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Information for businesses

The Food Hygiene Rating Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 is designed to help consumers make an informed choice by providing clear information regarding the hygiene standards about the places where they eat and shop.

The scheme also encourages businesses to improve or maintain a good hygiene standard.

Requirement to display the rating

Under Section 7 of Food Hygiene Rating Act (Northern Ireland) 2016, you must display a valid rating sticker provided by us at or near each public entrance. The sticker must be easily seen and read by customers before they enter the establishment. It is an offence if a food business fails to display a valid rating sticker.

Publication of your rating

If the score is not appealed, your rating will be published on the Food Standards Agency website within 35 days from the date of your inspection. If you do appeal your rating, your rating will not be displayed on the website and an awaiting publication image will be displayed until the appeal is determined.

Validity of the rating

Under Section 6 of the Act, the rating awarded following inspection becomes valid once you have received a notification letter. The rating sticker must then be displayed.

If you decide to appeal against the rating you have 21 days following receipt of the notification letter to complete an appeal form. Once you receive notification of the outcome of the appeal you must then display the new rating. During this time you can continue displaying your previous rating until the appeal is determined.

Only stickers with a valid rating can be displayed. The rating stops being valid if there is a change of ownership, the establishment stops trading or the establishment is unable to trade as a result of enforcement action taken by us.

Requirement to provide information about the rating

Under section 8 of the Food Hygiene Rating Act (Northern Ireland) 2016, if asked, either face to face or over the telephone, you must provide the food hygiene rating for your business. Employees should know the establishment’s food hygiene rating.  Failure to provide information on the food hygiene rating is an offence.

Find out more about the Food Hygiene Rating Act (Northern Ireland) 2016.

Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) and charges for failure to display your sticker and for failure to display an invalid rating

It is an offence not to display your sticker or to display an invalid rating. If you fail to display your sticker, display an incorrect sticker we can take enforcement action. 

The amounts are currently as indicated below in relation to each of the offences:

Section 10 offences for which Fixed Penalty Notice may be issued  Full amount Discounted amount
An operator of a food business establishment commits and offece if, without reasonable excuse, the operator -
  • fails to display a valid food hygiene rating sticker at or near each entrance to their food business establishment and,
  • where it can be readily seen and easily read by customers before they enter the establishment when it is open to the business
£200 £150
An operator of a food business establishment commits an offence if, without reasonable excuse, as the operator of a food business establishment -
  • displayed at that food establishment a food hygiene sticker which is not a valid rating
£200 £150

A discount of 25 per cent is applicable if payment is made within the first 14 days with this period beginning with the day on which the notice is given.

Paying a Fixed Penalty

To make a Fixed Penalty payment you will need your unique Fixed penalty reference number which is found on your Fixed Penalty notice letter. 

You can also pay by phone on 028 9027 0468.

For more information about the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme visit the Food Standard Agency at www.food.gov.uk 

For more information about the Food Hygiene Rating Act visit www.legistlation.gov.uk

For further information and advice please call our Food Safety team on 028 9027 0468


Contact us
Environmental health
028 9027 0468
Food Safety
Belfast City Council
Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street
Belfast
BT2 8BP