Food hygiene rating for businesses

Food hygiene self-check

This checklist will help you to ensure you are meeting legal requirements and following good hygiene practice. Take an honest look at your business and complete the questions below. For any item you are unsure of or don’t know, answer “no” and take action.

Further information on these requirements can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.

Food safety management system

  • A documented food safety management system is in place and implemented eg. Safer Food Better Business or our own HACCP based system.
  • Regular monitoring checks are carried out to make sure our controls are working.
  • We record these checks eg. in the SFBB diary or on record sheets.


  • Staff have received food hygiene training and/or adequate instruction and supervision and we have certificates or records to prove this.
  • Staff understand our Food Safety Management System and follow the good food handling practices that we have set out.

Temperature control

  • Do staff know the correct safe temperatures to keep food? e.g. chilled foods at or below 8°C, cook food to at least 75°C for two minutes, hold hot food above 63°C.
  • The temperature of cold food storage is checked at least once a day. (The food temperature is at 8°C or below and/or air temperature of equipment less than 5°C).
  • Checks are made to ensure all foods are thoroughly cooked (visual and/or temperature checks).
  • Cooked food which will be stored cold is chilled quickly (ideally within 90 minutes) using good hygiene practices.
  • Food being held hot is kept above 63°C.
  • All prepared food is labelled with a use by/throw by system e.g. day dots.
  • Sanitising wipes are used to clean the probe thermometer.
  • The probe thermometer is regularly calibrated (ie. using iced water and steam to check it is working correctly).

Cleaning and hand washing

  • The floors, walls and ceilings in rooms where food is stored and/or handled are clean.
  • A cleaning schedule is in place.
  • Suitable cleaning products are used following the manufactures instructions.
  • The disinfectant/sanitiser complies with BS EN 1276 or BS EN 13697.
  • Suitable cloths are used eg. ‘blue roll’, single use cloths, re-useable cloths are laundered to at least 82°C or ‘hot’ wash.
  • Food preparation surfaces, hand contact surfaces (taps, bin lids, and fridge doors) and equipment are cleaned and disinfected regularly.
  • A separate basin for hand washing hands is provided and is equipped with hot and cold (or warm) running water, soap and hygienic means of drying hands i.e. paper towels. 
  • Staff have been instructed and know when and how to wash their hands properly.
  • Staff wear clean work clothing and/or over clothing.
  • Staff know that if they have diarrhoea and/or vomiting they must not return to work until 48 hours after symptoms cease.

Cross contamination

  • Raw and ready to eat foods are stored separately.
  • Separate, identifiable equipment and designated surfaces are used for preparing raw and ready to eat foods.

Structure and pests

  • The design and construction of our premises meets legal requirements and the floors, walls and ceilings are in good repair and easy to clean.
  • There are sufficient sinks, with hot and cold running water, to wash food and clean/disinfect equipment.
  • The premises is proofed against access by pests such as rodents and flies.
  • Regular checks are carried out for signs of pests.
  • There is no evidence of pest activity.

If you answered ‘no’ to any question, you need to address these areas and it is sensible to write down how you are going to do it. This checklist gives an overview of the main areas considered during a routine inspection.

Don’t forget that your score will be based on what is seen on the day of a visit, so it is important you maintain good standards at all times.