Food hygiene rating scheme

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme enables customers to make informed choices about the standard of hygiene in the business where they eat out or shop for food. It also promotes high standards for food business operators.

This scheme is run by the Food Standards Agency in partnership with local authorities. Find out more about the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme on the Food Standards Agency website.

We also publish information on food safety for customers.

On this page:

Inspecting your business

All food business operators must be inspected by us to decide their food hygiene rating. Find out more about food hygiene inspections.

Some businesses are inspected more often than others. This is because they may present a greater risk to the health of the people consuming the food produced. Businesses can be inspected every 6, 12, 18 or 24 months, depending upon the risk.

Your business will be rated on a scale of 0 to 5 as follows.

  • 5 - hygiene standards are very good.
  • 4 - hygiene standards are good.
  • 3 - hygiene standards are generally satisfactory.
  • 2 - some improvement is necessary.
  • 1 - major improvement is necessary.
  • 0 - urgent improvement is required.

We will explain:

  • the rating your business has been given
  • the reasons for this rating
  • any matters that must be addressed
  • ways in which you may be able to improve the score.

You will be provided with a sticker to display on the window or door of your business, so the public can easily see the rating. You may request a wall sticker if required.

At present, you do not have to display your rating. However, we encourage businesses to do so as a means of showing customers that the business has achieved a high level of compliance with food hygiene legislation. Most people will want to buy food where they can be confident it was produced under safe conditions.

Publishing your rating

After your inspection, your rating is uploaded onto the Food Standards Agency website

If you achieve a rating of 5, this will take place as soon as we have written to you following your inspection.

If you achieve a rating between 0 and 4, it will be published up to five weeks (35 days) after inspection to allow for appeals to be submitted.

You can request that a rating is published before the end of the appeal period by downloading the form below.

Icon for word Food Hygiene Rating Early Publication Application Form [60.29KB]

Complete the form and send it to us by email or post.

Appeal against your rating

The owner or manager of the business should first speak to the officer who undertook the inspection. The officer's details are on the covering letter and the report left on-site. The officer will explain the reasons why the rating was given, any matters that require attention and advice about how you could improve the rating.

If you still think that the rating is unfair or wrong after speaking to the officer, you can appeal the decision in writing.

Your rating will be confirmed in writing at the time of the inspection or shortly afterwards. If you wish to appeal, you must do so within 21 days of this confirmation (including weekends and public holidays).

To submit your appeal, download the form below. You can also appeal by writing a formal letter.

Icon for word Food Hygiene Rating Appeal Form [164KB]

Complete the form and send it to us by email or post.

Request a re-inspection

Before requesting a re-inspection, you should be confident that you have made sufficient improvements to achieve a new rating. To do this, you should undertake any work identified during the last inspection.

The rating could go up or down, depending on the findings at the re-inspection. If your business has been awarded a very poor rating, you may not be able to achieve the highest rating upon re-inspection.

We charge £185 for a re-inspection. Following receipt of payment, the re-inspection will be carried out within three months. You may apply for a re-inspection as many times as you require.

To request a re-inspection of your business, download the form below.

Icon for word Food Hygiene Re-inspection Request Form [167.5KB]

Complete the form and send it to us by email or post.

Right to reply

You have a right to reply to our decision regarding your rating. You can outline how you have improved the standard of hygiene, or explain any unusual circumstances at the time of inspection. 

To submit a reply, download the form below.

Icon for word Food Hygiene Rating Right to Reply Form [142KB]

Complete the form and email it to Your reply will normally be published online alongside the rating.

Contact details

For further information about the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, or to submit a form, use the details below.


Phone: 023 8028 5411

Food and Safety Team
New Forest District Council
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
SO43 7PA

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