Food Hygiene Ratings and The Benefits of Colour Coding

Food Hygiene Ratings and The Benefits of Colour Coding

The food hygiene scheme helps consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food.

It’s not easy to judge hygiene standards on appearance alone, so the rating gives you an idea of what’s going on in the kitchen, or behind closed doors. You can check the ratings and use the information to switch to or choose a place with higher standards. It’s also good to share this information with friends and family.

A business will be given one of the following ratings based on how well they perform in the assessment, which is carried out by a local food safety officer.


At the inspection, the officer will check:

  • how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
  • the condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • how the business manages what it does to make sure food is safe and so that the officer can be confident standards will be maintained in the future

Each of these three elements is essential for making sure that food hygiene standards meet requirements and the food served or sold to you is safe to eat.

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.

Colour coded cleaning equipment is an excellent way of reducing the risk of cross contamination when cleaning.

The British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) developed a universal colour code which would be recommended for use across the cleaning industry. BICSc believes all materials within a janitorial cupboard should be colour coded including; cloths, mops, buckets and gloves.

In 2006, as good practice, the Food Standards Agency suggested that separate cleaning equipment such as cloths, sponges and mops, should be used in areas where ready-to-eat foods are stored, handled and prepared.

The cleaning equipment colours are associated to their area of sole use. For example, you would not want to clean the tables where your customers eat with a cloth that has been previously used to clean the toilets.

This system can be applied to almost all of your cleaning equipment from mops and brushes to cloths gloves.

The use of colour coded cleaning equipment has been widely adopted by the catering industry, as well as offices, factories and the retail sector and has proven to be very useful. By choosing to adopt a colour coded system in your workplace can make cleaning easier, more efficient and most importantly provide your staff and customers a cleaner and safer enviroment.

Where check food hygiene scores:

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