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Last updated: 06.09.19

How to achieve a five-star food hygiene rating

What is the Food Hygiene Rating System?

The five-star food hygiene rating granted by the Food Standards Agency is one of the most important badges of recognition that any food handling business can get.

This rating inspires customer confidence at the most basic level, letting customers know that the holder of the five star certificate is a business to be trusted with their health and safety. It says that the staff are trained in hygienic food preparation, it says that no food-bound contaminants are present in the workplace and it indicates that great care has been taken to ensure that the health of those eating is of the highest priority. The increased trust means that new customers who see the instantly-identifiable FSA five-star sign in the window are more likely to choose that store over another with a lesser rating, and existing customers are more likely to return time after time.

So how do you get the FSA’s hallowed five-star rating? We’ve got some sure-fire tips to help you on your way:

Train your staff

Good food hygiene doesn’t just come from the top. It starts and ends with everyone in the business and for that reason, training is one of the most important duties in the pursuit of a five-star rating. Good hygiene practices should be taught, refreshed and cemented with regular training sessions for managers and employees alike. The training should involve information on such processes as storage, preparation and cleaning of the workplace, and should be tailored to the needs of your business.

Keeping things clean

It should come as no surprise that cleanliness is the most important factor in achieving the necessary requirements for a five-star rating. Antibacterial sanitiser and cleaning rolls should be kept in a memorable and convenient place in the kitchen to wipe up any bacteria contaminants or spills that might occur. Ovens should be cleaned on a weekly basis, and fridges at the end of each month. Keep all sinks clean and free of food waste, and clean and empty the bins as regularly as possible. Cleaning responsibilities should be divided up between staff to ensure all areas are regularly checked.


One of the factors that is most regularly forgotten when aiming for a five-star hygiene rating is the preparation areas. Cross contamination can be a major problem for businesses that handle raw foods and steps should be taken to ensure that it never happens. Keep raw meat, seafood and poultry on the same chopping board, and ready-to-eat foods should always be kept and prepared separately. A vital aspect to safe preparation is hand-washing; it doesn’t matter what food is being handled, safer is better than sorry when it comes to hygienic hand-washing practices.

HACCP in the kitchen

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point and it refers a process designed to minimise health hazards in a food preparation and retail. When a HAACP system and plans are put in place, analysis is carried out on potential hazards and control points are established to prevent or foresee those hazards. Monitoring procedures are also a factor to review employee corrective actions. Training in HACCP can prove exceptionally helpful in reducing the risk of bacterial and chemical contaminations in food, and is an integral part of achieving the five-star hygiene rating.

For a comprehensive training course on how the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme works and exactly what factors go into the decisions of food hygiene inspectors, our Achieving a Five-Star Food Hygiene Rating course features interactive and self-paced online training in the field, resulting in a digital certificate on completion. 

Top Food Hygiene FAQs

What is a basic food hygiene certificate?

The Level 2 Food Hygiene Course used to be known as the basic food hygiene certificate. Today, Level 1 is an introductory food safety course for people who are beginning to cook at home, while Level 3 is the qualification that food supervisors and managers need

How can I get a food hygiene certificate?

Food hygiene certificates can easily be obtained via an online e-learning course. You'll find courses tailored specifically to different sectors like catering and retail, but the Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate fits the general legal requirements for food handlers.

How do I get a food hygiene certificate?

You can obtain a food hygiene certificate easily through an online training course. A level 2 food hygiene certificate fits the legal requirement for food handlers, and often you can find courses that are specific for your line of work including catering, retail, manufacturing or drinks manufacturing.

How long is a basic food hygiene certificate valid for?

While food hygiene certificates do not technically run out, it is best practice to get them renewed every three years. Some employers require their staff to do this every year as part of their training, often as part of a food hygiene e-learning course..

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