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Food safety

Food hygiene rating scheme

  • Food hygiene standards

    The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is operated by our food safety and port health officers in partnership with the Food Standard Agency.

    The scheme is designed to help consumers make an informed choice by providing information regarding the hygiene standards in restaurants, cafes, takeaways, hotels, supermarkets and other food shops. 

    As part of the scheme, food businesses are provided with a sticker with a food hygiene rating between zero and five for them to display.

    Check food hygiene ratings for businesses in Belfast (link opens in new window)

  • Food premises inspection

    Our food safety officers inspect food premises. During the inspection we check that the hygiene standards meet legal requirements and cover areas such as: 

    • how hygienically food is handled - how it’s prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
    • the condition of the structure of the buildings - cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities 
    • how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe - including having a completed safe catering pack or equivalent, the previous history of compliance and staff training. 

    The hygiene standards found at the time of inspection are then rated on a scale of zero to five:

    • 5 - Very Good
    • 4 - Good
    • 3 - Generally satisfactory 
    • 2 – Improvement necessary 
    • 1 – Major improvement necessary 
    • 0 – Urgent improvement necessary

    Following the inspection, the food business will receive a food hygiene rating sticker, which can be displayed at each entrance to the premises. 

  • Apply for a re-rating inspection of a food premises

    A food business-owner can apply for a re-rating inspection with a view to obtaining a new and higher food hygiene rating. You can apply if you have made the improvements to rectify non-compliances identified at the primary inspection of the food premises.

    How to apply for a re-rating inspection

    Contact our Food Safety team by email or call  028 9027 0468 to ask for a re-rating inspection application form. We will confirm the inspection fee and how to pay.

    When you apply, you must:

    • provide details of the improvements made
    • include supporting evidence where appropriate

    If you provide sufficient evidence, an Environmental Health Officer will make an unannounced visit to inspect your premises. This will happen within three months of the re-rating application.

    An officer will give you a ‘new’ food hygiene rating based on the level of compliance at the time of re-inspection. The food hygiene rating could go up, down or remain the same.

  • More information

  • Appeal and Right of Reply of FHRS

    The operator of a food business establishment may wish to appeal against their food hygiene rating score or use the right of reply following an inspection and notification of their rating.

    If you believe it does not reflect the hygiene standards at the time of inspection, email


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