to be evidence your business meets or exceeds audit requirements relating to food handling, staff personal hygiene, temperature control and procedures.

Make sure there's no risk of cross-contamination and that safe food preparation, cooking, reheating, cooling and storage are all seen during the audit. You must also ensure you present evidence that your business complies with food safety policy.

You need to show that the business comfortably meets or exceeds the legal requirements so the auditor won't need to revisit to reassess. After all, your rating is awarded on what is seen on that specific day.

The rating relates to structural repairs, cleanliness, layout, condition of the structure, lighting, ventilation and facilities such as handwash basins. Your entire premises and its equipment must be clean and in good condition with clear evidence of effective pest control and waste disposal provision.

Thoroughly checking and always practising high standards before the audit with all procedures, equipment and staff will help you become confident about exceeding the requirements. Don't just leave it to a one-off effort for the day before the audit.

Many businesses receive a poor score because there are few or no management systems or staff do not seem to understand what they need to do. You do not need complicated systems; in fact, the simpler the better, as this means more people will understand them.

Remember, it's what the inspector sees on the day that counts. You could have the best HACCP in the world, but if staff do not follow procedures or keep records, you will be plummeting towards no stars.

Pat Perry is executive chairman at Perry Scott Nash (

Scores on the doors: how the rating works

How is the rating calculated?
A food safety officer from the local authority where the business is located inspects a business to check it meets the requirements of food hygiene law. The officer will check:

•How hygienically the food is handled.

•The condition of the structure and of the building.

•How the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe. The hygiene standards are then rated on a scale of 0-5. As well as the overall rating, the scores are broken down into three components:

Structural compliance The structure of the establishment (cleanliness, layout, condition of structure, lighting, ventilation, etc).

Food hygiene and safety
Procedures including foodhandling practices and temperature control.

Confidence in management
A management that achieves a good food hygiene performance and is well understood by the workforce should achieve a good score.

Factors that will influence this include the track record of the company and its willingness to act on previous advice. The attitude of the management towards hygiene and food safety is also taken into account, which includes hazard analysis and HACCP procedures.

These extra components are scored as:

•Very good: high standard of compliance with statutory obligations.

•Good: high standard of compliance with statutory obligations and industry codes of practice.

•Fair: some non-compliance with statutory obligations and industry codes of recommended practice.

•Poor: some major noncompliance with statutory obligations and more effort required.

•Bad: general failure to satisfy statutory obligations and standards are generally low.

•Very bad: almost total non-compliance with statutory obligations.

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