Ipswich Borough Council has rolled out the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in partnership with the Food Standards Agency.
The scheme has been set up to help you choose where to eat out or shop for food, by giving you information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels and other places you eat, as well as supermarkets and other food shops.
When you eat out or shop for food, look out for a sticker in the window or on the door, or a certificate on display, showing the hygiene rating and date of last inspection. Although businesses are not required to show their rating, they are encouraged to display them in a place where they can easily be seen. If you don't see the rating at a takeaway or other food business, you can ask a member of staff if the business is in the scheme and what rating was given at the last inspection. Alternatively, you can search for the rating on the Food Standards Agency website.
Ratings are given to places where you can eat out or shop for food, such as:
How the ratings are set
A Food Safety Officer from Ipswich Borough Council will inspect a business to check that it meets the requirements of food hygiene law.
A new rating is given each time the business is inspected and how often inspections take place depends on the risk to people's health. The greater the risk, the more often the business will be inspected.
If a business owner or manager makes improvements to hygiene standards, they can request an additional visit in advance of the next planned inspection. This means these improvements can be checked and a new rating could be given sooner.
At the inspection, the officer will check:
The hygiene standards found at the time of inspection are then rated on a scale. At the bottom of the scale is '0' - this means urgent improvement is required. At the top of the scale is '5' - this means the hygiene standards are very good.
The rating shows how well the business is doing overall. The business may do better in some areas and less well in others and the rating takes this into account. This includes those areas that need improving the most.
The officer will explain to the person who owns or manages the business what improvements need to be made and what action they can take to improve their hygiene rating.
Any businesses given ratings of '0' or '1' must make urgent or major improvements to hygiene standards. The Food Safety Officer will use a number of enforcement tools as well as giving advice and guidance to make sure these improvements are made.
If the officer finds that a business's hygiene standards are very poor and there is an imminent risk to health - this means food is not safe to eat - the officer must take action to make sure that consumers are protected. This could mean prohibiting part of an operation or closing the business down.
If a new business has been set up, or there is a new owner, it will not have a food hygiene rating straight away. However, it may display a sticker or certificate that says 'Awaiting Inspection'. A rating will be given as soon as a Food Safety Officer has inspected the business.
Not all businesses are given a rating, as some businesses are thought to pose a low risk to people's health and so are 'exempt'. There are two main groups of business where you might eat or buy food that are exempt from the scheme:
Finding out more and sharing your views
If you want to know more detailed information than just the rating that has been awarded, you should make a Freedom of Information request to see the Food Safety Officer's inspection report, using the contact details on this page.
If you are worried about a rating that has been given to an Ipswich venue you should let us know immediately.
Information for Businesses
If you are the owner of a business and you think that you have been given an unfair or wrong rating you should first talk to the Food Safety Officer who inspected your business about why the particular rating was given.
If you still believe that the rating is unfair or wrong, there are a number of different options available to you:
You can read more about the appeals, right to reply and repeat inspection processes in a PDF on the Food Standards Agency's website.